Here’s a new and necessary loan word to be included in American English: Rechthaberei. Yup, it’s German, like Weltanschauung and Schadenfreude. It combines the word for “right” and the word for “have”—so, a person who is right (correct) or person who has the right (legally).
Or, if you don’t mind stepping out of the loan word comfort zone a bit, the Swedish enhanced alternative is rättshaverist, which came from the German but by happy coincidence the archaic word for “have” meaning “to be in possession of” was a homonym for “crash,” meaning you can picture a person capsizing on the shores of justice.
Not to be needy, but so far the only Swedish word I’ve seen commonly used in American English is “smörgåsbord.” A second one would be nice. And since we actually one-upped the Germans on this one, it only seems fair to get the nod.
So what does it mean? Rechthaberei is a pejorative term for a person who believes himself to be in the right on a certain issue and is pushing the issue beyond what is reasonable. This is the person who came down on the wrong side of a Home Owners’ Association decision a few years ago and who now writes letters to the editor about it and shows up at every HOA meeting to air his grievances and is just too torqued and just can’t let things go and above all is right, dammit while everybody else is uncomfortable and hopes he’ll go away soon without things spiraling even more out of control.
There’s more than a bit of self-destructiveness to the Rechthaberei.
For a fun exercise that will prove me right1, spend some time reading the Internet or, if you want to go old-school, the newspaper, and see how many articles you find that involve a Rechthaberei.
We need this word. Let’s put it into service.
Posted Wednesday, 06 March, 2013 by Nic Lindh
All Nic wants for WWDC is sync that actually works
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.