Words new to me: брындахлыстничать
OK, this exact word is one you’re likely to come across either zero or one times, but as this 2006 piece by Marina Koroleva on the related брандахлыст (брындахлест, etc.) says, it’s “pure pleasure to say aloud.” And -ничать, used to make verbs meaning ‘habitually do something the speaker perceives as worthless,’ is my favorite derivational suffix. (As I understand it, not every verb in -ничать has this pejorative sense, but a lot do, including new words formed with it.)
Koroleva is one of the hosts of Echo of Moscow’s We Speak Russian, a quiz show on the finer points of the language, which is a lot of fun, if a bit prescriptivist.
Here’s the one time you might see the word:
“But what’s this for, sister? Why do I need your money? Can’t I take out subscriptions for my daughter myself?”
“Well, you can do what you want, but I’m asking you to do this from me. And if you don’t want to, I’ll put it in the mail myself,” she added, reaching for the money on the table.
“No, why are you getting mad? I’ll send it tomorrow.”
“Yes, please do, and tell Liza that I’m the one sending her the journals. Let her read to her heart’s content. It’s better than moaning and bryndakhlystnichat’-ing with hussars.” (Leskov, No Way Out [Некуда, 1864], book 1, chapter 17)
So what does it mean, and where does it come from? Fasmer’s etymology of брандахлыст says the second half of the word comes from хлыстать ‘drink large amounts (of alcohol),’ and the first half may come from the German Branntwein ‘vodka,’ ultimately from the place-name Brandenburg. But the first half also looks like the Czech brynda ‘glop, swill’ and the Belarusian брында ‘idler, good-for-nothing.’
These meanings are all plausibly connected to брандахлыст because it can mean either ‘low-quality alcoholic drink, runny soup, swill’ or ‘idler, good-for-nothing, useless person.’ According to Koroleva, speakers today all know the second sense, of a frivolous person who wastes their own and others’ time, but the drink-and-liquid-food sense is obsolete. Leskov’s phrase, I suppose, means something like ‘frittering away her time with cavalrymen.’
Looking this up, I noticed the rvb.ru edition of Leskov has a built-in concordance with links, which reveals that the “The Rabbit Carriage” (Заячий ремиз, written 1894, published 1917) has a character nicknamed King Bryndokhlyst, who, anticipating the modern cliché, is crazy and wears a tinfoil hat (well, crown).