Grandiose
Posted: 01 May 2007 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Seems that Lionel Richie, formerly of the Commodores, is making a tour in Germany with a ”grandiose Show” in Berlin.

Berliner Zeitung -

Jetzt kam Lionel Richie im Rahmen der “Coming Home"-Tour mit Klassikern und neuen Stücken für eine grandiose Show in die Max-Schmeling Halle

Now Lionel Richie arrived in the context of the “Coming Home” tour with classic and new pieces for a grandiose show in the Max-Schmeling Hall

I see that grandiose has a first meaning in English (according to AHD4) of Characterized by greatness of scope or intent; grand. But then a second meaning (which I would have put first and only) of Characterized by feigned or affected grandeur; pompous. I presume that the Berliner Zeitung did not mean it that way, but then I’ve only heard it used that way!

Merriam Webster reverses the two meanings putting affectation of grandeur or splendor or by absurd exaggeration first as I would and “impressive” second.

Etymonline says that it comes to English via French in 1840 meaning [only?] “impressive.”

So, do we have an example of a loan-word going from Italian to French to English to German with the German picking up on an older meaning?  Or did it go directly from French/Italian to German and avoided the (possibly newer) “pompous” attribute to the word? 

And (you OED folks) when did grandiose move from “impressive” to “pompous”?

Dutchtoo?

edit: the digital dictionary of the German Language of the 20th century DWDS says that the adjective is Italian in origin and only has the meaning of überwältigend which could mean “mind-blowing” or “smashing” or großartig for which LEO marvelously offers “bodacious” and “the cats pajamas.”

[ Edited: 02 May 2007 03:51 AM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 01 May 2007 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Apparently both senses were present in English almost immediately after importation.  The OED gives the first sense as “Producing an effect or impression of grandeur or greatness; characterized by largeness of plan or nobility of design” with first citation from 1843; the second sense (but note the date), given as “Of speech, style, deportment, etc. Characterized by formal stateliness; often in disparaging sense: Aiming at an effect of grandeur, pompous” is cited from 1840.

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Posted: 01 May 2007 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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OED defines thus:

1. Producing an effect or impression of grandeur or greatness; characterized by largeness of plan or nobility of design.

1843 EMERSON Misc. Papers, Carlyle Wks. (Bohn) III. 317 This grandiose character pervades his wit and his imagination.

2. Of speech, style, deportment, etc. Characterized by formal stateliness; often in disparaging sense: Aiming at an effect of grandeur, pompous.

1840 THACKERAY Paris Sk.-bk., Napoleon (1869) 118 Our author speaks of the Emperor’s advent in the following grandiose way.

Thus, although both are roughly contemporaneous, it’s the second definition which has the slight edge.

Pipped by Doc!

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Posted: 01 May 2007 09:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Who translated the German “grandios” as English “grandiose”? I would think something like “magnificent” is intended.

I believe the German word is probably directly from Italian “grandioso”, typically = “grand"/"majestic"/"magnificent"/etc.

I myself would take English “grandiose” to cover the territory from “excessively grand” to “almost excessively grand” depending upon context.

My ignorance of German is very impressive, my ignorance of Italian even more profound. [My ignorance of English is only moderate.] I defer to any expert.

Edit: Various material has appeared above, since I began my plodding reply!

[ Edited: 01 May 2007 09:07 PM by D Wilson ]
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Posted: 01 May 2007 09:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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D Wilson - 01 May 2007 09:01 PM

I believe the German word is probably directly from Italian “grandioso”, typically = “grand"/"majestic"/"magnificent"/etc.

Your hunch is correct, Doug. You are right to treat the English and German words separately.  I just went to Grimm’s and they trace it directly to Italian dated to a 1779 German translation of Italian letters appearing from between 1758 and 1763.

though from the same source, they really function as two different words in two different languages.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 02:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Oecolampadius - 01 May 2007 08:35 PM

Merriam Webster reverses the two meanings putting affectation of grandeur or splendor or by absurd exaggeration first as I would and “impressive” second.

Some dictionaries order their definitions historically and some by frequency of modern use.  You’ve got to know which to expect. The former frequently causes rash judgments of the value of a dictionary.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 03:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Quite right you are, Faldage. But how would any of the rest of us know this? The dics don’t bother to explain their methods prominently. I only knew this since the blogosphere came in to place and people like languagehat and thediscouragingword mentioned it.

Perhaps some day soon they’ll just have a daily Google for word frequency and list accordingly. (There is a structure to learning and the human brain ferchrissakes. I’ve just now been wondering to myself why the current generation are so tepid and unadventurous in their music. Perhaps it’s lack of learning and something, therefore, to rebel against. Let’s tear down the walls. Pablum, pablum, pablum. It could be made into a mantra if we all pull together as a team.)

[ Edited: 02 May 2007 03:22 AM by foolscap ]
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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Very helpful, Faldage.  Thanks.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Very helpful, Faldage.

So which is which?

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’m presuming that Merriam Webster goes with the current meaning as the first citation.  Though in this case, of course, we can’t be too sure which is the “original” English meaning.  My connection to NewsPaperArchive is not currently working.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Who translated the German “grandios” as English “grandiose”? I would think something like “magnificent” is intended.

Exactly—the meanings of the English word are irrelevant to the German usage.

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Posted: 02 May 2007 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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languagehat - 02 May 2007 05:50 AM

Exactly—the meanings of the English word are irrelevant to the German usage.

It’s an interesting version of the “false friend”.  What moved me in the assumption about it being the same word (edit: or a recent loan-word from English) is the feminine ending on the German adjective which makes it look like the English word and the fact that it is used to modify the obvious English loan-word “die Show”.

Wikipedia has in the false friend article:

For example, the words preservative (English), Präservativ (German), prezervativ (Romanian), preservativo (Italian, Spanish, Portuguese) and prezerwatywa (Polish) are all derived from the French préservatif. However, in all of these languages except English, the predominant meaning of the word has become condom, while the most common French word for “preservative” is now conservateur. Actual has a different meaning in English from what it means in other European languages, where it means current or up-to-date, and has the logically derivative verb to actualize meaning to make current or to update.

[ Edited: 02 May 2007 07:36 AM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 08 May 2007 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I guess your question has been properly answered Oecolampadius, so just FTR I’ll add that Dutch ‘grandioos’ with the same meaning as the German word was borrowed from French around 1847.

Another false friend that I see frequently in translations from English is ‘brutal’ which should be translated (into Dutch) with something like ‘geweldadig’ (violent, with force) but often is translated with ‘brutaal’ which in Dutch means ‘rude, ill-mannered’. So every time I read about ‘brutaal optreden’ ("rude behaviour") by policemen, I always imagine the said policemen using very naughty words and risking grounding for the weekend.

OTOH if people (who?) use it often enough, it will eventually become standard (and that reminds me: ‘eventueel’ in Dutch doesn’t mean ‘in the end’ but ‘possibly’).
The Dutch verb ‘controleren’ has gone that way already. Its meaning got extended in the past decades from ‘to check, verify’ to include the English meaning of ‘to have command over’.

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