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  • "(T)here is another, more subtle, linguistic trap which both Germans and non-Germans can easily fall into--and which is far worse a faux pas than a mere slip of the article. Mention that you've found the 'Endlösung' ('final solution') to a problem you've been grappling with, or that you've made a 'Selektion' ('selection') from a number of possible alternatives, and you will quickly find yourself the target of disapproving stares.

    The reason is simple--the aforementioned words are so tainted by their use by the Nazis that they are now completely taboo. To modern German ears, 'Endlösung' will forever be associated with Hitler's genocidal 'Final Solution to the Jewish Question,' while 'Selektion' is now verbum non grata due to its use to refer to the death camp practice of 'selecting' inmates to be executed.

    -- "New Dictionary Highlights Nazi Words to Avoid," David Gordon Smith, Spiegel Online International (thanks to AWADmail 2/24/08)

    February 25, 2008

  • I've known about that linguistic phenomenon for many years (the example that was given to me was the verb "spritzen"), but I didn't know there would be a new dictionary about it. Wow!

    But what about the word anschluss?

    February 25, 2008

  • Anschluss is among the words included in the dictionary. In fact, I was casting about for a place on Wordie to put this and settled on choosing from the other half of the article's two-part headline: "From 'Anschluss' to 'Zyklon B.'"

    February 26, 2008

  • But... but... what does it mean, in the context of being included in the special dictionary? Annexation?

    February 26, 2008

  • Oh! Sorry, I misunderstood. I'm no German expert by any means, but yes, I think it literally means "link-up," or annexation--which is what Germany did with Austria in 1938. It's usually called "the Anschluss," much as we say "the Holocaust" to refer to the Nazi extermination of Jews--at least in histories I've read.

    February 26, 2008

  • A chilling word. Reminds me of brennschluss, which Pynchon made chilling in a different way.

    February 26, 2008

  • Good way to describe it. To my ear they always sound similar to onslaught, which is also an unnerving word.

    February 26, 2008