Fizzing Ducts

One of the Danish words I learnt recently is bruser, which means shower. It’s very different to words for shower in other Germanic languages I know, such as dusch in Swedish, and Dusche in German, so I thought I’d investigate it.

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As well as meaning shower, bruser also means sprayer or rose (of a watering can). Another word for shower is brusebad (“shower-bath”). The verb bruse means to fizz, cascade, effervesce, rush, roar or murmur.

In Swedish there is a similar word: brusa, which means to make noise (like waves, wind, streaming water). While in Norwegian brusa means to fizz (emit bubbles, foam, make a fizzing or rushing sound), or to puff up ones feathers.

These words were borrowed from the Middle Low German brûsen (to roar, skim), which is thought to be of onomatopoeic origin.

The Swedish word dusch, the German Dusche, and the Norwegian dusj, come from the French douche (shower), from the Italian doccia (shower, drainpipe, plaster cast), from the Latin ductus (lead, guided), from dūcō (I lead, guide). This is also the root of the English words duct and duke.

Sources: ordbogen.com, Wiktionary, Svensk etymologisk ordbok

5 thoughts on “Fizzing Ducts

  1. In Norwegian we also have the related word «brus» which means soda/pop. Also in bokmål the infinitive would be spelled «bruse» instead of the nynorsk form «brusa» (though one can write either bruse or brusa in nynorsk)

    I didn’t know Danish had a different word for shower at all though. Merkelig!

  2. German has the word Brause, which can stand in for shower or shower head. Brause is also a powder you can add to water to make a fizzy drink.

  3. In Danish we have a noun of the same origin, “brus” (n.). When it’s uncountable, it means fizz as in a drink, e.g. “Det er uden brus”. When it’s countable, it means a rush, a roar (of waves), and such things, thus you have the very poetic “bølgernes brus”.

    Poetically and dramatically, the verb “bruse” can be used in cases of strong and/or chaotic feelings. A great example would be Oskar Hansen’s “Naar jeg ser et rødt Flag smælde” an old and proud socialist song, the latter half of the verse of which I have translated as directly as possible:

    “Og jeg rejser mig trodsigt i Vrimlen,
    mens det kogler af Kraft i mit Mod,
    thi det Flag, der nu smældende naar Himlen,
    er jo rødt som mit brusende Blod.”

    “And I defiantly rise in the crowd,
    while might is conjured in my courage,
    for the flag which now crackling reaches the sky,
    why, it is red like my roaring blood.”

  4. @Liam
    Apart from “fizz” and “shower (head)” the popular Duden online dictionary gives a third meaning of German “Brause” that is however closely related to its “shower head” meaning: “sprinkler (of a watering can)”. See https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Brause
    Duden does not mention the “effervescent powder” meaning you describe. This seems to be a colloquialism for “Brausepulver”, and it is used in the brand name “Ahoj-Brause”. The German Wikipedia has an article on that at https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahoj

    @Carl
    The Danish verb “bruse” reminds me of the German “aufbrausen” (“flare up, get mad”).

  5. As I know German Brause it is just a synonym for Limo/fuzzy sweet drinks that aren’t cola, not necessarily made from powder. Fassbrause, brewed instead of mixed from concentrate used to be a thing.
    And abbrausen for hosing down something. The Brause is the diffusor head that splits the stream of water into droplets, be it on a shower, garden hose or watering can.

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