der Luftikus

Today’s word sends us back to the days when the great German universities were the pride of the civilized world. (Even Prince Hamlet went to a German university, you know.) The word is der Luftikus. No, it isn’t some specialized piece of apparatus or a technical term for a hideous disease. It comes from die Luft, meaning “air,” plus a fabricated Latin ending, and it was a word German students made up to describe one another. Der Luftikus is a ditz or an airhead.

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