Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 20 18:40:20 UTC 2009

Checking he sources, it does appear that the English expression followed
from the German. The tithe/tenth distinction is small-- Zehnt vs
Zehnte--and the tither/tax collector is Zehenter, which can literally be
translated as Tenther (not sure if it qualifies as calque). I would be
more sure of it if my knowledge of German was even marginal. Either way,
it should have an additional definition if it does not exist already.

Speaking of calque--Wiki entry for calque, although well supported with
citations, needs a lot of work, both in the content and in style.


Victor Steinbok wrote:
> A couple of hundred hits into the search, I found another use of
> "tenther" that is not in most dictionaries (no idea if it's in the
> OED). There are several hit similar to this one:
>> > Family tradition hold that he was to become a weaver, and he was also
> expected to take up the part-time 'Tenther' duties of his ancestors.
> (A 'Tenther' was a tax collector, collecting 10% of a peasant's
> production for the local authorities.)  But Christian Saalmann didn't
> want to be a 'Tenther' nor to be conscripted into the Prussian Army,
> then dominating the region.
> http://family.saalman.com/christian.aspx
> Note that in every case that I found so far the reference is to German
> or Prussian context. I'm checking with a German friend to get more
> info on this.
>    VS-)
> Victor Steinbok wrote:
>> One of the actual pre-2009 citations is from an essay "Eminent
>> Contrarian" by Ishmael Reed. Although the hit is of more recent vintage,
>> the original appeared in the Village Voice in October 2000. But the
>> reference is quite different (and closer related to the more traditional
>> definition)--it's a derivative of WEB Du Bois's "Talented Tenth". In
>> fact, it occurs in the essay three times, and each time in combination
>> "Talented Tenther".
>>     VS-)

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

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