Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Brüderschaft Trinken

W.H. Riehl, Der Flucht der Schönheit. Edited for School Use by Mary A. Frost (New York: American Book Company, 1897), p. 25, n. 11:
In the ceremony known as Brüderschaft trinken the two participants interlock their right arms, drain their glasses, kiss each other and ever afterward as "brothers" address each other as du (dutzen). This ceremony is sometimes described by the verb schmollieren, from the Latin sis mihi mollis amicus (be my good friend).
Some authorities consider the derivation of schmollieren from Latin to be a folk etymology. It is, for example, rejected by the Brothers Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, s.v. schmollis:
die herkunft ist zweifelhaft; die entstehung aus sis mihi mollis ist wol mit recht abzuweisen; vermutet ist ein zusammenhang mit dem niederländ. smullen, schlemmen, prassen, schmul, gasterei.
There is a detailed Wikipedia article on Brüderschaft trinken (in German). The expression literally means "to drink brotherhood." Needless to say, the drink is usually beer. Brüderschaft trinken strikes me as a civilized way to mark the formal beginning of a friendship. Like most old-fashioned customs, it seems to be dying out.

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