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What's a schnickelfritz?

Right, just to clarify what a few others have already said, Schnickelfritz is indeed a real word. It did in fact originate in Germany and translates as a term of endearment like "brat" or "rascal", but the reason some German native speakers may not be familiar with the term is because it is a regional Schwäbisch word. Schwäbisch is a dialect of German that is only spoken in certain regions of Southern Germany. The thing about Schwäbisch is that every village seems to have their own way of speaking it... so there's a whole range of accents and words that can be used in this dialect. My mother and most of my family on her side came from a small village in Southern Germany where a delightfully thick version of Schwäbisch is spoken, and the term is still used there. I went to visit my uncle Siegfried last year and I was delighted when he used this term with me one night at dinner. :D

But even so, Schickelfritz is much more popular in the United States than it ever was in Germany. When Southern Germans immigrated to American from Germany in the 50's they must have brought the word with them and it just stuck. I suppose Americans just heard it and found it more fun to say than kiddo or rascal..... which it is. So there you go, that's the whole story for you! :D
That's so interesting. I grew up in Germany yet I don't remember ever hearing this word. I'm adopting it immediately though. I love the way it sounds.
Schnickelfritz is from Pennsylvania Dutch. So is katzenjammer which is a wonderful word.
Dutch is an Americanisation of Deutch, nothing to do with the Dutchlands.

Neither of the words are as wonderful as wealhstod though.
About schnickelfritz

I remember my Austrian great-grandmother had a very old printed tea towel hanging on the wall in her kitchen when I was a young girl. On it were many old German words with drawings of the corresponding objects and people. I remember learing some of the German words. There were many old-time objects like wagons and scythes and coffee mills and thimbles and such. There were also drawings of many people including a blacksmith and a potter and a minster and a pregnant woman. One of the drawings was a picture of a small boy running with a lantern labeled "Schnickelfritz". I was told that a Schnickelfritz was a small boy or small group of boys that ran ahead of carriages at night to light the way. She said her older brother had earned a few coins this way when he was small. She would also used the word as a nickname for my brothers when they were being rowdy. Of course she would never called me a Schnickelfritz because I was always a good girl (at least when my mother was watching). Hope this helps.
Have you ever heard of the Word "Schnickelfritz"? I just heard it in "Gilmore Girls" and it is without any doubt by german ancestry, but I don't know what this word means even though I'm German. In Germany we don't use this word (anymore?). I used google to find out more about this word and some people assumed it may be a misshearing of the word "schnuckelputz" which sounds very similar in German. "Schnuckiputz" is a term of endearment, mostley used for little kids and means sweetie.

Do you use the Word "Schnickelfritz"? What do you want to say if you use this word? I'm really interessed about the etymology of this word and hope somebody can help me. :)

Our family came from north Germany and Charlottenburg which is a suburb of
Berlin.To us 'Schnickelfritz' was a diminutive and an endearment applied to small
boys by doting grandmothers. My college roomate liked the word so much he
christened his dachshund with it.
In the movie Stalag 17, Schnicklefritz was a mouse in a mouse race run by prisoner of war William Holden and bet on by Robert Strauss.Hope this is a help.
What an amazing topic and fantastic replies! To add some fun facts: There seems to be a plant named to it:
Hemerocallis schnickel fritz (the latin name) which flower only blooms one day. But the plant would produce a new flower every day during certain periods.
It also reminded me of a dutch word, which could be a coincidence of course, but in Dutch the word snikkel means dick or penis. You almost pronounce it the same and it seems to originate from Bargoens (which is a old language variety of dutch which borrowed a lot of words from Yiddish)
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