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

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu May 29 04:06:49 UTC 2008

> Maybe it comes from English "wrecker" < "wreck" ?

Maybe. I think this possibility was mentioned earlier in the thread.


(1) In most (not all) instances which I noted on the Web the meaning of
"wecker" is clearly "antique/vintage/classic car", quite different from

(2) I don't find instances of "weck", "wreck", or "wrecker" as

(3) in some on-line Chinese glossaries of English automotive terms
"wecker" and "wrecker" appear separately (the latter in its correct
sense [tow truck]).

Of course a word's etymology need not match its current application, and
I concede that "wecker" < "wreck[er]" is one possibility.

Note that I am speaking of a word used _in English_, although apparently
only in the English of China. Whether a homophone is used in Chinese and
taken to be a Chinese word, I don't know (since it's not clear to me how
it would be 'spelled'): the volume of Chinese Web material and my low
Chinese reading/deciphering speed preclude my making a thorough search.

There is another "wecker" available: a word of unknown (to me)
provenance and (if any) significance, used in Japanese in some
science-fiction manga, anime, and TV series (e.g., "Wecker Signa
Space-time Police"): although Japanese popular culture has a big
influence all over East Asia (even bigger than in the US), I do not
immediately see any relevance.

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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