Tuesday, 16 November 2021

“‘Nazi’ actually was a term of disparagement … a traditional joke name.”

“‘Nazi’ actually was a term of disparagement. Nazi was a traditional joke name for dull simple guys from backward Bavaria and used to populate jokes about them, short for Ignatius. To the great glee of amateur comedians, Nazi also worked as a backronym for the German long-form of the National Socialist Workers’ Party. People who didn’t like them (almost everyone if you believe what Germans claimed after the war) started calling them Nazis. Which would get one beaten up and stomped to death. Shows the importance of thinking things through when you develop your brand. Or not, if you have lots of Brown Shirts. 
    “Anyway, people who escaped from the violence in Weimar Germany would tell foreigners, ‘You won’t believe what those fucking Nazis have done now….’ and so foreigners started calling Hitler’s party the Nazis without getting that it was a joke.”
          ~Mark Forsyth in The Etymologicon

[Hat tip Leslie Macmillan]

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