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Cool German words - Kleinkariert

When Germans start being accurate, there’s no end to it!

- War and Peace (Tolstoy)



Tolstoy knows what's up. And yes, I'm actually reading War and Peace and am now using an excuse to talk about it. As this quote is from the battle of Austerlitz, he is actually talking about Austrian generals here. It is quite interesting, German is used in the book the way we use "Slavic" today, signifying a group of people with linguistic and cultural similarities. Obviously, in 1805 Germany did not exist yet and while Bavaria had been overrun by Napoleon both Prussia and Saxony had not joined the coalition yet. And I will stop now, before I start talking about similarities between the ideological developments of the characters in War and Peace (and their implied connection to the Decembrist revolt) and the March Revolution in 1948.

None of this has anything to do with the word kleinkariert (adj.). It translates literally as small checkered, but means being knit picky, detailed oriented and petty. It is not as adversarial as Korinthenkacker, but by no means a compliment.
This concludes my series on all the variations of Spießer. The only thing left to do is post a link to a scene of my favourite Asterix movie, a perfect play on the joys of bureaucracy.


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