In der Sprache der "Gäste"


The common word "guest" (Middle High German, Old High German "gast", Gothic "gasts", Old English "giest", Swedish "gäst") is due – with similar words in Latin and in Slavic languages – to the Indo-European "ghosti-s", what means stranger, compare the Lat. "hostis" (enemy, opponent) and also "hospes" (host, guest – also hospital, hospice, hotel) and the Slavic family/tribe from the Russian "gost’" (guest), and to that "gospodin" (sir, the common salutation in Russian).

def.jpg (13106 Byte)

The attitude to the stranger, the friendly receiving as well as the hostile refusing, is reflected in the meanings of these word-families. Also in the use of Germanic languages in elder language-forms the word "Gast" was not only used with the meaning of "stranger" but also with the meaning of "enemy, hostile soldier". Only since the late Middle Ages, when the middle classes started conscious to practice hospitality, the German word became its honoring meaning.

Deductions: "gastieren" (give a guest performance, an artist performing on an unfamiliar stage); in the 17th century with the meaning "regale with", hospitable (Middle High German "gastlich").


[deutsch] [core] [reset]