Georg Büchmann

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Georg Büchmann, portrait and signature. After a painting by Helene Büchmann, etching by Hans Meyer
Grave site in the old St.-Matthäus-Kirchhof in Berlin-Schöneberg

August Methuselah Georg Büchmann (born January 4, 1822 in Berlin , † February 24, 1884 in Schöneberg ) was a German philologist .


His parents were the assistant at the mounting depot Friedrich Büchmann (1774-1849) and his wife Charlotte Schwarze , daughter of a sergeant. He attended the Joachimsthal Gymnasium in Berlin . His teachers included August Meineke and Ludwig Wiese . From 1841 to 1844 he studied theology , classical philology and archeology at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin under August Boeckh and Theodor Panofka and received his doctorate in 1845 at the Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen . The subject of his dissertation wasThe characteristic differences between the Germanic and Slavic language tribes .

After passing the state teaching examination in 1848, he was first a teacher at the French grammar school in Berlin, then for 3 years in Brandenburg an der Havel and finally, from 1854, a language teacher at the trade school in Berlin-Friedrichswerder . In 1877 he had to retire due to a serious fall.

For decades Büchmann collected and arranged German idioms and quotations , whereby he benefited from his knowledge of Greek, Latin and Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Danish and Swedish. When he gave a lecture on the subject of popular citations in the Royal Theater in Berlin in 1864 , the publisher Friedrich Weidling (1821–1901) was among his audience . He encouraged Büchmann to expand his manuscript and revise it for printing. In the same year, Büchmann's Winged Words appeared for the first time.

Georg Büchmann was married to the painter Helene Büchmann (1843–1912).

Georg Büchmann lived for many years in Schöneberg , Frobenstrasse 1, Zietenstrasse 20 (his last apartment) and died in the Maison de Santé sanatorium on Belziger Strasse. His grave is in the old St.-Matthäus-Kirchhof in Schöneberger Großgörschenstraße (Dept. K 70/20). The grave inscription reads: ΣΚΙΑΣ ΟΝΑΡ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΙ (Skiās onar anthrōpoi - One shadow's dream are the people ), according to Pindar (Pythian Ode VIII): "Σκιᾶς ὄναρ ἄνθρωπος." - One shadow's dream is the human being. It has been dedicated to the city of Berlin as an honorary grave since 1958 .

Walter Robert-tornow wrote about Georg Büchmann:

" His name will remain unforgettable as long as there are educated and thorough Germans on earth ."


Winged words

Büchmann's winged words

Büchmann's greatest work was the collection and publication of the German treasure trove of quotations as Winged Words . Quote :

A winged word is a phrase, expression or name that is constantly cited in wider circles, regardless of the language, its historical author or its literary origin can be proven.

The book was so well received that it had to be reprinted annually at the beginning. The success of the » Büchmann « also meant that Georg Büchmann has found numerous imitators up to the present day. These include titles such as “ Winged Melodies ” (1968), “ Unfledged Words ” (1971) and “ Reined Words ” (1976).

He put the following motto in front of this book :

Who could ask for more from me?
I am a world for everyone!
A garden of remembrance for old age,
a field of discovery for youth.

Since Büchmann published his treasure trove of quotations, his name itself has become a winged word and has been used on all people who like to quote. His name appears in book titles such as " Der Rote Büchmann " or " Der feldgraue Büchmann ".

Reich Chancellor Prince Bernhard von Bülow was known for the frequent use of quotations . This earned him the reputation of a "walking bookman".

Büchmann had collected and explained a total of around 1,900 entries. After his death, the work was continued by his long-time colleague Walter Robert-tornow, who added 730 new quotations.

There are now two different updated editions of the Büchmann, one by the Bassermann publishing house ( Bertelsmann publishing group ), the other by the Ullstein publishing house ( Bonnier publishing group ); in addition, both publishers also publish a classic edition.


  • About the characteristic differences between the Germanic and Slavic language tribes. Dissertation Erlangen 1845.
  • Fairy tale fountain. Fairy tales for young and old by Georg Büchmann and Ludwig Pomtow. Krugerm Berlin 1851.
  • Contributions to English lexicography . In: Ludwig Herrig : Archive for the study of modern languages ​​and literatures . 21st volume. Westermann, Braunschweig 1857, pp. 153–168.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow : In: Annual report on the municipal trade school, with which the highest and high authorities, as well as all patrons and friends of the school system, are most respectfully invited to the public examination of the pupils. Born 1858. Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf
  • About the Berlin address calendar. Lecture held in the concert hall of the Königl. Schauspielhaus on January 22, 1862. For the benefit of the scholarship for students of modern languages . Haude and Spener'sche Buchhandlung, Berlin 1862. Digitized
  • Winged words. The treasure trove of quotations of the German people. Haude and Spener'sche Buchhandlung, Berlin 1864. MDZ Reader ; 17th edition ( winged words and treasure trove of quotations ) based on Walter Robert-Tornow (14th – 16th edition, 1889) "reworked" by Paul Dorpert with the assistance of G. Ermatinger, Zurich (around 1946).
  • About the origin of the Bramarbas . In: Annual report on the Friedrichs-Werdersche-Gewerbeschule in Berlin . Berlin 1868, pp. 34-38. Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf
  • Auguste Rogeard : What does Labienus say? Translated by G. Büchmann. Haude and Spener'sche Buchhandlung, Berlin 1865.
  • Victor Hugo , The Laughing Man. Translated by Georg Büchmann . 4 volumes. Franz Duncker, Berlin 1869. Volume 1 , Volume 2 , Volume 3 , Volume 4
  • The Cricket an the Hearth. For use in schools and for private study with linguistic and factual comments . In: Ludwig Herrig: Archive for the study of modern languages ​​and literatures . 51st volume. Westermann, Braunschweig 1873, p. 228.


Web links

Wikisource: Georg Büchmann  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Georg Büchmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Büchmann  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Gedenkblatt in Georg Büchmann: Winged Words - The Citatenschatz of the German people . 19th edition. Haude & Spener'sche Buchhandlung (F. Weidling), Berlin 1898. Page XV
  2. Julius Posener : Suburban foundations . In: Essays and lectures 1931–1980, 298-310, p. 304.