Saturday, July 2, 2011


germane also german [dʒərˈmeɪn] a.

1.) Having the same parents; ‘own’ (brother or sister). Obs. except in 'brother-german', 'sister-german'.
2.) That is the child of a ‘german’ brother or sister of either of (one's) parents; = ‘first’ or ‘own’ (cousin). Obs. except in 'cousin-german'.
3.) Closely related; akin. Obs.
4.) Closely connected; appropriate; relevant; pertinent. Construed with 'to'. This sense arises from allusion to the Shakespeare passage (below), which is merely a figurative example of sense 3.
5.) Genuine; true; thorough. Obs. or arch. (O.E.D. 2nd Edition).

Etymology: Middle English germain, having the same parents; closely connected, from Old French, from Latin germanus, from germen, offshoot.

"—Osric: The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
—Hamlet: The phrase would be more german to the matter, if we
could carry cannon by our sides: I would it might
be hangers till then. But, on: six Barbary horses
against six French swords, their assigns, and three
liberal-conceited carriages; that's the French bet
against the Danish. Why is this 'imponed,' as you call it?" (Hamlet, William Shakespeare, ~1600).

(The Young Lord Hamlet, Philip Hermogenes Calderon, 1868)

Sorry I didn't post yesterday or the day before. I was too busy working on the thesis. Thanks for reading!


DEZMOND said...

now this one has a lot of confusing meanings!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didnt know, thanks for this!

Drake Sigar said...

Too many people post every day anyway, it's a full time job to keep up with them all.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

"Germane" is a great word. I use it all the time when I'm talkin' fancy.

Anonymous said...

Old language is so interesting. It's strange to think that people actually used these words in conversation at one point.

JayJay said...

I love it when I actually know and have used the word of the day.

Plus you quoted Hamlet, one of my favourite of Shakespeare's work.

Jenny said...

I didn't know that "german" and "germane" were connected, although assumed that the former was an archaic spelling of the latter. I have not seen the picture of the Young Hamlet before either, and will see if I can find a larger copy to examine.

Henry said...

I knew this one!!

Byakuya said...

There's something about that word I just don't like, can't quite put my finger on it though

The Words Crafter said...

ha! i've actually used this one :)

thanks for stopping by. yep, the new transformers is supposed to be really good.....

Meri said...

I only knew the "closely related" definition, but not in the familial way. Interesting origin!

jos xx said...

yes, it is an everyday thing, however the pics were taken on my first week at the beach, i was too excited! now, i'm used to it, i practically go swimming any chance i have!

really like this word! It's very interesting!

jos xx

VersionDouble said...

great post. ive used this before, but will try to use it more!

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

I like this word!

Post a Comment