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See also: qualm


Alternative forms[edit]


The word was borrowed from Low German.[1] In the 16th century[1][2] it was taken to High German[2]. The most plausible explanation is the assumption of the word being connected to the verb quellen[1], so that the Middle Low German noun quallemsteam, (water) vapor; smoke” with its m-suffix in the sense of “(the) welling up, (the) swelling up, (the) springing up” probably could be a cognate of the Middle Low German verb quellenwell up, swell up; become thin and loose; surge up (of rage and pain)”[2]. But one has to take into consideration here that in the Indo-Germanic languages words of such meanings have been formed from the (undocumented but reconstructed) root *dʰeuə- “(to) spray; (to) swirl, (to) whirl” that indicates an Indo-Germanic extension in the form of *dʰwel-.[1] The latter is existent in the Old High German noun twalmbenumbment; bemusement”, documented since the 8th century, and its Middle High German equivalent twalmbenumbing haze, benumbment” (comparable with Old Saxon dwalm and Old English dwolma) that eventually could have become qualm.[1] However, the documented meanings are not in accord with this assumption.[1]


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Qualm m ‎(genitive Qualms or Qualmes, no plural)

  1. dense, thick smoke or fumes that swell up especially from a fire (and is perceived as unpleasant)
    beißender, dichter, dicker, weißer, schwarzer Qualm; einen starken Qualm ausstoßen
    acrid, dense, thick, white, black smoke/fumes; to disgorge / emit / give off strong fumes
    • 1964, Dieter Noll, Die Abenteuer des Werner Holt: Roman einer Heimkehr (Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 1964), p. 307 (GoogleBooks; retrieved 19 July 2015)
      Fern erhob sich die Silhouette der Brikettfabrik mit ihren Schloten, und die Schornsteine spien Qualm aus, schwarzen, undurchdringlichen Rauch, der sich wie ein Vorhang vor den Horizont legte. In dieser Wand aus Wolken und Qualm und Morgendunst stand blutrot die Sonnenscheibe.
      Far off rose up the silhouette of the briquette factory with its smokestacks, and those chimneys disgorged thick fumes, black, dense smoke, that drew before the horizon like a curtain. In this wall of clouds and thick fumes and morning haze stood blood-redly the Sun′s disc.



See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Friedrich Kluge, revised by Elmar Seebold: Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache. 24th, checked through and expanded edition. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2001, ISBN 978-3-11-017473-1, p. 734.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Qualm” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  3. ^ Max Mangold and Dudenredaktion: Duden Aussprachewörterbuch. In: Der Duden in zwölf Bänden. 6th edition. Volume 6, Dudenverlag, Mannheim/Leipzig/Wien/Zürich 2005, ISBN 978-3-411-04066-7, p. 659.
  4. ^ Eva-Maria Krech, Eberhard Stock, Ursula Hirschfeld, Lutz Christian Anders et al.: Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch: Mit Beiträgen von Walter Haas, Ingrid Hove, Peter Wiesinger. 1st edition. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-018202-6, p. 853.

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