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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:schnickle fritz
English translation:Schnickelfritz - endearment
Entered by: Maya Jurt
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13:12 Dec 11, 2001
German to English translations [Non-PRO]
German term or phrase: schnickle fritz
What is a schnickle fritz. it is a german term what is it in english
Vern Haberkorn
Schnickelfritz - endearment
Explanation:
Here is the whole story, courtesy to Random House:

As a child, I remember hearing the term schnickelfritz used as a term of endearment by a parent or grandparent of German heritage toward a young member of the family. With an internet search, I have found a reference where it was suggested that schnickelfritz was used as an endearing term meaning 'little chatterbox' or 'rascal', and was not gender specific. Can you offer more insight regarding the term's meaning and origins?
Well, maybe a little. I had to try to tackle this one because my father (German ancestry on his mother's side) called me Schnickelfritz too. It was at some point in its history gender-specific, because -fritz is a combining form that means 'chap' or 'guy'. I'm sure my father meant it as such, because his full nickname for me turned my first and middle names into boys' names, and he used the nickname when I was being tomboyish.

I searched in vain in every slang book we've got here, in the OED, in Noah Webster's original dictionary, in the Century Dictionary, several other American dictionaries small and large, and in many German dictionaries. What I came up with was the combining form mentioned above, the noun Schnickschnack, the verb schnicken, and three citations from Dr. Jonathan Lighter's slang files--two for the spelling schnickelfritz and one for schnigglefritz. So, all I can do is speculate, and hope my guess is close.

In most of the larger bilingual German-English dictionaries, you'll find the word Schnickschnack, which has a cline of meanings from 'chit-chat' through 'tittle-tattle' to 'twaddle' and 'nonsense'. The monolingual Wahrig Deutsches Wörterbuch says the noun is a doubling of Schnack which also means 'chit-chat' or 'drivel'. The informal verb schnicken means 'to jerk' or 'to seize' and implies fast, sudden, choppy movements. Somewhere in there, I think, the idea of the "schnickel" part referring to chatterboxes or impulsive people is confirmed.

The three citations don't shed much light on the origin or meaning, although they do seem to suggest a 19th-century German immigrant origin:

"My aunt Julie would call me, 'You little schnickelfritz' [ca.1940]. She was ancient. She was born in Brooklyn about 1875." (1985, NYC woman, age ca. 50)
"Mynheer Schnickelfritzer" (from A.P. Hudson's Humor of the Old South, 1864)
"Listen, Schniggle-fritz, I can do it in my sleep." (Gresham, Nightmare, 1946)

Whoever first used it, the term schnickelfritz seems to have survived as an endearment, although it is probably fading from use. Internet and Lexis searches turn up not much more than a few uses as nicknames, Freddie Fisher's Schnickelfritz Band of the 1930s and '40s, and the fact that Helmut Huber, the Austrian-born husband of Susan Lucci (a.k.a. Erica Kane on All My Children), likes to call her Schnickelfritz.

Wendell Raymond Schnickelfritz

Selected response from:

Maya Jurt
Local time: 16:00
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement. KudoZ.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +3Schnickelfritz - endearment
Maya Jurt
5no German meaning just a funny term used
4 +1A few ideas ...
Mary Worby
5schnicklfritzDavidLJ
5no German meaning just a funny term used
4It's a nonsense wordUlrike Lieder
1scalawag, rascal, or troublemaker
Dan McCrosky


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
A few ideas ...


Explanation:
This was asked quite recently ... if you have a look at the link below, you can see what people came up with then!

HTH

Mary


    Reference: http://www.proz.com/kudoz/106776?keyword=schnickel
Mary Worby
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:00
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 2770

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Uschi (Ursula) Walke: Thanks for the Ref., I missed it and never heard the term before.
25 mins
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Schnickelfritz - endearment


Explanation:
Here is the whole story, courtesy to Random House:

As a child, I remember hearing the term schnickelfritz used as a term of endearment by a parent or grandparent of German heritage toward a young member of the family. With an internet search, I have found a reference where it was suggested that schnickelfritz was used as an endearing term meaning 'little chatterbox' or 'rascal', and was not gender specific. Can you offer more insight regarding the term's meaning and origins?
Well, maybe a little. I had to try to tackle this one because my father (German ancestry on his mother's side) called me Schnickelfritz too. It was at some point in its history gender-specific, because -fritz is a combining form that means 'chap' or 'guy'. I'm sure my father meant it as such, because his full nickname for me turned my first and middle names into boys' names, and he used the nickname when I was being tomboyish.

I searched in vain in every slang book we've got here, in the OED, in Noah Webster's original dictionary, in the Century Dictionary, several other American dictionaries small and large, and in many German dictionaries. What I came up with was the combining form mentioned above, the noun Schnickschnack, the verb schnicken, and three citations from Dr. Jonathan Lighter's slang files--two for the spelling schnickelfritz and one for schnigglefritz. So, all I can do is speculate, and hope my guess is close.

In most of the larger bilingual German-English dictionaries, you'll find the word Schnickschnack, which has a cline of meanings from 'chit-chat' through 'tittle-tattle' to 'twaddle' and 'nonsense'. The monolingual Wahrig Deutsches Wörterbuch says the noun is a doubling of Schnack which also means 'chit-chat' or 'drivel'. The informal verb schnicken means 'to jerk' or 'to seize' and implies fast, sudden, choppy movements. Somewhere in there, I think, the idea of the "schnickel" part referring to chatterboxes or impulsive people is confirmed.

The three citations don't shed much light on the origin or meaning, although they do seem to suggest a 19th-century German immigrant origin:

"My aunt Julie would call me, 'You little schnickelfritz' [ca.1940]. She was ancient. She was born in Brooklyn about 1875." (1985, NYC woman, age ca. 50)
"Mynheer Schnickelfritzer" (from A.P. Hudson's Humor of the Old South, 1864)
"Listen, Schniggle-fritz, I can do it in my sleep." (Gresham, Nightmare, 1946)

Whoever first used it, the term schnickelfritz seems to have survived as an endearment, although it is probably fading from use. Internet and Lexis searches turn up not much more than a few uses as nicknames, Freddie Fisher's Schnickelfritz Band of the 1930s and '40s, and the fact that Helmut Huber, the Austrian-born husband of Susan Lucci (a.k.a. Erica Kane on All My Children), likes to call her Schnickelfritz.

Wendell Raymond Schnickelfritz



Maya Jurt
Local time: 16:00
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in pair: 545
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement. KudoZ.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Uschi (Ursula) Walke: thought of 'little chatter-box' after following Mary's advice.
12 mins

agree  Dr. Fred Thomson: I, too, was called Schnickelfritz by my Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother. (In the 30's.)
25 mins

agree  Jacqueline McKay
22 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5
scalawag, rascal, or troublemaker


Explanation:
I remember in about 1944 - 1947, my father sometimes referred to me as (a) "schnickelfritz", and my father was about as German as Montezuma. At that time, I thought it meant scalawag, rascal, or troublemaker. I think your question has been the first reference to the term I've heard since then.

The term draws nearly 300 Google hits though, almost none of them German. Here are some examples:

http://www.winonapost.com/archive/features.html

"Schnickelfritz was the moniker adopted by Freddie Fisher, a musician originally from Iowa. Freddie and his band, a forerunner of the Spike Jones type of entertainers, combining music with comedy routines, some rather irreverent, were the house band at the Sugar Loaf Tavern, which was located near the intersection of Hwy. 43 and Homer Road in West Burns Valley."

http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=20010122

"As a child, I remember hearing the term schnickelfritz used as a term of endearment by a parent or grandparent of German heritage toward a young member of the family. With an internet search, I have found a reference where it was suggested that schnickelfritz was used as an endearing term meaning 'little chatterbox' or 'rascal', and was not gender specific. Can you offer more insight regarding the term's meaning and origins?
Well, maybe a little. I had to try to tackle this one because my father (German ancestry on his mother's side) called me Schnickelfritz too. It was at some point in its history gender-specific, because -fritz is a combining form that means 'chap' or 'guy'. I'm sure my father meant it as such, because his full nickname for me turned my first and middle names into boys' names, and he used the nickname when I was being tomboyish.
I searched in vain in every slang book we've got here, in the OED, in Noah Webster's original dictionary, in the Century Dictionary, several other American dictionaries small and large, and in many German dictionaries. What I came up with was the combining form mentioned above, the noun Schnickschnack, the verb schnicken, and three citations from Dr. Jonathan Lighter's slang files--two for the spelling schnickelfritz and one for schnigglefritz. So, all I can do is speculate, and hope my guess is close.
In most of the larger bilingual German-English dictionaries, you'll find the word Schnickschnack, which has a cline of meanings from 'chit-chat' through 'tittle-tattle' to 'twaddle' and 'nonsense'. The monolingual Wahrig Deutsches Wörterbuch says the noun is a doubling of Schnack which also means 'chit-chat' or 'drivel'. The informal verb schnicken means 'to jerk' or 'to seize' and implies fast, sudden, choppy movements. Somewhere in there, I think, the idea of the "schnickel" part referring to chatterboxes or impulsive people is confirmed.
The three citations don't shed much light on the origin or meaning, although they do seem to suggest a 19th-century German immigrant origin:

"My aunt Julie would call me, 'You little schnickelfritz' [ca.1940]. She was ancient. She was born in Brooklyn about 1875." (1985, NYC woman, age ca. 50)
"Mynheer Schnickelfritzer" (from A.P. Hudson's Humor of the Old South, 1864)
"Listen, Schniggle-fritz, I can do it in my sleep." (Gresham, Nightmare, 1946)
Whoever first used it, the term schnickelfritz seems to have survived as an endearment, although it is probably fading from use. Internet and Lexis searches turn up not much more than a few uses as nicknames, Freddie Fisher's Schnickelfritz Band of the 1930s and '40s, and the fact that Helmut Huber, the Austrian-born husband of Susan Lucci (a.k.a. Erica Kane on All My Children), likes to call her Schnickelfritz. "

The two references above bear out my interpretation of my father's usage.

HTH

Dan


Dan McCrosky
Local time: 16:00
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 1541
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
It's a nonsense word


Explanation:
It's used in Antoine de Saint Exupéry's Der kleine Prinz (Fr. orig. Le Petit Prince). It's a nonsensical expression, used in the context of "balderdash" or "nonsense".

Ulrike Lieder
Local time: 07:00
Native speaker of: German
PRO pts in pair: 3525
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
no German meaning just a funny term used


Explanation:
It's a term used in a German American song "Schnitzelbank".


Native speaker of:
PRO pts in pair: 12

6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
no German meaning just a funny term used


Explanation:
It's a term used in a German American song "Schnitzelbank".

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Note added at 1904 days (2007-02-27 23:57:53 GMT) Post-grading
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My Mom, who wasn't German but was a well-read traveler -- born into a Welsh-British family in the Southern US during the decade preceding the Depression -- called me that, but not my brothers. Its context seemed to be a genderless term of exdearment that perhaps implied impishness. I've never used it or heard it until we acquired a toy-breed dog. Somehow this name fits him perfectly.


Native speaker of:
PRO pts in pair: 12

4627 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
schnicklfritz


Explanation:
Schnicklfritz or schnickelfritz, is most certainly a term of endearment -- as used by my German-American father-in-law to my children, his beloved grandchildren. It's one word, not a particular kind of fritz.

Whoever said "scalawag or troublemaker" has a thin shadow of an excuse, though I would have written it scallywag, without being doctrinaire about it. As I said it's a grandfather to young grandchildren sort of term, so any sort of damage done is instantly forgiven and chalked up to mischief.

The other entries are reminders that confabulation is abroad in the land; these people can always find a welcome retailing their silly stories to Merriam-Webster.

Example sentence(s):
  • "Here they are!" {aside "My foul son-in law and }" "My beloved little schnicklfritzes! Grandma knew you were coming, so she's baked a strudel."
DavidLJ
Canada
Local time: 10:00
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