-3

On the surface, the Austrian appellative Depperter, adj. bist' deppert?, also Upper German appellative Du Depp “You idiot” may be correlated with zerdeppern “to break pots etc.”.

Pfeifer traces two different origins, an Upper German one akin to tappen “step, touch”, onomatopoeia ("lautnachahmend"), the other from Upper Saxon and akin to Topf “pot”.

https://www.dwds.de/wb/Depp
https://www.dwds.de/wb/zerdeppern

Bayerisches Wörterbuch -deppern s.v. -deppen (col. 3.1569-70) suggests Old High German bidebben, Middle High German biteben, “wohl zur selben Wz. wie tappen”, whereas Depp (col. 3.1566-7) suggests tappen², cf. col. 3.1217f. tappen 1. “gehen”, 2. “treten, auftreten” and more.

https://publikationen.badw.de/de/bwb/-/3.1217.pdf
https://publikationen.badw.de/de/bwb/-/3.1219.pdf
https://publikationen.badw.de/de/bwb/-/3.1565.pdf
https://publikationen.badw.de/de/bwb/-/3.1567.pdf
https://publikationen.badw.de/de/bwb/-/3.1569.pdf

Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen: bidebben “un- terdrücken, betäuben, einschläfern, opprimere, retudere, sopire” reconstruct Proto-Germanic *þabjan-, cp. Old Icelandic þefja “zerstoßen, stampfen (von Grütze)”, though they initially note confusion with dempfen and eventually a similar case with Sanskrit tápati, cp. OHG de-ba. This would impliy Proto-Indo-European *tap or *tep-, respectively.

Die einzige formal genau entsprechende Bil-dung in den germ. Sprachen ist aisl. þefja sw. v. ‚zerstoßen, stampfen (von Grütze)‘ < urgerm. *þajan-. Auf die gleiche Wz. urgerm. *þaf- (s. u.) gehen zurück: nnorw. tava ‚reißen, schleppen‘; vgl. ndän. tave ‚Faser‘, ält. ndän. ‚Büschel Flachs, Wolle‘; nschwed. dial. tav, nnorw. dial. tave ‚kleines, zerfasertes Stück, Tuch‘; nnorw. tafs(e), nschwed. tafs ‚kleiner zu- sammengewickelter Haufe, Wisch‘, ndän. tjavs ‚Zotte‘ (mit eingeschobenem j als spontane Pa-latalisierung bei verächtlichen Ausdrücken; da-zu Lühr, Expressivität 87 f.). Sofern anord. þǫf-ta sw. v. ‚schlagen, stampfen‘ (< *þafutōn / þa- utōn-) zu aisl. þefja gehört, kann auch nost-fries. dafen, daven ‚klopfen, stampfen‘ von der diesen Verben zugrundeliegenden Wz. abgelei- tet sein. Im Ablautverhältnis stehen: anord. þœ-fa sw. v. ‚walken, stampfen‘ < *þōijan-; þóf n. ‚Gedränge, Streit, Zank‘, þófi m. ‚Filz‘ (woraus möglicherweise lit. tūbà, tbas, lett. tūba, apreuß. tubo ‚Filz‘; s. Trautmann, Apreuß. Sprach.denkm. 451; dagegen Fraenkel, Lit. et. Wb. 1134: unsicher).

(Albert L. Lloyd, Rosemarie Lühr, Otto Springer. Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen II. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1998. (ISBN 978-3-525-20768-0). s. v. 'bidebben'. (https://ewa.saw-leipzig.de/articles/bidebben))

Nothing in this is informative for deppert, at all. That's out of the question.

The various connotations in Bayerisches Wörterbuch, which see, might work with bleached semantics, but what they were thinking is not clear to me.

So what is it really?

8
  • 1
    @vectory As you already wrote in your question, deppert is the adjective. Depperter is the nominative masculine singular strong form of deppert. So deppert is the base form. What you wrote in your previous remarks is only confusing and misleading.
    – RHa
    Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 20:02
  • 3
    Deppert is just an adjective derived from Depp with a suffix (see publikationen.badw.de/de/bwb/index#9678); bedeppe(r)n is irrelevant, as is zerdeppern.
    – David Vogt
    Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 20:40
  • 2
    Aus welchem Grund formatierst Du die Links so, dass man sie nicht qua Klick aufrufen kann? Findest Du das so schick, diese winzige Schrift? Wieso keine Liste? Sicher kann man alles drei haben - probier es aus! Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 23:30
  • @RHa: actually "Depp" is the base form, the "-ert" suffix is similar to High German "-lich" or "-ig" - a marker for Adjektiva and Adverbien derived from other words. Verbatim "deppert" means "(to behave) like a 'Depp'". "Depperter" is a form of this Adjektiv where the Nomen is left out. In High German you can similarily say "ein Dummer", which is short for "ein dummer Mann", "ein dummer Junge", etc..
    – bakunin
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 11:57
  • 1
    @bakunin and vectory: Please take a break from this conversation. This kind of language and tone is not accepted here. This applies to comments from both of you.
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 21:49

3 Answers 3

7

In the Bavarian language/dialect there are many adjectives, that end in -ert:

  • schlampert = schlampig (sloppy)
  • hatschert = hinkend (limping), von hatschen = schwerfällig gehen oder eine lange Strecke gehen
  • goschert sein = frech und ausfällig daherreden (talk cheekily and abusively) (Goschn = Mund, Mundhöhle, manchmal auch Kiefer)
  • scheckert = gescheckt; ein unregelmäßiges Muster haben
  • gugerscheckert = Sommersprossen habend (Gugerschecken = Sommersprossen)
  • bunkert (auch punkert) = einen kompakten Körperbau habend (klein und dick)
  • dalkert = ungeschickt und dumm
  • glatzert = kahlköpfing (von Glatze)
  • graupert = zerzaust (Frisur)
  • großkopfert = überheblich und herablassend
  • halbert = halb
  • hoppertatschert (auch: hoppertatschig) = ungeschickt
  • letschert = schlapp, verwelkt
  • luckert = löchrig
  • zahnluckert = ein unvollständiges Gebiss habend
  • nackert = nackt
  • pudelnackert = völlig nackt
  • patschert (auch: potschert) = ungeschickt (clumsy like a Patsch = clumsy person)
  • patzert = patzig, rüpelhaft (stroppy, snotty)
  • pickert = klebrig
  • spinnert = verrückt
  • tramhapert = dusselig, noch halb schlafend
  • wampert = einen dicken Bauch habend (Wampe = dicker Bauch)
  • wurlert = unruhig, nervös (Verb "wurln" = wuseln, krabbeln)
  • zerlempert = verschlissen, aus den Fugen geraten

And deppert is just one of them. It means dorky or stupid like a Depp. And the etymology of the noun Depp (which means idiot) was given already in your question.


Depperter

Many of the adjectives listed above can be used to describe persons (der glatzerte Mann, die zahnluckerte Frau, etc.). And nominalization of adjectives works in Bavarian dialect/language the same as in German. So, you can use the nominalized form to name a person, as is done in these examples:

  • Wos macht a Nackerter im Hawelka?
    Was macht ein Nackerter im Hawelka?
    »Hawelka« ist the name of a famous café in the center of Vienna. This sentence is from the lyrics of the Viennese dialect song Jö schau by Georg Danzer (video with lyrics)
  • Da Wamperte, da Glotzerte und I.
    Der Wamperte, der Glatzerte und ich.
    Title of another Viennese dialect song, sung by Marianne Mendt and Wolfgang Ambros, written by Georg Danzer. Lyrics and video
  • Großkopferte sind auch nur Menschen.
    Title of a portrait of a person. Quelle.

And so, »ein Depperter« is just a person who is deppert, i.e the same as a Depp. (While Depp refers more to a person who is an idiot, Depperter refers more to person who does idiotic things, so the difference is very subtile.)

10
  • prove that it's "just" one of them. Just how just is "just" really? There was no etymology in Question. "tappen²” is not provable or falsifiable in face of homonyms (in particular, I saw one sense somewhere in those pages that is equivalent to Dämpfer).
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 16:00
  • 2
    @vectory: I don't how what you are expecting that a proof might look like, so I added some more of these adjectives. Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 17:59
  • What I expect doesn't matter. You are clearly speculating based on grammar judgement without giving any etymological information beyond the surface analysis.
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 18:25
  • 1
    @HubertSchölnast: "gugascheckert" is from "gugascheckn" - Sommersprossen, also I'd like to add: "feichtlat" (Feuchtigkeit an sich habend, zB Räume), "rearat" = verweint, heulend (von "rear'n" - weinen, heulen), "fleckat" = von Flecken übersät, "stierlat" = wörtl. "stierig", das Analogon zu "läufig" bei Kühen, im übertragenen Sinne auf Frauen angewandt, "p°ampat" = ungehobelt, rüde, herablassend
    – bakunin
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 18:37
  • Did you mean: Frankish schockiert (red in the face, blushed, embarassed)? Or English checkered, from checkers?
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 19:20
0

IMO, this is related to the German word "tappig" (https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/tappig). In fact, in some areas in Bavaria, "tappert" is used instead of "deppert".

A person who is "tappig" (unskillfull, having "two left hands") might appear to the bystanders as if it were also weak in his head.

4
  • I have never heard "tappig". Is it a variant of "tapsig"?
    – Paul Frost
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 10:42
  • Likely related. See here. Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 13:09
  • 2
    deppert und tapsig/tappert haben in meinem Sprachgefühl verschiedene Bedeutungen: ungefähr entspricht es dumm vs. ungeschickt als Synonyme Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 14:17
  • That isn't much more than a comment on what I already knew. Bayern's Dialekte Online (via Wörterbuchnetz) has tappig, points to tapp and Middle High German tâpe, which is onom. in origin as per Pfeifer, to whom I linked. The Duden Website you link has no useful etymology at all. Bayerisches Wörterbuch: täppicht, -ig, -a is interesting, “°i hab dappate Fin-ger”, which, needs to be said of course, does not match the glosses of "dumm, töricht, geistesgestört”, nor "dumm, ungeschickt" (col. 3.1224), @planetmaker. Interesting but no answer to my question.
    – vectory
    Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 20:04
-2

D/Tappig, -icht, a, -s-ig or -ert appear prima facie as arbitrary variants of adjectives to the same verb, tappen, which don't obtain different grammatical interpretations because the semantics are bleached beyond recognition and without an obvious relation to the verb.

https://publikationen.badw.de/de/bwb/-/3.1223.pdf

https://publikationen.badw.de/de/bwb/-/3.1225.pdf

https://publikationen.badw.de/de/bwb/-/3.1227.pdf

I shan't guess, for example, that depp-ert is correlated with French -ard as in cunnus / conard, reportedly from -hard as in Bern(h)ard, because, on the other hand, concha / chat would speak for *depp-icht, deppat.

Everyone agrees that Depp is the base, despite Grimm's not knowing the noun. Comparison to English dope is instructive.

Meaning "foolish, stupid person" […] (1851) and may be from the notion of "thick-headed," later associated with the idea of "stupefied by narcotics."

(https://www.etymonline.com/word/dope#etymonline_v_13948)

The earliest recorded meaning of dope, 1807 in American English, is from Dutch doop "thick dipping sauce," (op.cit.)

This may be correlated with aisl. þefja "zerstoßen, stampfen (von Grütze)" in support of EWA, or with zerdeppern if related to Topf as follows.

Van der Sijs concurs that doop entered English through Dutch cuisine by the 19th century at the latest. Other dictionaries scarcely treat this term. Phillipa et al. focus mostly on the sense of dubbing, Ger. Taufe. The word is related to deep (etymologiebank.nl).

Incidently, German Topf is also explained by tief "diep" (Kluge, Pfeifer). But tief is not related to tappen. That the verb in some sense derived from obsolete tâpe "paw" by sound-symbolism is not verifiable because writing does not record sound, strictly speaking. However, tupfen "to immerse" (“kommt literatursprachlich im 18. Jh. außer Gebrauch, bleibt im Obd. jedoch erhalten." Pfeifer) had in fact many more connotations which make it quite similar to tappen, antappen, zertappen. English tap by the way, would formally correspond to Zapfen. Indeed, even the family of *tep-, which EWA attenpted to split from *tap-, does contain words meaning deep, dive, in the Wiktionary. The different sound correspondences are very confusing. Adelung specifically compared דבב "tappend einher gehen".

The theoretical problem seems to be the institution of baptism.

Vaak wordt aangenomen dat de christelijke betekenis van het woord is ontstaan in het Gotisch. Bisschop Wulfila, die in de 4e eeuw de bijbel in het Gotisch vertaalde, gaf Grieks báptein ‘onderdompelen, dopen’ met daupjan weer. Deze betekenis zou dan met de Gotische missie naar Beieren (Duitsland) zijn gekomen en zich van daaruit over het vasteland van Europa hebben verbreid. De Engelsen en de Scandinaviërs gebruikten andere woorden: oe. fulwīan, letterlijk ‘volledig wijden’ en on. skíra, letterlijk ‘rein maken’ en kristna ‘kerstenen’. Het is de vraag of de invloed van de Gotische missie werkelijk zo groot was;

(“doop” in M. Philippa, F. Debrabandere, A. Quak, T. Schoonheim en N. van der Sijs (2003-2009) Etymologisch Woordenboek van het Nederlands, Amsterdam. https://etymologiebank.nl/trefwoord/doop bold emphasis mine)

The influence of Christianity was not marginal. It has to be assumed that prior practices of forming group identity had involved tatooing, branding, an acid bath or a good old beating (cf. zum Ritter schlagen "to dub"). This is not recoverable.

The tangent would also be supported by *Ker(d)- as a potential basis of the suffix, inasmuch as *Ker- on the other hand is analogous to dope-head.

Yet it is not clear how this is a bad thing.


Other obvious options are to do with Deibel, or dumm, tumb, doof, taub, benommen etc. See also daft.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.