Alsatian


Alsatian
\ \ [17] Alsatian has been around since at least the late 17th century (although in early use it generally denoted not the Franco-German border province of Alsace but a no-go area in London, near the banks of the Thames, where criminals, vagabonds and prostitutes hung out, which was nicknamed ‘Alsatia’ because of the real Alsace’s reputation as a harbour for the disaffected). It really came into its own, however, during World War I. A breed of dog known as the ‘German sheepdog’ or ‘German shepherd dog’ (German deutscher Schäferhund) had been introduced into Britain, but understandably, between 1914 and 1918 its stock fell considerably. When it was reintroduced after the war it was thought politic to give it a less inflammatory name, so it became officially the ‘Alsatian wolf-dog’ (even though it has nothing to do with Alsace, and there is no element of wolf in its genetic make-up). It continued to be called the German shepherd in the USA, and in the latter part of the 20th century that usage crept back into Britain.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alsatian — ( de. Elsässer, fr. Alsacien) can refer to:* A person from the Alsace region ( de. Elsaß/Elsass) ** List of Alsatians and Lotharingians ** a speaker of the Alsatian language* A term for the German Shepherd Dog which was invented during World War… …   Wikipedia

  • Alsatian — Al*sa tian, a. Pertaining to Alsatia. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alsatian — Al*sa tian, n. An inhabitant of Alsatia or Alsace in Germany, or of Alsatia or White Friars (a resort of debtors and criminals) in London. [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Alsatian — ► NOUN 1) Brit. a German shepherd dog. 2) a person from Alsace, a region of NE France. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ relating to Alsace …   English terms dictionary

  • Alsatian — [al sā′shən] adj. [after Alsatia, older name for Alsace < ML Alisatia] of Alsace or its people, language, or culture n. 1. a person born or living in Alsace 2. the variety of German spoken in Alsace, France 3. Brit. name for GERMAN SHEPHERD …   English World dictionary

  • Alsatian — [17] Alsatian has been around since at least the late 17th century (although in early use it generally denoted not the Franco German border province of Alsace but a no go area in London, near the banks of the Thames, where criminals, vagabonds… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • Alsatian — UK [ælˈseɪʃ(ə)n] / US noun [countable] Word forms Alsatian : singular Alsatian plural Alsatians British a large dog with thick brown and black fur, used for helping the police and for guarding buildings …   English dictionary

  • Alsatian — /al say sheuhn/, adj. 1. of or pertaining to Alsace or its inhabitants. 2. of or pertaining to Alsatia. n. 3. a native or inhabitant of Alsace. 4. a resident or native of Alsatia. 5. Also called Alsatian dog. Chiefly Brit. German shepherd. [1685… …   Universalium

  • Alsatian — [[t]ælse͟ɪʃ(ə)n[/t]] Alsatians N COUNT An Alsatian is a large, usually fierce dog that is often used to guard buildings or by the police to help them find criminals. [BRIT] Syn: German shepherd (in AM, use German shepherd) …   English dictionary

  • Alsatian — Al·sa·tian || æl seɪʃən n. one of Alsatian origin, resident of Alsace (region in France); German shepherd (British) …   English contemporary dictionary


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