"Wecker": an 'English' word used in China?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sat Feb 16 04:06:38 UTC 2008

In the course of explaining some weird Chinese-to-English
translations, I found one which I can't explain: Chinese "laoyeche"
("lao3 ye2 che1") translated as "wecker".

"Laoyeche" might be naively decomposed as "grandfather car", I think.

Here is "wecker" (= "laoyeche") at Yahoo-HK, even pronounced for us:


It's in some other on-line dictionaries/glossaries too.

It apparently means "vintage/antique/classic car" and many examples
appear on the Web, in English, but always or nearly always in English
originating in China.

Here it appears in item 12 (in Chinese):


Here are some weckers on display:


Here a "wecker show" is advertised:


There are many Web ads (in English) for toy/model weckers.

But sometimes "wecker" seems to be equated with "jalopy"/"beat-up
car". In this list "laoyeche" goes both ways ("beat-up car", "vintage car"):


So where does this word "wecker" come from? It's not in my OED as far
as I can see. Not in other English dictionaries, at a glance. Not in
my Chinese/English dictionaries either.

["Wecker" is German for "alarm clock", but I can't see any connection
right away.]

-- Doug Wilson

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