Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    70
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question The usage of nazi (or: is nazi always evil)

    In Germany, at least among younger people we sometimes call people nazi. Grammar nazi, or fashion nazi. We do not want to insult anyone with that, we simply mean that the person is very anal or fussy about that subject.

    Now a discussion broke out in some forum about that word. Several people stated that nazi always refers to Hitler's party, must always be synonymous with evil, and is insulting and offensive.

    So, is that really how most people perceive it? I'd be interested how many people know the other usage of the word and find it acceptable in the right company.

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default re: The usage of nazi (or: is nazi always evil)

    On Seinfeld (an American sitcom) there was an episode about a person called a soup nazi. The person was not called that because of membership in the Nazi party but because of his behavior.


  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,003
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default re: The usage of nazi (or: is nazi always evil)

    It's often used in English with tha same meaning, but it can cause offence. über- is also used as a prefix colloquially, but again some people may object to it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    70
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default re: The usage of nazi (or: is nazi always evil)

    People object to uber? Why?

    We sometimes say uber instead of über in Germany to make fun of the over-usage of that word. I have no idea how it could be ofensive in any way...

  5. #5
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,571
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: The usage of nazi (or: is nazi always evil)

    I have heard of the usage of "uber" (meaning something like "super"). I didn't know it might be considered objectionable.

  6. #6
    LeMoyne is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Europe
      • Current Location:
      • Europe
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    30
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: The usage of nazi (or: is nazi always evil)

    The actual meaning of "nazi" is not equal to a member of "Hitler's party", nor does it necessarily refer to "Hitler's party" at all, as it is simply a shortened form of "Nationalsozialist", i.e. national socialist, or (more generally) the ideology of "Nationalsozialismus", national socialism. Even today there clearly are people holding - more or less - such kind of views, so one might call those nazis without them (perhaps) being related to any specific political party. In fact, that's what is done in (at least) Germany today, even if, sometimes, the prefix "Neo" (Latin for 'new') is added, in order to differentiate a contemporary nazi (by calling him/her: Neonazi) from the nazis of actual Nazi-Germany.

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    I have heard of the usage of "uber" (meaning something like "super"). I didn't know it might be considered objectionable.
    I don't think it is considered objectionable, unless one feels compelled to consider quite anything of German origin objectionable. As far as I know, the way into the English language of uber-/über- is similar to that of another German prefix: eigen- (means "self-", or "own"), like in eigenvalue, eigenfunction, etc. While these evidently are scientific terms, it seems possible to me that uber-/über- has a similar origin in English, as it may stem from another quasi-scientific, more exactly philosophical, term: Übermensch (mainly associated with Nietzsche). I'd guess that at least many philosophical trained speakers of English (only) are able to make something of "Übermensch", so this could be an explanation of how uber-/über- arrived in English.

    Come in handy, these cute German prefixes, don't they? (After all, uber/über maybe sounds not so strong as super-, or hyper-, so it permits a higher grade of nuance.)


    (Edit: By the way, most basically, über- in German means exactly the same as over- in English: overburden = überbürden, that's it. Over- and Über- also have the same etymological roots and in this sense über-'s "re-arrival" in English really seems a bit ironic. You've got, essentially, the same word twice.)
    Last edited by LeMoyne; 20-Jan-2010 at 12:33.

Similar Threads

  1. [General] the proper usage of the verb "visit"
    By vil in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-Jan-2009, 10:52
  2. Past perfect tense usage - lack of clarity
    By venkatasu in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 07-May-2008, 11:29
  3. Article usage before the name of a company
    By Jayan.CJ in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Oct-2007, 05:35
  4. Usage of is been--- posted by ankurkalohia
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 18-Jul-2007, 18:21
  5. Re: Usage of certain very common words
    By Dinesh Boudh in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Jun-2007, 21:23

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •