Word of the Day

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hühnchenfutter = peanuts?

In the book White House Interpreter:

The meeting proceeded in English for twenty minutes or so. Never needed, I was half asleep when Schmidt suddenly turned to me and wanted the translation of a German word. The word was unexpected, and in my stupor I could not understand it. I asked the chancellor to repeat it. He bellowed out loud, "Hühnchenfutter." This time I understood and replied, "chicken feed." Brzezinski pointed a finger at me and said, " Not with this president, Mr. Obst. The correct term is peanuts." Everybody had a good laugh, because we all knew that Carter had been a peanut farmer in the past.

I couldn't find Hühnchenfutter meaning peanuts any dictionary or on the internet. The most widespread German word for it is Erdnuss, literally "earth nut." I wonder if it was an occasionalism or a slang word from the 70s/80s, when Jimmy Carter wasand in office, or if Brzezinski, a Pole who had been living in the US for so many years, was simply wrong.

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