[Lexicog] Christmas puns

Dr. Fritz Goerling fritz.goerling at YAHOO.DE
Wed Dec 28 09:56:19 UTC 2011

Dear Hayim,

I don't think that the contemporary Englisch adjective "droll" is an equivalent of the German noun "Troll".
The Online Etymology Dictionary says about the noun "troll/Troll":

troll (n.) 

"ugly dwarf or giant," 1610s, from O.N. troll "giant, fiend, demon." Some speculate that it originally meant "creature that walks clumsily," and derives from P.Gmc. *truzlan, from *truzlanan (see troll (v.)). But it seems to have been a general supernatural word, cf. Swed. trolla "to charm, bewitch;" O.N. trolldomr "witchcraft." The old sagas tell of the troll-bull, a supernatural being in the form of a bull, as well as boar-trolls. There were troll-maidens, troll-wives, and troll-women; the trollman, a magician or wizard, and the troll-drum, used in Lappish magic rites. The word was popularized in English by 19c. antiquarians, but it has been current in the Shetlands and Orkneys since Viking times. The first record of it is from a court document from the Shetlands, regarding a certain Catherine, who, among other things, was accused of "airt and pairt of witchcraft and sorcerie, in hanting and seeing the Trollis ryse out of the kyrk yeard of Hildiswick." Originally conceived as a race of giants, they have suffered the same fate as the Celtic Danann and are now regarded in Denmark and Sweden as dwarfs and imps supposed to live in caves or under the ground.

English "troll" is the same as German "Troll".

The same dictionary says about the adjective "droll":


1620s, from Fr. drĂ´le "odd, comical, funny" (1580s), in M.Fr. a noun meaning "a merry fellow," possibly from M.Du. drol "fat little fellow, goblin," or M.H.G. trolle "clown," ultimately from O.N. troll "giant, troll" (see troll (n.)). Related: Drolly; drollish.

English "droll" has its counterpart in German "drollig". The meanings of "drollig" are, according to context: 
funny, ludicrous, quaint, comical, bizarre, strange, weird, grotesque.



From: Hayim Sheynin 
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 12:51 AM
To: lexicographylist at yahoogroups.com 
Subject: Re: [Lexicog] Christmas puns

Dear Nick,

The Jews, especially in Ashkenazi tradition, use crackers during the holiday Purim and also tell dirty jokes, mostly related to a biblical figure of Haman (see
Book of Esther) and his house.
I suppose "droll" is (at least linguistically) an equivalent of German Troll.
It is interesting, that in some dialects of Russian, e.g. in Vologda dialect,
the word drolia [drolja] means "sweetie". This might be derived from common Indo-European heritage.


On Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 5:18 PM, Nicholas Miller <nick.miller at czech-translation.com> wrote:


  Very droll as we would say back home in the UK.
  Suitable for Christmas crackers, where jokes are typically droll (with an ironic intonation), though among these some are smarter than the average...
  Incidentally it's somewhat droll that one derived origin of 'droll' means 'a fat little man' (Middle Dutch), presumably rather an amusing one.
  Do any other nations/languages feature 'bad' jokes as a kind of tradition? The cracker is a fascinating thing, a bad joke, a naff hat and a crappy plastic toy with a little bang when you pull it. Where did such irony originate?
  Nick Miller

  On Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 6:33 AM, Dr. Fritz Goerling <fritz.goerling at yahoo.de> wrote:



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