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Word of the Day
Friday, December 23, 2016

Definitions for Tannenbaum

  1. a Christmas tree.

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Citations for Tannenbaum
... I found myself ... in that glittering, mythic lobby, where a tannenbaum stood, starred tip nearly touching the distant eminence of the dark paneled ceiling, candles burning low and dangerously among the needles, branches festooned with gold garlands and glittering ornaments shaped like planets, seashells, saints, stars. Lori Baker, The Glass Ocean, 2013
... when a song is original and fresh and sums up the spirit of the season without stumbling through tired Yuletide cliches, then I'm hooked like an ornament hanging off ye olde tannenbaum. Stephen Cooke, "Track of the Day: 'Christmas Was Better in the '80s'" The Atlantic, December 16, 2010
Origin of Tannenbaum
In German Tannenbaum merely means “fir tree” and by itself has no association with Christmas. The connection of Tannenbaum with Christmas lies in the song O Tannenbaum, written in 1824, by the Leipzig organist and composer Ernst Anschütz, and based on a Silesian folksong dating from the 1500s. The original lyrics do not refer to Christmas or describe a decorated Christmas tree but refer to the tree's evergreen qualities as symbols of constancy and faithfulness. Anschütz added two verses of his own to the one original verse, and as the custom of the Christmas tree developed in 1800s, O Tannenbaum came to be regarded as a Christmas song. The word entered English in the late 1800s.