Caravan, der

Der Caravan, like its derivates das Caravaning and der Caravaner, is an entirely unnecessary synonyn for der Wohnwagen. The stress pattern does not follow the strong-weak-strong pattern of English, but stresses the -ca- only. Not to be confused with die Karawane, pronounced with a terminal vowel, which, like caravan refers to groups of travellers crossing a desert, or sometimes to the pack of riders, support cars, officials and TV teams rolling along in a bicycle race. French has la caravane in all three senses. According to the Petit Robert, the meaning of a closed trailer fitted out with beds entered French in 1930. There is however no evidence that der Caravan is anything but a (mere) Anglicism. It is possible that the English sense of humour led to caravan, an old word of Persian origin being transferred to a gypsy-style home on wheels: the OED dates the first use of caravan in this secondary sense to 1674 and the joke, if there was one, is lost on us today.

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