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What's a Schnickelfritz?

schnickelfritz

[shnik-uhl-frits]

noun


1. troublemaker (usually referring to a little kid) 2. a child, especially a mischievous, noisy child; especially as a nickname or term of endearment 3. a teasing term of endearment, something like “you little rascal” 4. a silly, rascally little boy; a folklore character 5. a term of endearment of uncertain Germanic origin; it means something akin to “rascal”, “scamp”, or “little chatterbox”.


Etymology


”From Pennsylvania German, from a cognate of German Schnickschnack (“chatter”) (se schnacken, *schnicken) + -el + Fritz (a nickname derived from Friedrich), thus probably originally denoting someone chatty or impulsive.”

Source


A bit about the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect…


“It has traditionally been the language of the Pennsylvania Dutch, decendants of the late 17th- and early 18th-century immigrants to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina from southern Germany, eastern France (Alsace and Lorraine), and Switzerland. Although for many, the term “‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ is often taken to refer to the Amish and related Old Order groups exclusively, the term should not imply a connection to any particular religious group.


“In this context, the word “Dutch” does not refer to the Dutch people or their descendants. Instead it is probably left over from an archaic sense of the English word “Dutch”; compare German Deutsch (‘German’), Dutch Duits (‘German’), Diets (‘Dutch’), which once referred to any people speaking a non-peripheral continental West Germanic language on the European mainland. Alternatively, some sources give the origin of “Dutch” in this case as a corruption or a “folk-rendering” of the Pennsylvania German endonym “Deitsch”…


“Much of Pennsylvania German’s difference from Standard German can be summarized as consisting of a simplified grammatical structure, several vowel and consonant shifts that occur with a fair degree of regularity, as well as a variety of lexical differences. The influence of American English upon grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation is also significant.”

Source