Schätzele

ragtimebaby

New Member
USA - English
Hi there!

I work at a library and I had a call from a woman today who was searching for the spelling and meaning of a word her German grandmother used to say all the time. She said it sounded like "schitziley" and was an insult for an old woman. I don't know if her grandmother spoke a dialect or if she was Jewish (and maybe it was Yiddish?) but...does this sound familiar to anyone? Thanks so much!

Amy
 
  • Mimina

    Member
    Italy
    Hi,
    to me it sounds very familiar and well-known.
    I'm grown in Germany and my Daddy still loves to call me "Schatzi"... and I know that in some regions of Germany and other German-speaking countries like Austria, the same word can be spelled like "shitzily" (also in Switzerland).
    In Baden Wuerttemberg where I am coming from this word is written like upon.
    In Bayern, another region (Land) of Germany, this word can be spelled like "schatzerl" .
    Anyway, this word comes from Schatz , which means: treasure..but also something prescious like: darling - dear - honey - !
    That's it...not at all an insult...

    Have a nice day ! :)
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    I know the variant "Schätzele" from another dialect, but I do not know exactly which one. It means something like "little darling". "ele", "ili", "le", "erl", "i" and other such forms are diminutive endings used to make the word tenderly. Some of them cause the "Umlaut", and "a" changes to "ä".
     

    Mimina

    Member
    Italy
    You're right !
    'Umlaute', as well as the mentioned diminutive endings make words tenderly and may change the original meaning to a nickname like 'Schatzerl' - 'Schatzi' - 'Schatzerli' or 'Schätzle' which is used in Baden Württemberg in Svevian dialekt (hope it is the right translation for : Schwäbischen Dialekt)
    Anyway there is another word, which could sound, if pronounced with English accent and cadence, far like your requested word and it is a curse and eventually an insult.
    It´s "Scheiße" and used as an insult it is "Scheisser" (male) and "Scheisserin" (female)... in different German slangs you can find this word distorted and differently pronounced.

    Svevian dialekt slang for example: ´Scheisseri´ (female description of shit-woman (sorry but I abstain from giving you further synonymous words to explain this insult :))))

    Though I can´t understand the benefit or the utility in having this kind of information, I hope that your library-client will be happy about so many options ! :)

    Best wishes :)
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    "Scheißerchen" or "kleiner Hoßenscheißer" is used only for very young children in my region but mostly tenderly, depending on the situation. It is not used as insult in this way, but in the meaning "little darling" as a kind of contronyme or antagonyme to the original insulting meaning when used literally.
     

    ragtimebaby

    New Member
    USA - English
    Thank you so much everyone for your help! I called the woman again and relayed the information I learned here; She said the way her grandmother used the word was if a woman was getting old then she would say "oh she's getting a little "schätzele" (or however you want to spell it!). Apparently this was before World War I and she thinks her grandmother was from Alsace-Lorraine so perhaps it was an old use of the word that is no longer used. Anyway, thanks again!
     

    Quelle

    Senior Member
    Deutschland Deutsch
    In this context it could be: schusselig. That means scatty, muddle-headed.
     

    Bonjules

    Senior Member
    German
    To come back to the original term 'Schitzily':
    If anything, that sounds mostly like Swiss-German ('schwyzerdytch') to
    me, especially the initial 'Schi' - part, which I don't think you would find
    in Southern Germany. A number of Southwesten German dialects are very close to Swiss-German however (they are all 'allemanic').
    You yan still hear it in Schwenningen, Rottweil and other places.

    As an aside: Many yiddish words ring amazingly close to what you hear
    in thes same regions (Maedele usw - sorry I can't write the 'Umlaut"),
    as of course German and Yiddish are closely related.
     

    Robocop

    Senior Member
    (Swiss) German
    To come back to the original term 'Schitzily':
    If anything, that sounds mostly like Swiss-German ???

    To me, it does not sound Swiss German at all. In particular, I find the i vowl (Schitzily) most unusual and I cannot think of any Swiss German dialect that would have such a word. As for the spoken (!) diminutive forms of "Schatz", I know several: Schätzli, Schätzeli, Schetzli, Schetzle, Schatzeli, Schatzili, ...

    She said the way her grandmother used the word was if a woman was getting old then she would say "oh she's getting a little "schätzele"
    In the said context it is difficult to imagine how a word with the meaning of "darling", "sweety" or "honey" could fit in. In contrast, the quoted statement very clearly points to a behaviour that we expect from elderly people: getting absent-minded, confused, awkward, helpless, stubborn, etc.
    Though it is true that a statement like "she's getting a little schusselig" is somewhat disparaging, it is actually neither rude nor insulting. In my opinion it carries the notion of indulgence.

    By the way, "schuss(e)lig" in spoken Swiss German is "schutzlig"!
     

    Bonjules

    Senior Member
    German
    I agree, that it is probably not.
    In Rottweil I noted that many vowels got changed to 'i'
    such as 'sieba si sin narro xi'
    But you are the expert, Robocop!
     

    Robocop

    Senior Member
    (Swiss) German
    I love "up the right tree". It reminds me of "auf dem richtigen Holzweg". :Dg

    When I chose to use a modified form of "barking up the wrong tree", I was aware that it might not be common use (admittedly, I've never heard it so far myself). However, I don't think that "barking up the right tree" would correspond to "auf dem richtigen Holzweg sein" because the German saying is constructed differently from the English saying: The principal meaning of "Holzweg" (being mistaken) cannot be altered by adding any adjective. In contrast, it appears to me that reversing the meaning of "barking up the wrong tree" by using the opposite adjective should be linguistically correct (though it might be taken for a set phrase no longer).:D
     
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