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My Little Snicklefritz

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Allie in Decatur, Alabama, says her mother referred to an impish child as a schnickelfritz. This term for a “young rascal” is often used affectionately, and spelled any of several ways, including snicklefritz, snickelfritz, and schnickelfritz. It’s of German origin, most likely a combination of the common masculine name Fritz with another element, possibly the German dialectal word Schnickel or Schniggel, meaning “a little boy’s penis.” Schnickelfritz shows up in late 19th-century U.S. newspapers as a joking stand-in for a person of German heritage, much like the English term Joe Six-Pack or Spanish name Fulano is used as a placeholder. This is part of a complete episode.

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