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[ raht-skel-er, rat-, rath- ] [ ˈrɑtˌskɛl ər, ˈræt-, ˈræθ- ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a restaurant patterned on the cellar of a German town hall, usually located below street level.

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More about rathskeller

Rathskeller “a restaurant patterned on the cellar of a German town hall,” which is spelled Ratskeller in modern German, is not related to rats. Instead, Rathskeller is based on Rathaus “town hall” (with the -aus cropped off) and Keller “cellar.” In Rathaus, the Rat- element means “advice, counsel” or “council” and is related to the names Conrad (literally meaning “brave advice”) and Ralph (earlier Radulf, literally “wolf advice”). The -haus part of Rathaus is a cognate of English house and is used much like how English features house in terms such as bathhouse, clubhouse, and coffeehouse simply to mean “building.” German Keller and English cellar both come from Latin cellārium “storeroom,” which is related to English cell (from Latin cella “room”). Rathskeller was first recorded in English in the early 1860s.

how is rathskeller used?

The building dates to the 1860s, and tin sheathing on the wall pre-dates the 1920s, Stewart said. They found horsehair in parts of the masonry. Wood-fired stove chutes are still notched in the wall. The place is a little less than 3,500 square feet plus a basement that will be refurbished and shows promise as a potential rathskeller, they said.

Marc Bona, “Bookhouse Brewing to add to West 25th Street brewing district,”, February 15, 2018

He descended the stairs to the ground floor of the hotel and wandered aimlessly about through the lobby into the billiard room, and finally to a plate glass door upon which was lettered the word “Rathskeller.” What a Rathskeller might be he did not know, but, as there was another set of letters on the door and those spelled “Push,” he pushed. The Rathskeller was a large room, with a bar at one end and many little tables scattered about.

Joseph C. Lincoln, Cap'n Dan's Daughter, 1914
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[ struh-veyg ] [ strəˈveɪg ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used without object)

to wander aimlessly.

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More about stravage

Stravage (also stravaig) “to wander aimlessly” may seem a little odd in its spelling and pronunciation, but the word has a far more familiar (and expensive) relative: extravagant “spending much more than is wise.” The reasoning here is that stravage is formed by shortening the Medieval Latin verb extrāvagarī “to wander out of bounds”—which also came into English as extravagate, of the same meaning—and English extravagant uses a more figurative sense of its Latin source, with the wandering beyond bounds based in finances rather than physically moving around. Latin extrāvagarī is based on extrā “outside” and vagarī “to wander,” which is the root of or related to vague, vagrant, and vagus (the name of a nerve). Stravage was first recorded in English in the first decade of the 19th century.

how is stravage used?

A buzzard over Ballyowen when I set out from Dualla to Derrynaflan during lockdown and stravaging the roads like an emissary monk intent from Cashel. Beyond Ballinure a sense of the west widening, apparition of stone walls and good land lowering to bad, a bog basin stretched to eternity.

Joseph Woods, “Derrynaflan,” Irish Times, August 29, 2020

The fact was that one grey Sunday afternoon in the March of that year, I went for a long walk with a friend. I was living in Gray’s Inn in those days, and we stravaged up Gray’s Inn Road …. I don’t think that there was any definite scheme laid down; but we resisted manifold temptations.

Arthur Machen, The House of Souls, 1922
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[ kat-er-wawl ] [ ˈkæt ərˌwɔl ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used without object)

to utter a long, wailing cry; howl or screech.

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More about caterwaul

The history of caterwaul “to utter a long, wailing cry” takes us down a bit of a linguistic rabbit hole. The term is a compound of two Middle English words: cater “tomcat” and either wawen “to howl” or waul, a variant of wail “to utter a mournful cry.” Cater is related to modern English cat, but while cat comes from Old English, cater may be a borrowing from Middle Dutch or Low German. While cat and its Germanic cousins (such as German Kater and Katze) are often considered to be early adaptations of Latin cattus “cat” (compare French chat and Spanish gato), an alternative opinion is that all these feline words are examples of a Wanderwort. As we learned from the recent Word of the Day matcha, a Wanderwort is a word that has spread across a long chain of unrelated languages, and this explains why the words for “cat” in languages such as Arabic (qiṭṭ) look familiar even though Arabic and English are not related. Caterwaul was first recorded in English in the late 14th century.

how is caterwaul used?

[I]t’s a safe guess that not many of us see these owls because they’re night hunters and take care to remain hidden during the day. This is prime time for hearing male and female owls hooting to each other, however, something they do in winter (and autumn) as they build toward nesting season.Great horned owls’ deep, resonant hoots are what come to mind when we think of owl calls, but they make various other sounds, too—whinnying, screeching, squawking and caterwauling to attract a mate and define a territory.

Val Cunningham, “Great horned owls inspire great awe,” Star Tribune, March 3, 2020

“Call off that dog,” I said warningly to Alexander Abraham …. “Since you’ve brought that cat here you can protect him.” “Oh, it wasn’t for William Adolphus’ sake I spoke,” I said pleasantly. “William Adolphus can protect himself.” William Adolphus could and did. He humped his back, flattened his ears, swore once, and then made a flying leap for Mr. Riley. William Adolphus landed squarely on Mr. Riley’s brindled back and promptly took fast hold, spitting and clawing and caterwauling. You never saw a more astonished dog than Mr. Riley.

Lucy Maud Montgomery, The Chronicles of Avonlea, 1912
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