A weapon similar to a cross between a rapier and a cavalry saber. The blade is straight and has an edge all the way down one side and on the top 1/3 of the other, generally with a squared-off end, giving the blade a rectangular shape in profile.

Schlager fencing, called mensur, is still occasionally (and illegally) practiced among German collegiate fighting fraternities. For a first-hand account, see J. Christoph Amberger's Secret History of the Sword.

A specific kind of traditional popular German music. Schlager songs are usually sentimental and very simplistic musically. Singers like Rex Gildo and Freddy Breck are well-known names in the genre.

You know, if you did this yourself, I wouldn't have to stand in for you! I hate schlagers. Please /msg me if you can improve on this.

Hitting off in the marketplace

    The German word Schlager (it is a noun, so it’s always capitalized in German) just means a “hit tune", in the sense of “hugely successful pop tune” (from German zu schlagen = to hit).

Tears make money

    The word originated in the 20's and 30's, at a time when gramophone records started to be marketed in quantity and when at last a hit could be objectively judged -- by the amount of money it made. At the time most hit songs tended to be a bit more sentimental-sounding than the hits of today. Still, there is nothing intrinsically sentimental about the Schlager concept, in spite of the fact that most Schlagers were (and are) unvarnished attempts at jerking tears. The present-day meaning thus has a tendency to blend with the meaning of the equally German word “Schmalz” (= originally “molten fat”; in this connection = an overly sentimental -- gooey -- song, film or story).

Trivially lucrative

    The concept “Schlager” used to connote a lucrative entry in the “trivial music” category, in the same manner that the present-day designations “hit song” or “hit tune” refer to musical trivia. What made an inconsequential tune a Schlager was that for some (often inexplicable) reason it happened to be appreciated, bought or sung by huge crowds, turning the acoustic venture into a financial success. So designating a song a “hit” or a “Schlager” does not refer to its musical character or qualities. Rather, the concept is used to convey the financially objective fact that this particular piece of musical crap has turned out to be a Golden Egg.

Trivial shift of linguistic habits

    In the period Between the Wars (the 20’s and the 30’s) the word Schlager was used as a synonym for “hit song” in most countries with some understanding of the German language -- e.g. Scandinavia, Central and Eastern Europe -- but it was hardly used or even understood in English-speaking countries. After World War II the English language has overwhelmed most parts of the world, including the old “Schlager-territories”. Instead of talking about last year’s “Schlager”, people started discussing the latest “hit” -- in continental Europe, in Scandinavia, as well as elsewhere.

Conceptual fossil

    This shift of linguistic habits has had an interesting petrifying effect, preserving the history of popular music preferences like a conceptual fossil. So the meaning of the original concept of Schlager has solidified into something quite different from what it used to mean. Instead of just connoting a commercial hit, without regard to musical type or category, the word Schlager now designates the type of songs that happened to be hits on the continent in the 1920’s and 1930’s, i.e. overly sentimental musical trivia.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.