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On Feb 4, 2004, at 10:24 AM, Dan Barrowman wrote:
> I have a question about an expression I heard while in
> Switzerland (Zurich) with my wife. Mostly, I guess you
> would say it's used in 'vain' or for cursing :-). It
> was 'Gottfried Stotts' or something like that?
A close approximation to how it's said is probably Gottfried Stutz
(There is no official orthography for Swiss German).
> I'm just curious, is this a person's name and what's the
> history behind it? I asked my wife's family (and my
> wife) and they didn't know.
It's not a person's name, it's more of a curse disguised as a person's
name. "Gottfried" is a Swiss name which used to be popular, and here
just stands for "God" (Gottfried literally meas God's Peace). The
meaning of "Stutz" is not so clear, and I'm not an expert by any means,
but from what little I learned about Swiss German etymology, I would
guess that it's an euphemism for "Blitz", i.e. "Lightning", so the
whole expression is an euphemism for "Gott's Blitz", i.e. "may God
strike me down with lightning" (another popular German curse is "Potts
Blitz", which definitely means that).
Another popular curse is "Potts Tuusig", where Tuusig literally means
"thousand", but actually is an euphemism for "Tüüfel", i.e. "Devil".
"Devil" is also disguised as "Tonner", thunder.
A teacher of mine once exclaimed "Herrman Tanner!" which is another
instance of a curse disguised as a name (the Herrman here stands for
Matthias "H." Neeracher
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Received on Wed Feb 04 2004 - 15:00:26 PST