Post by Hen Hanna
Etymology of [ Stickler ] -- i had 2 guesses and they were both wrong.
In Southgerman Dialects ("Oberdeutsch"); from Middle High German
(Mittelhochdeutsch) stichel "Hang, steiler Pfad". e. g. "Heinrich an der
Stichel", 1357, Tirol.
(This one is the main reasonable interpretation for Stickler in general.)
(ii) Stickel and Stickle:
they mean Stichel (cf. Stich & stechen, stach, gestochen); s'thing
"pointed; thorn/y"; i. e. "Stachel, spitziges Ding". Mentioned in
documents: e. g. Besti Stickly, 1530, Ulm (Suebia).
(Caution: it might be mixed up: Stickl/e => Stückl/e, which
are Oberdeutsch (Bavarian and Suebian) variants of Stückhen, kleines
Stück; hence Stickle might generate a Stickler with the meaning
"Stückler", even if this would be highly unusual.)
(iii) Sti(e)gler, Sti(e)glmay(e)r, Sti(e)glbauer:
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someone who's house/abode is @ "am Stiegle (kl. Treppe, Stufen, am
Flurzaun)." (stairs or so)
Cf. Middle High German stigele as well as contemporary German: die
Stiege. Stieg(e)le is the Suebian diminutival form of Stiege ("stairs",
in general), and is understood as such in every today's regional German
dialect. So are de derivated Stiegler, Stiegelmeier, Stiegelbauer (the
one who builds/creates such stairs).
Stiegler might be misspelled as Sti(c)kler, esp. outside Germany,
Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg or transliterated as such in Yiddish.
(iv) has nothing to do with the (nick)name Sti(g)glitz (goldfinch!).
But never say never. :-) This one means "Vogelhändler" (bird-dealer,
So, the main ideas are:
Stiege (anything stairs-like or chute-like) vs Stich/el, Stachel vs
Stück(l) vs Stieglitz (goldfinch).
source: Bahlow's "Deutsches Namenlexikon" (Suhrkamp publ. house)