This is in preparation for the post I have drafted for Thursday.
The words Crony and its derivatives.
I presume they are in use in American English just as much as in our own cispontine dialects.
Do other European languages have the same concept; and, if so, how do they express it?
20 February 2019
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In German we call the phenomenon "Vetternwirtschaft" (cousin's business), specifically in Cologne also "Klüngel" (cognate to "to cling": a ball of intertwined threads). It is similar to, gut different from nepotism as far as in the latter, a person of higher status favours bis relatives and friends, whereas in the former, old friends of equal status help each other out. At least the rather dialectal "Klüngel" is not necessarily negative, gut "Vetternwirtschaft" definitely has an odour...
Crony in Italian: amichetto, compagno di merende, compare, sodale
In Italian it's amicone, in the sense of special friend. The term cronysim is translated as nepotismo, the meaning of which is fairly clear.
The final derivative,in English, then of crony Father ..."it is difficult of a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it"...Upton Sinclair.
Have a pleasant day.
For questions like this I will usually consult Wiktionary.
There isn't much as translations go and some are just for "close friend".
A very interesting question. The OED gives crony as a mid-17th word, but the citations they provide only go up to 1865, which makes me suspect that the entry hasn't been updated since the first edition of the C volume in the 1890s. The definition is "An intimate friend or associate; a ‘chum’", and all the citations are straightforward: there's no implied negative connotation. These days, it always seems to imply that the friendship involves something illegitimate or at least suspect. The abstract noun, I suppose, doesn't necessarily involve wrongdoing, but definitely implies unfairly giving friends jobs or promotions they're not qualified for - like nepotism, but with friends rather than relations.
Next I checked the British National Corpus for occurrences of the word within the ten years of the corpus's remit (1985-94). Out of 22 citations, one was a surname; there were 7 neutral, non-pejorative uses and 14 which were certainly negative, including three references to 'crony capitalism'. So somewhere during the 90 years following the OED entry, the word underwent pejoration; those seven neutral excamples mostly referred to elderly friends of elderly people, which implies that the non-pejorative connotation was already felt to be dying.
Then I ran crony through Google Translate: while that's in no way infallible, it's suggestive that wherever a translation is provided (there's no translation given for the less popular languages), the words simply mean 'friend' or 'close friend': caro amico in Italian, boezemvriend in Dutch, kameraad in Afrikaans, Freund in German. Sometimes we get a translation which reflects the slight informality of ModE crony: copain in French and amigote in Spanish. However, I can't see anything here which reflects the modern pejorative use of the English word.
As for your final query: I'm not fluent enough in any language other than English to be able to comment on the way they'd express the concept. Your many other readers can probably help.
And than you for providing a fascinating hour of complete displacement activity...
Is it not a Cambridge term meaning someone one has known for a long time? As opposed to the Oxford use of 'chum' to indicate a person one knows well (originally from having shared living quarters as chamber mates).
The usually reliable linguee.com gives various possibilities and examples of usage for ‘cronyism’ - copinage (derived from the non-pejorative copain), népotisme and favoritisme. It struggles somewhat with ‘crony’ (apart from ‘“le crony capitalism’,
In Spanish we say "amigote"...
Wiktionary is indeed illuminating:
"Coined between 1655 and 1665 from Ancient Greek χρόνιος (khrónios, “perennial, long-lasting”) [cf.] English chrono- (“time”), initially as Cambridge University slang, in sense of “chum”, as “friend of long standing”, with illegal connotation later. Early spellings included chrony, as in 1665 diary by Samuel Pepys, supporting the Greek origin.
"1. (informal, originally Cambridge University slang) Close friend.
"2. (informal) Trusted companion or partner in a criminal organization."
Would it also have had an implied sense of "synchrony", given that one's close friends are usually of the same age as oneself?
I suppose from the ideal of close friendship there is a decline to the pejorative sense of close associates for whom one does (increasingly corrupt and finally illegal) favours, and expects them to do likewise.
I also note that crony was sometimes used to mean a crone, a witchlike old woman... could the ecclesiastical use of the term imply what are sometimes called "old women of both sexes"?
"Cispontine" I get it, but have never seen that word before. Took me back to high school Latin and Cisalpine Gaul. Wonderful!
In Swedish it is either "svågerpolitik", brother-in-law politics, or "vänskapskorruption", friendship corruption.
In Portuguese the term generally employed is "compadre", and cronyism would be "compadrismo".
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