3

Here's a sentence from a patient speaking to her youth psychiatrist:

Weil Sie auf das, was ich sagte, keine Emotion zeigten, nur eine Antwort ausspuckten: Blob. (Source: DIE ZEIT ONLINE, 1 December 2016)

What is the meaning of the term "blob" here (and are there any other meanings), and what is its etymology please? Is it correct to assume that this is a rather informal term?

8

Seemingly nonsensical talk is sometimes called Geblubber in German. This most probably derives from the sound bubbles make when emerging from the water - it is a sound that is annoying enough to be heard but meaningless.

I'd guess that Blob, like Plopp oder Blubb, is used here to indicate that what the person said was just a waste of air.

The word itself - other than Plopp or Blubb - does not seem to be a German "word" at all.

  • The terms and explanation you gave here reminds me of the concept of "flatus vocis" in the nominalism of Roscellinus van Compiègne, who took his position in the debate over the problem of universals in Western medieval philosophy. – Vincent Mia Edie Verheyen Dec 21 '16 at 7:10
5

Blob doesn't mean anything in German. Thus no other meanings, and no etymology.

With a lot of imagination, I could imagine it is a onomatopoeic expression featuring a goldfish in the glass, even if the text makes no further reference to it.

-2

Blob probably originated from BLOB (Binary large object).

However, it is used whenever something withouth feelings or expression is described. Often people have an image of a green, slimish creature in mind (example).

Thus, the term used by ZEIT ONLINE is rather coloquial

  • why the downvotes? – Iris Dec 19 '16 at 23:10
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    I'm not the downvoter, but that is a weird etymology - the acronym looks modelled after the proper English term (blob meaning an indescript mass or drop), not the other way around. It doesn't help in the example of the OP either - a psychiatry patient answering in binary sure is insane, but that strikes me as an unlikely interpretation here. – Chieron Dec 20 '16 at 0:20
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    I'm also not the downvoter. While it is true that BLOB is short for Binary Large Object in Computer Science terms, I doubt that any normal person would use that word (or the long form), especially in the given context. – Thorsten Dittmar Dec 20 '16 at 7:59
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    @Iris, I downvoted for the reasons explained by others and ask: Why the upvotes? – Carsten S Dec 20 '16 at 11:59
  • Carsten S, although I disagree with the binary large object, the interpretation of a a blob as something without feeling or expression sound valid. – Iris Dec 20 '16 at 12:05

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