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In the German example you used, another English rendering might be "buzzword," which also contains the idea of a stinger.

Alwin Ertl

Andrew, would you agree with me that the best translation for "Stichwort" in its nowadays, common language use would be "cue"? Although "catchword" might also be nice, "cue" has the auditory attachment to "key", which in turn resembles the German term "Schlüsselwort", which can be used as a synonym to "Stichwort", also in its English resemblance as a "keyword".


A Stichwort is, in a dictionary, a "lemma". Stichwort is not limited to the words on the top of the page, it is the bold word that starts every entry in a lexicon or dictionary.

The best translation may depend on the context (cue? catchword?? headword???)

A Schlagwort is used in catalogues to find books related to a topic (key word?, item??)

A book title "Die Abschaffung der Todesstrafe" has "Todesstrafe" as a Stichwort.
A book title "Die Geschichte der Guillotine" can have the Schlagwort "Todesstrafe" in the book catalogue.






I'd say "catchword" is rather "Schlagwort" than "Stichwort". :)


But for this usage there is "cue" in English. In bibliographic/librarian contexts there is also "Schlagwort" which would be "key word", I guess. So when Prof. Hammel's book is being "verschlagwortet" by there will be put "Todesstrafe", "internationales Recht" etc. into the Schlagwort slot by some sub-sub-librarian.
And an Index at the end of a textbook or so could also be called "Stichwortverzeichnis". Maybe a lemma in an encyclopedia will also be Stichwort, I am not sure.


Perhaps another more succinct translation for your example would be
"... think human rights."

What made the term Stichwort so popular probably wasn't dictionaries.
The most important use was the prompt in theater, by which actors know when to start their part.

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