German Advent Calendar 17 – Jeff’s Space Company

Yourdailyslurrrrman Advnt Calllenda

Jeff’s Space Company

♥♥^♥♥^♥♥ + (♥-♥)!

Hello everyone,

day 17 of our epic calendar and today, as promised a few days ago, we’ll talk a bit about the origin of

blau

 

I think most of you know that blau means blue. And the reason for this word is simply that when people were naming the colors they were like “This one looks like the sky.”
And the sky was blue, so that’s how they picked the word.
Like… I didn’t do research about this, but I have a gut feeling, and that’s all the science I need.

Anyway, the reason we’re talking about this is NOT the color but the fact that blau is also a REALLY common word for drunk.

  • “Oh mann, ich bin total blau.”
    “Es ist Montag mittag und wir haben Meeting!”
  • “Oh man, I’m completely drunk.”
    “It is Monday noon, and we’re having a weekly meeting!”

And you will not believe the likely origin of that (and I actually did research for this).
Here it comes:

Back some 500 years ago, the main (actually only) way in Europe to dye a fabric to the color blue was a certain plant – (dyer’s) woad.

Now, I ain’t no expert in colors, but these look pretty yellow. The plant is playing us for suckers, though, because the leaves actually contain a chemical, that if fermented and mixed with other chemicals yields the colorant indigo.
Now, the other chemical that was needed conveniently happened to be part of something we all have… urine. Yes, urine. And it would work even better when you added a bit of a certain other chemical called ethanol, also known as alcohol. Which was pretty expensive in pure form back then.
And now guess what them dyers did.
They were like “modern problems need modern solutions.” and they drank a lot of beer and then peed repeatedly on the squashed leaves and the fabric.
That way, they had a lot of urine, they had the chemicals premixed in their body, and they had a jolly good time.
And then, when the fabric had turned blue, they’d hang it up and hang out with a hangover while it would dry.
Which is probably the origin of the expression blau machen, which means to skip work (when you should be working).

  • Heute mache ich blau.
  • I’m not going to work today.

Pretty crazy story, right?
Now, I have to say that this is NOT 100% certain. Not the technical side… you can get blue colorant that way. But it’s not entirely certain if this is REALLY the origin of blau sein and blau machen.

But hey, haters gonna hate and it’s definitely the most fun version and it is “legit” enough to have been featured on the main German television channel in a science show for kids… some of you might know it, “die Sendung mit der Maus”.
Which is AWESOME by the way. Seriously… if you’re B1 or above, check out their videos. There’s so much love in them.
I’ll leave the links below, so you can check it out. The second one is hilarious!

So, now you know the likely origin of why blau means drunk.
And that’s it for today.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Sendung mit der Maus about “blau machen” – Teil 1 (link to video in German)

Sendung mit der Maus about “blau machen” – Teil 2 (link to German video)

 

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