• Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Ist "Bruch" in "Hosenbruch" etymologisch verwandt mit "breeches"?
    Are "Bruch" in German "Hosenbruch" and "breeches" cognates etymologically?

    As I am not a fan of questions which can be answered with a simple yes or no:

    Middle High German: bruoch,
    Old High German: bruoh.
    Old English: bre:c, bræ:c
    PGm: *bro:k-
    Pre-Germanic: ? (possibly related to Celtic bra:ca).

    The word originally referred to a kind of short pants, to which the trouser legs were attached (the combination can be seen here). English 'breeches' (still) refers to a 'garment covering the loin and the thighs'.
    In Dutch, the modern word 'broek' refers to any kind of pants, trousers etc.



    PS: "cognates etymologically": that's a pleonasm :). Cognates are etymologically related, by definition.


    Senior Member
    Thank you very much.
    In this way, do you think, that "Bruch" changed the meaning to "fold", because the original meaning of "bruch" was darkened, got lost?

    If this is true,
    the development must have been:

    "Bruoch" lost the meaning in German.
    Some used it and declared it.
    So it became Hosenbruch, meaning "Hose this is Hose" - a pleonasm.
    But there was also the German word "brechen" (Break) -> "Bruch", and so it was redefined to the falting.

    But this is speculative from my side. I did not find evidence explicitely.

    But the Dutch usage seems to support it.

    Best regards.

    PS: I found the word: "Bruchhose". This word I did not know before. But it seems to connect to the original meaning. It has no "Bruch". Or do they mean: against hernia "Leistenbruch"?


    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    In addition to what Frank has already mentioned, I'd like to add that the word Bruch is still present in Swiss German (but as I don't speak that language, I can't tell for sure).

    The hypothesized Celtic source could be *bracca, which the Gauls brought to Latin as brâca (usually used as brâcae in the plural) and Greek as αἱ βρᾰκαι (hai brăkai). English breeches is a double-plural, so to speak, because breech originates from Old English brec, being the irregular plural of broc (like Bruch>Brüche?). This would be comparable to feets.

    The New High German word Hose is actually of very old origin. Being *husôn on Proto-Germanic, it can be traced back to the now wide-spread Indo-European root *[s]keu- meaning "to cover" (see house, as another descendant).

    Quotation of Duden-Herkunftswörterbuch (translated by me):
    Until the beginning of the Modern Times, the term 'Hose', in German, only designated the covering of the lower leg including feet, whereas the outdated Bruch (compare EN breeches) designated the covering of the abdomen including thighs.
    For modern trousers/pants, the term 'Hose' came back into use around the 16th century and has prevailed until today.


    Senior Member
    Considered obsolete in Swedish, there was bracka, pl. brackor for trousers. But a few years ago, I heard brax from a person referring to the garment in question.

    There was also the Icelandic saga person Ragnar Lodbrok, whose last name meant 'hairy/shaggy/hirsute trousers'.

    For stockings, including trousers extending into stockings, we have had hos- words, now only remaining in fairly rural dialects. These words seem to be cognate of hus/house/Haus/huis etc.
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