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something that goes under a bed

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Hole, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Hole Senior Member

    Zagreb, Croatia
    Croatia - Croatian
    Hello!

    Can someone please tell me what this expression means in the following context: two guys are talking and one of them is an Italian who moved to Australia. The other (Australian) mentions a Jerry, and when the Italian asks what is a Jerry, he answers: "A Hun, a German, or something that goes under a bed".

    I have no idea what a German has to do with beds. And the source is a 1966 Australian movie called "They're a Weird Mob".

    Thanks!
     
  2. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    He says it could be three things 1) a Hun, 2) a German, or 3) something that goes under the bed (jerry is Australian for a type of chamberpot).
     
  3. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    This is quite interesting. How would 'Jerry' apply to the German or the Hun?

    I wonder if this is an older reference I'm not familiar with in regard to those two?
    (I confess, I had no idea about the chamberpot til I read Myridon's response.)
     
  4. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
  5. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
  6. Hole Senior Member

    Zagreb, Croatia
    Croatia - Croatian
    Thanks! I had no idea that it was a type of chamberpot!
     
  7. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    Be aware that calling Germans "Jerries" and "Huns" comes from a time that English-speaking countries were at war with Germany and it was acceptable to insult Germans. Do not use either of those terms to refer to someone from Germany now, even as a joke!
     
  8. Hole Senior Member

    Zagreb, Croatia
    Croatia - Croatian
    Yes, I know that ;) Thanks!
     
  9. Ronald Almond New Member

    USA English
    Use of words in another level. Did not really know about that. Great to know. :)
     
  10. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    That might be why I was unfamiliar with it. Guess there's not many Germans referring to themselves that way. Interesting, I had only heard the more common condescending terms for Germans.
     
  11. Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    Actually, it was originally British English and has been around with that meaning from the early 19th century.

    Jerry (meaning a German) goes back in writing to at least 1919 so we can assume it was in spoken English during WW I. Hun referring to Germans goes back further - to English newspaper reports of a speech made by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1900.

    (source: the OED)
     
  12. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    Now that I think about it, in the movie, Sleepy Hollow, they refer to the Headless Horseman as having been a Hun. I vaguely remember the setting being around the 18th century, maybe 19th.
     
  13. Hole Senior Member

    Zagreb, Croatia
    Croatia - Croatian
    Huns are actually a nomadic peoplehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huns

    Maybe they are ancestors of Germans, but I didn't know that they called Germans Huns in the WWI
     
  14. AutumnOwl

    AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Sweden
    Swedish - Sweden, Finnish
    The use of Huns for Germans is not about them being the ancestors of the Germans, it came from a speech made by kaiser Wilhelm II in 1900 when German troups were sent to China:
    From the Wikipedia link posted by sdgraham.
     

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