Jerry Friedman <je...@totally-official.com
>On Sep 2, 10:29 pm, Jerry Friedman <je...@totally-official.com
>> This German word has a number of suggested etymologies, most of which
>> it itself must describe--they can't all be true. The most likely
>> etymology seems to be a calque from a French word that has been
>> borrowed into English in the same figurative sense (whose connection
>> to the literal sense is unclear). People have also suggested one of
>> those dubious etymologies from an initialism, in this case two
>> letters, referring to yet another language. What is the word and what
>> is at least one version of the initialism etymology?
Fehler is an error and has no etymology offered in the German
Wiktionary, so I guess its origin may be disputed. If it's derived as a
translation via fehlen or Fehl, the French word could be manquer, to
fail (notice a similar sound?). That word has been borrowed into English
(sort of - at least it has influenced the English) as manky, meaning
defective. Why that's figurative, I don't know.
As to an initialism - it doesn't work, does it?
>The non-calque element of this word refers to the news.
Non-calque element? Composite word of some kind, then. News? Not manky,
Unrichtig is another German word for incorrect, and die Nachrichten is
the news. The richt part is right. Nach-richten sets you right after you
have heard it. I don't think this is looking promising - I don't see
richtig as a calque from anything French.
Mon Dieu! (et mon droit).
I think I am expired from the competition round about now.