German

or Germaine (g soft). Pertaining to, related to, as cousins-german (first cousins), german to the subject (bearing on or pertinent to the subject). This word has no connection with German (the nation), but comes from the Latin germanus (of the same germ or stock). First cousins have a grandfather or grandmother in common.

“Those that are germaine to him, though removed fifty times, shall all come under the hangman.” —Shakespeare: Winter's Tale, iv. 3.

German

Jehan de Maire says, “Germany is so called from Caesar's sister Germana, wife of Salvius Brabon.” Geoffrey of Monmouth says that Ebrancus, a mythological descendant of Brute, King of Britain, had twenty sons and thirty daughters. All the sons, except the eldest, settled in Germany, which was therefore, called the land of the Germans or brothers. (See above.)

[Ebrank.] An happy man in his first days he was,
And happy father of fair progeny;
For all so many weeks as the year has
So many children he did multiply!
Of which were twenty sons, which did apply
Their minds to praise and chivalrous desire.
These germans did subdue all Germany,
Of whom it hight ...

Spenser: Faërie Queene, ii. 10.

Probably the name is Ger-man, meaning “warman.” The Germans call themselves Deutech-en, which is the same as Teut-on, with the initial letter flattened into D, and “Teut” means a multitude. The Romans called the people Germans at least 200 years before the Christian era, for in 1547 a tablet (dated B.C. 222) was discovered, recording the victories of the Consul Marcellus over Veridomar, “General of the Gauls and Germans.”

Father of German literature. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. (1729-1781.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

More on German from Fact Monster:

Related Content