|By Matei on Wednesday, August 01, 2001 - 12:45 pm: Edit|
There is a drink in Romania called palinca, but it is made out of plums. It will knock you on yer ass. Powerful stuff. No wormwood that I know of...
|By Bjacques on Sunday, July 29, 2001 - 05:01 am: Edit|
I was going to make a separate thread for Croatian wormwood wine, but maybe it belongs here.
I was in Croatia this month and learned about Palenkovach (actually, it's "Palenkovac" with an upside-down circumflex over the "c"--similar to Romainian pelin) when I saw it listed as "wormwood wine" in a cafe. It's a digestive, about as awful as Unicum from Hungary. It's served optionally with ice and a slice of lemon. Sugar makes it barely palatable, but I couldn't finish the small amount I had. Anyway, it satisfied my curiosity as to why it seemed to be one of the few European countries that wasn't flogging absinthe.
On a train I mentioned this to a local guy, who asked me about some Staroplzenecky a friend had brought back from Prague. I told him he's lucky it wasn't Hill's and to add sugar and water and not drink too much at once.
Croatia's great! Zagreb and the Dalmatian coast had lots of tourists in July, but not nearly as many as Prague.
|By Mordantiabat on Monday, July 23, 2001 - 07:48 am: Edit|
Thanks for posting your translation of the poem! Although Babelfish and the other computer machine translators can do in a pinch (and add their own amusing twist), nothing beats a proper translation by someone who understands the language and idioms. So, the poem is even better translated properly, I think!
And, please, keep on explaining the German idioms! I think it's great that we English-only-speaking ones get to have our curiosity instanteously gratified by all the other languages so represented by the various folk who can give us the all-important nuances to things.
|By Heiko on Thursday, July 19, 2001 - 10:03 pm: Edit|
I forgot one thing:
I guess you don't use the metaphor "one can steal horses with somebody" in English. It means that this person will help you with just about everything, even if it's very dangerous. Maybe Americans can still relate better to the real meaning - stealing horses might be worse than killing a man, right?
|By Heiko on Thursday, July 19, 2001 - 09:48 pm: Edit|
I felt the urge to better that translation, because I really liked the poem.
Here we go:
“Proofs of courage
Let us steal horses! said the high spirits.
Do you take part? asked the daring.
Yes and no, answered the fickleness.
Kiss my ass, called the arrogance.
Stay cool, encouraged the grace.
It’s all very well for you to talk, said the melancholy.
Without desire, there’s nothing but frustration, groaned the sullenness.
My sister’s name is vitality, spoke the courage to face life.
Totally cracked, hummed the annoyance.
Are you asking for a good hiding? asked the boldness of a lion.
Probably something goes wrong, sighed the faintheartedness.
My brothers love me, said the Wermut*.”
*It’s hard to say what it means here – the dictionary says 1.wormwood, 2.drop of bitterness, 3.vermouth. But it also translates a wino to “wermutbruder” (“vermouth-brother”) and I guess according to the statement, this is what is meant.
While translating, I learned something:
1.) the machine translation is a good basis for a real translation
2.) there’s still a lot of words with the suffix “-mut” that use it to express the same as the English “mood” (and not “courage”) – actually, it’s most of these words. A fact that I never realized before. It almost appears to me now that “mood” is the central meaning of “Mut” in German, the neutral state which means courage – all the other “-mut” words are just alterations of this neutral, courageous state. Harr, we Klingons courageous, never have itching fur! ;-)
Good knowledge of a foreign language always starts with four letter words, so I feel free to explain the following: “du kannst mich mal (am Arsch lecken)” roughly means “kiss my ass”. Actually, the original statement in Goethe’s Götz von Berlichingen was a bit cruder – it was about the following “Tell your captain: I respect His Imperial Majesty as always, but as for your captain, tell him he can lick my asshole!
OK, class, we’re going to write a test on this next week, expect questions like these:
What did Goetz tell the captain to lick?
a) his dick
b) his asshole
c) his sweaty nutsack
|By Horuseye on Thursday, July 19, 2001 - 04:24 pm: Edit|
Artemis: Superb Translation!
Let it itch...the Fur, yeah !
Mordantiabat: Thanks for congratulations! Should
I ever meet Mr. Karpe, I´ll hand it to him!
As I read your Research about Wormwood and then
about worms, it reminds me of the research done
by nuclear-physicists: As you go deeper an dee-
per into the heart of the words, they go into
matter, coming to molecules, atoms, the atomic
nucleus, the protons and newtrons and (at last ?)
the "trinity" of the quarks....
Strange thoughts.. I should drink more absinthe..
And listen to Rick Wakeman´s "1984"..
|By Mordantiabat on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - 03:03 pm: Edit|
What a great poem! I can't understand German, myself so I just ran it through Babelfish and read it.
And coming back to the thread, I saw that in the meantime, Artemis has posted a translation. Heh! We all ran to our favorite translators, didn't we? (I must confess a guilty pleasure for Babelfish's manglings of literature, as it almost seems like it puts a Dadaesque glow on all they fracture.)
But, even fractured by computer translation, this poem has some really striking lines. Thanks!
And to Artemis and everyone else:
I have just realized I'm a complete IDIOT. I've been kinda off-and-on musing on the wormwood etymology some more, thinking of things brought up by y'all. And then it hit me. What is the etymology of the word "worm" itself??? Never occurred to me before to check that. Duh me!
So, I did a quick look-up of it on www.bartleby.com. And. But of course. "Worm" itself comes from the German.
Well, that changes the whole color scheme of the room, and we'll have to redecorate.
An excerpt of entry: Root *wmi-, worm; rhyme word to kwmi-. 1. worm, from Old English wyrm, worm, from Germanic *wurmiz. 2. vermeil, vermi-, vermicelli, vermicular, vermin, from Latin vermis, worm.
(loved how vermicelli got in that mix, too ... wouldn't ya know it, noodles were named after worms. hehe.)
So, I'm an idiot. Although there's vermin from the Latin -- which loops back to vermifuge. Damn circular references. So, now I don't know quite what to make of it. Which means I must track worms now.
So, ignore most of what I've said. Heh. My supposition has been fractured as if I ran it through Babelfish! I do end up, after all, wearing the scarlet "E"! But I shall wear it with dignity.
So. Now. I must track worms. (At least, tracking worms will take my mind off 1984 .... the worms may save me, after all.)
And just had a phone conversation with Kallisti a little bit ago, too, where she made mention of her curiosity being aroused as well, and she said she was going to go hit her Irish/Welsh dictionary when she gets home and see if she could find any clue about what they might have called the wormwood plant, if they did call it anything.
See what you've made us do? You've set us loose to go look up things. This is ominous. We might later inflict you with our findings ......
Don't poke the sleeping beasties under the rock. And certainly don't let the sleepy beasties get close to their dictionaries.
Off to track worms ....
|By Artemis on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - 02:24 pm: Edit|
Here's a machine translation, with unintended consequences:
Tests of courage
Let us steal horses!
If said the high spirits. Take you part?
If the daring asked.
Yes and no, the fickleness answered.
You can me, called the arrogance.
Beautifully loose remain, the grace encouraged.
You have well talk, meant the melancholy.
Without desire, nothing as a frustration, groaned the sullenness.
My sister calls vitality, spoke the life Courage.
Totally cracked, the annoyance hummed.
Itches to You the fur?
If the boldness of a lion asked.
Probably what goes inclinedly, the faintheartedness sighed.
My brothers love me, said the VERMOUTH.
I especially like "Itches to You the fur?"
Jah, Jah, itches to me the fur!
|By _Blackjack on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - 02:11 pm: Edit|
According to the American Heritage dictionary:
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English wormwode, alteration (influenced by worm, worm, and wode, wood, perhaps from the use of its leaves as a vermifuge) of wermod, from Old English wermod, from Germanic *wermodaz.
As a name for a native European species it originates in an old Germanic language, and it came into Old English as weremod or wermod. Its derivation is far from certain, but it may have been formed as a combination of wer, "man" (as in werewolf) and mut, "courage" (from which we get our mood). So it could be that its mood-altering properties were known from an early time.
The name changed in medieval times, being thought by folk etymology to be a combination of worm and wood (the plant is rather a woody shrub), because it had been known since the time of the ancient Greeks to be an effective worming agent.
|By Admin on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - 01:32 pm: Edit|
You'd need to establish "wermut" or its equivalent as a proto-germanic word. If you did, then the distribution could have happened at a much earlier date, with the germanic diaspora into the British Isles, Gaul & the Rhine Valley.
I would imagine that most of the german / english connection happened at this time. The primary influences after the saxon invasions were Scandinavian & French. Except perhaps during the 15th - 17th centuries when trade really opened up between England and its Flemish & Germanic neighbors, but by then "wormwood" was already in common usage.
|By Horuseye on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - 01:28 pm: Edit|
Maybe I can infuse a little bit confusion to this
Heiko, Artemis - very interesting. That´s what
I found on the weekend newspaper-supplement:
Laßt uns Pferde stehlen! sagte der Übermut.
Machst Du mit ? fragte der Wagemut.
Jein, erwiderte der Wankelmut.
Ihr könnt mich mal, rief der Hochmut.
Schön locker bleiben, ermunterte die Anmut.
Du hast gut reden, meinte die Schwermut.
Ohne Lust, nichts als Frust, stöhnte der Mißmut.
Meine Schwester heißt Vitalität, sprach der Lebens
Total bescheuert, brummte der Unmut.
Juckt Dir das Fell ? fragte der Löwenmut.
Bestimmt geht was schief, seufzte der Kleinmut.
Meine Brüder lieben mich, sagte der WERMUT."
A poem by Gerd Karpe (whoever he may be...)
|By Heiko on Wednesday, July 18, 2001 - 02:03 am: Edit|
"what were the English-speaking people calling it before the Germans so thoughtfully gave them their word?"
I don't think the Germans gave any words to the English. It was gothic tribes called the Angles and Saxons that invaded England who were the fathers of the English language as it exists today. At that time, it was still a gothic dialect (like was any other tribal dialect in the "German" region).
|By Mordantiabat on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 08:39 pm: Edit|
Oh, I wasn't implying you were accusing me of being egregious. I was just playing around with the word (and the worms). I hope I didn't sound like I was taking umbrage at your position in the matter -- I wasn't at all -- in fact, I was enjoying dissecting the etymology more precisely. Heh.
(To call my ramblings a "dissertation" is far too generous. I generally call them "regurgitations." Find the trivia, spit out the trivia. I am just providing a public nuisance ... er .... service.)
What can I say? I'm a nutcase. Um...writer.
|By Artemis on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 06:18 pm: Edit|
So, you say the worms are probably a coincidence. I say the worms were probably assimilated into the German word when it was anglicized. Who knows?
|By Mordantiabat on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 05:23 pm: Edit|
While I can understand why you are so convinced the worms are as egregrious as rooster tails, I think there is a plausible theory how the worms got married to the German man-courage word. And this is basically: that "wermut" drifted over to the Old English around the Medieval era as "wermod." (this much, etymologically, seems pretty established and accepted in most linguistic sources I've ever come across). And, yes, I do agree that neither "wermut" nor "wermod" seemed to have anything to do with worms.
(Although I must point out, for the sake of thoroughness, that some etymologies claim "wermut" went to France first, became "vermout" (vermouth) and then went onto to England to become "wermod," Others leave the French connection out of the mess entirely.)
But most linguistic sources I've ever seen get quite fuzzy about how exactly it turned into "wormwood."
Okay. So, then one can go look at historical herbal sources. "Wormwood" was the folkname for the herb, adopted by the common folk, the same common folk who had been passing along their herbal lore, medicines, and magicks for generations. And in the Old English countries, much of the herbal and botanical traditions came out of the Greek and Roman traditions, and that was were the worms squiggled in. It would seem not unlikely that the common folk turned the foreign "wermod" into a similar-sounding word, wormwood, as they probably would have "heard" the "worm" in the word, as they would have associated that plant with de-worming.
This is merely my supposition from all I have gathered on the subject, so you can tell me I'm an egregious as rooster tails, if you like. I won't really mind. I will cop to it if it turns out I am.
But please do know this isn't just a supposition off the top of my head that I came up with today (you don't think I can cough up all this amount and variety of trivia on one day's notice, do you? Heh.) I got stuck with being questioned about all I knew about wormwood in the general frenzy of absinthe research that occupied myself, Kallisti, and our other editors on certain occasions in the proto-La Fée Verte site years, as I had an interest in looking into and collecting bits of herbal lore. So, they stuck me, more or less, with the wormwood quest. And the herbal historical references support the worms. The etymology references support the German. And other less-picky sources just make vague and sloppy references to both. I haven't (yet) found the definitive historical answer anywhere. Whether that means I haven't looked hard enough, the hardcore real scholars haven't uncovered it yet, or it's completely lost in history, I dunno. So, until then, I think it not unreasonable to think the anglicization of the word took place in a couple generations of peasant midwives' herbal gardens as they were de-worming the kids ....
So, you say the worms are probably a coincidence. I say the worms were probably assimilated into the German word when it was anglicized. Who knows? (Except possibly the worms ...)
By the way, if we're going to be thorough in sleuthing this out and/or hypothesizing, the other question that begs to be answered is what were the English-speaking people calling it before the Germans so thoughtfully gave them their word? I don't know, myself, although I would guess the Greek word, which was "absinthion" or "apsinthion."
|By Artemis on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 03:03 pm: Edit|
I gave an especially egregious example of halfassed etymology with the rooster feather.
Although wormwood is not nearly as bad, I still surmise its English name doesn't have anything to do with worms. If it indeed is a vermifuge, I would say it's only a coincidence.
Germans gave it a name that indicates it lends courage (make you wonder about "Dutch courage" - was it the alcohol or the herbs in the gin?).
|By Matei on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 10:09 am: Edit|
I like your definition, but acutally it is spelled "pelin" but pronounced "peh-leen", with the accent on the second syllable!
Romanian is rather like French or Italian, with a heavy slavic influence, especially in the part of the country where our relatives are. As to the roots (no pun intended) of the word for wormwood - I couldn't tell you where it comes from.
|By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 07:11 am: Edit|
"PIP PIP HOORAY!" -Woofie Bonderosi
|By Mordantiabat on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 03:52 am: Edit|
Heiko: Man-courage! Perfect! Isn't there some saying "Have a glass of courage?" Where's that from? Puts a different twist on it, doesn't it?
Melinelly: 'Twas a pleasure to meet you as well! You absinthe cream bread pudding was amazing. Compliments to the chef and such!
Head: Will you promise to follow me around forever and define random words everytime I ramble on for more than a paragraph about words in general??? Please?!? You're a pip, you know.
|By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 12:21 am: Edit|
"Man-Courage"? I think it's pronounced "Bud-Wieser" in American.
|By Heiko on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 - 12:14 am: Edit|
thanks for the etymological research.
Now that you said it: you must be right that "wer" meant "man", I've read about this in an explanation of the word "wer-wolf". "Wolf" means wolf in German as well, so it means "man-wolf".
"Mut" still means "courage" in German (and I think the old Goths were absolutely right when they named wormwood "man-courage" - right?)
|By Melinelly on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 10:04 pm: Edit|
or your second piece of absinthe bread puddin' ;)
heya Bat! glad to see you on this side of the green curtain heh. 'twas a pleasure meeting you this past weekend.
|By Wolfgang on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 09:34 pm: Edit|
Note to all newbies : Post by Head prostesis are dangerous to read after your 4th oz of absinthe ;-) LOL
|By Head_Prosthesis on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 08:06 pm: Edit|
|By Mordantiabat on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 07:42 pm: Edit|
I did some research on wormwood references and etymology some years ago (and a lot of what I found back then are what's in the Wormwood Articles section listed in the main La Fée Verte pages .... these pages are a bit out-of-date and I've since found newer info and more details on certain things I once cited. I think I wrote them at least three or four years ago, and they need some nit-picking correcting here and there, badly .....)
Anyway, from what I've learned along the line, Heiko's right about the word coming from the old German "wermut." Further breaking down of "wermut" has the "wer" meaning "man" and "mut" meaning courage (and refers, as well to mind and mental function). I don't actually know old German, so I'm surmising this is, more or less, correct as I've seen many different sources cite this particular breakdown of the word. One source noted "mut" is where our word "mood" is supposed to come from, but I haven't yet actually looked that up in a regular English etymology dictionary to cross-check that. ('Tis easy to check that, though.)
So, "wermut," literally, means something mood-altering or mood-enhancing. And once upon a time in old German lore, wormwood had a reputation as an enhancer of mental functioning and a mood-alterating herb, and tonics were made from the herb.
The shift from the German "wermut" to the present-day "wormwood" allegedly came about during Medieval days, and I've not found much about the shift beyond some sketchy explanations for it except it had a transition into the Old English word "wermod," which later became "wormwood." Basically, the worm, of course, was also said to refer to its old vermifuge reputation (Ancient Greece) and the "wood" is probably because it was a shrub and the "wormwood" word was a common folk usage. "Wood" in general, was a catch-all suffix often affixed in the common folk names to herbs (especially when the plant was shrubby or woody), just like "wort" means "herb" when used to make a common herb name, and "bane" means "poison," generally, or something to get rid of whatever was in the prefix of the herb word.
Anyway, Artemis is right about some etymologies being bizarre in how they deconstruct words, but I've seen enough variations on the "wermut" reference in many different and reputable places, so it sounds like its the accepted version. (But what do I-- or they -- know? I wasn't in old Germany. Heh.) And, of course, the famous worm dispelling properties of wormwood come from texts and lore that started in ancient history.
If any of y'all care to help me hammer out the whole thing to really get a good concise and comprehensive blurb on the etymology, I'll happily update the references to that in the Wormwood Articles to come up with a thorough etymology based on all our shared resources.
Mordantia "egads, why does eytymology amuse me so?" Bat
P.S. Matei, just out of curiosity, does "pelin" have any other meaning, literal or otherwise, or is it just used for wormwood exclusively?
|By Artemis on Saturday, July 14, 2001 - 03:04 pm: Edit|
Heiko, I think you've nailed it.
The explanation Ted gave is seen time and time again about wormwood and worms. But where does the "wood" come in? There is no wood in a wormwood plant.
We see the craziest explanations of the etymology (is that the right word?) of words, based upon some deconstruction of the word's "meaning", ignoring the obvious in many cases: it is a simply a "sound-alike" for a word in a different language.
Take "cocktail" for example. I've seen many asinine explanations, including that drinks used to be stirred with the tail feather of a rooster.
The fact is, in the birthplace of the cocktail (New Orleans), they were served at drug stores in the large end of an egg cup. French for egg cup is "coquetier". Cocktail.
|By Heiko on Saturday, July 14, 2001 - 02:45 pm: Edit|
I was always wondering if the term wormwood only came from the usage as a medicine against worms. The word is rather similar (phonetically) to the German "wermut" or French "vermouth". These words seem to lack the "worm" connection. Wermut in German, on the other hand can be used as a metaphor for "bitterness" (not in taste, but mental). One word that is used rather frequently is "Wermutstropfen" ("drop of wormwood") which stands for the only little negative aspect in an otherwise positive fact.
Unfortunately, I don't know the original indo-germanic or gothic term for "wermut" and what it meant.
|By Tabreaux on Saturday, July 14, 2001 - 12:46 pm: Edit|
Supposedly, it was called "wormwood" because it had a reputation for being a vermifuge where roundworm infection was concerned. If there is any truth to this, who knows...and fortunately that shouldn't be such a concern in this day and age.
Unfortunately however, modern use of the term "wormwood" seems to be a nickname applied to several different species of Artemisia, and this has caused some confusion. Also, the French misuse of the term "absinthe", applying it loosely to other species (e.g. petite absinthe) is a misnomer and has caused some confusion as well.
|By Lordhobgoblin on Saturday, July 14, 2001 - 12:03 pm: Edit|
Why is Artemesia Absinthium given the common name of Wormwood. Does anybody know this history of the name and why it was used?
|By Tabreaux on Saturday, July 14, 2001 - 11:47 am: Edit|
There are differing varieties of Artemisia, only one being absinthium (i.e. absinthe). Absinthium is so terribly bitter that even a very small portion will make anything very, very bitter. If this was added to wine, I suspect it is for digestive or other traditional 'medicinal' reasons. This practice is far removed from manufacture of the liquor absinthe, and predates the liquor absinthe by millenia (or so I've read).
Meanwhile, other species of Artemisia are used more frequently and are far less bitter than their relative (absinthium). I believe vermouth and possibly many other instances of Artemisia sp. being added to wine or liquors/liqueurs may chiefly be comprised of different varieties.
|By Matei on Saturday, July 14, 2001 - 11:28 am: Edit|
Actually my wife takes the credit. She was the one that pointed out that we've already tasted it before. I had no idea what she was talking about and it wasn't until last month, when we were last in Romania, that I finally figured out what she was talking about.
I too was under the impression that the wormwood plant was something other than what it is.
|By Artemis on Saturday, July 14, 2001 - 07:57 am: Edit|
Wormwood has been used in the ways Matei described in various cultures for centuries - to repel insects, as a tonic, etc.
Dr. Ordinaire may have concocted a tasty patent medicine that turned into a national beverage, but he didn't discover wormwood.
What is vermouth but wormwood wine?
Matei, that's a very nice story - I envy your experience in recognizing wormwood in absinthe (because you knew what it tasted like already). I was forced to do the wormwood extract comparison I mentioned in another thread to "teach" myself what it tasted like, having had no prior experience of it. I used to visualize wormwood as some piece of wood eaten through with worm holes.
|By Morriganlefey on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 04:05 pm: Edit|
Very interesting. This prompts me to consider adding a sprig of the wormwood growing in my own garden to my wine supply. Surely a vintage Sonoma Cabernet would benefit from artemisia, no??!? (tannic AND bitter - mmmm!) And if not, I yack it right out, no harm done.
|By Heiko on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 03:51 pm: Edit|
I think wormwood in wine has been used by many European nations before anyone thought about absinthe.
I can't remember who exactly said it and when (I'm too lazy to look it up right now...), but it was something like "the Germans love their wine with wormwood and they eat very much because of that wine"
|By Verawench on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 03:17 pm: Edit|
Interesting.. my guess is that they use it as it had been used centuries before absinthe - for medicinal purposes. The wormwood wine might serve as a sort of daily health tonic or something.
|By Matei on Friday, July 13, 2001 - 03:01 pm: Edit|
Okay - this is the umpteenth attempt at posting this bit of info. For some strange reason my browser goes crazy when I try to post this... here goes:
My family in Romania (no, not near Transilvania - they are on the other side, in Moldova) has been using wormwood on an almost daily basis and I never realised it until now. In addition to using it to keep fleas and other pests at bay (they live on a farm in a really rural area), wine is also drank with wormwood leaves.
One takes a sprig (dried or fresh) of leaves and lets it soak in the bottom of the wine glass for a spell, then the wine is consumed without removing the leaves. It gives the wine a bitter taste. Nobody has been able to explain why this is done, they just tell me "to give the wine a bitter taste". Okay... They've been doing this for ages - considering that they've been in the area for several hundred years - I guess it has roots somewhere either in a custom or practical purpose.
When I first tasted the absinthe I recognized the taste of the wormwood (faint but recognisable) from having tasted it previously in my family's home-made wine. I can't remember if there was any of the so-called "secondary effect" gained from adding the wormwood leaves in the wine - the wine on it's own is rather potent!
Incidentally, the word for wormwood in Romanian is "pelin".
Anyway - I thought that some of you might find this tidbit of info interesting!
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