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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 104

bum is used to designate an unmentionable part of the body and is thus not employed in polite discourse.
  Another example of debased German is offered by the American Kriss Kringle. It is from Christkindlein, or Christkind’l, and properly designates, of course, not the patron saint of Christmas, but the child in the manager. A German friend tells me that the form Kriss Kringle, which is that given in the Standard Dictionary, and the form Krisking’l, which is that most commonly used in the United States, are both quite unknown in Germany. Here, obviously, we have an example of a loan-word in decay. Whole phrases have gone through the same process, for example, nix come erous (from nichts kommt heraus) and ’rous mit ’im (from heraus mit ihm). These phrases, like wie geht’s and ganz gut, are familiar to practically all Americans, no matter how complete their ignorance of correct German. So are such slang phrases, obviously suggested by German, as ach Louie and on the Fritz. So is the use of dumb for stupid, a borrowing from the German dumm. Most of them know, too, the meaning of gesundheit, kümmel, seidel, wanderlust, stein, speck, männerchor, schützenfest, sängerfest, turn-verein, hoch, yodel, zwie-back and zwei (as in zwei bier). I have found snitz (=schnitz) in Town Topics. 39 Prosit is in all American dictionaries. 40 Bower, as used in cards, is an Americanism derived from the German bauer, meaning the jack. The exclamation, ouch! is classed as an Americanism by Thornton, and he gives an example dated 1837. The New English Dictionary refers it to the German autsch, and Thornton says that “it may have come across with the Dunkers or the Mennonites.” Ouch is not heard in English, save in the sense of a clasp or buckle set with precious stones (=OF nouche), and even in that sense it is archaic. Shyster is very probably German also; Thornton has traced it back to the 50’s. 41 Rum-dumb is grounded upon the