English translation: stuffy/ old-fashioned/ provincial....
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Anyone know a good way of translating "spießig"? The translations given in general bilingual dictionaries, e.g. middle-class, bourgeois, aren't really right. The specific context is an article about how people used to dress casually for work: "Schließlich wollt man ja nicht für spießig gehalten werden."
Explanation: "spießig" is the adjective of "Spießer" which is a short form of "Spießbürger". This is a turn that comes originally from the Middle Ages and referred to citizens that were only armed with a "Spieß" instead of higher class weapons. That's where it's more modern meaning of petit-bourgeois comes from. In the meantime the word is frequently being used for someone who is simply uncultivated.
Explanation: Spiessbuerger originated in the Middle Ages as a derogatory term applied to lower class city dwellers who, unlike knights, were armed only with a "Spiess." In contemporary usage "spiessig" (=spiessbuergerlich) is synonymous with "kleinlich, engstirnig." It seems to me that "common" fits your context, the contemporary usage of the German word, while also being true to the word's etymological roots.
Wahrig deutsches Woerterbuch, 1986 extensive experience with German lit. and history