Sunday, July 28, 2013

(Non-)word of the Day: Schlagododros

Gordon Craig, in his magisterial history of Germany (1978 ), wrote:

Meinecke … was never taken in by those he called the Schlagododros, who believed that force would bring Germany mastery over Europe.

Puzzled and perturbed, I forthwith wrote to my friend and philological counselor, Dr. Keith Massey:

German Schlag 'a punch, a blow' melded with some Greek word ending in -dodros ??

German used to do this sort of thing a lot, with Latin, e.g. Sammelsurium.

The learnèd classicist  replied by return of post:

This is a curious thing. A google search on the word reveals on this quote and that which it references. It is certainly a coinage, one which the originator believed others would understand. Google books has a few more, none elucidate the term. Despite the Hellenic flavor to the final bit, it doesn't match with any real root.

I likewise:

Ah, exactly like Sammelsurium, then, whose tail-end is Latin-ish without being lateinisch.
More curious is that Craig figured that his anglophone readership, many decades after the event, would grasp this coinage from Meinecke’s personal correspondence, without a footnote.

~  Posthumous Endorsement ~
"If I were alive today, and in the mood for a mystery,
this is what I'd be reading: "
(Ich bin der Geheimrat Meineke, and I approved this message.)
~         ~

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