Eesti Elu
One word
Eestlased Eestis 29 Nov 2013  Eesti Elu
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Menu, not menüü

PHOTO: What does this word mean? Although it was photographed in a kohvik (café) in Tallinn, there was no list of foods or drinks to order on it. For that, you would have to read the printed menüü. This is a detail of a page from the Eesti Kirjastuste Liidu (Estonian Publishers' Associations) monthly newspaper "Raamat" (Book), where six of Eesti's largest book publishers each have a page to introduce their new books. Here, Menu happens to be the name of a publishing house, but why? Photo: Riina Kindlam
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It's all about the fame game. If something has achieved menu, it has gained fame; it's popular. Menu = kordaminek, edu; rahva või publiku soosing. (Success, something favoured by people / the public. ) It may have come from the Finnish word meno meaning movement in a surge or rush. It's also similar to and related to the word melu meaning loud (lärm, kisa, kära, lai jutt). In other words, something that catches your attention.

"Seda filmi saatis suur menu" – That movie was extremely popular. Erilist menu tema esinemistel polnud – His/her performances were not well received. Sel näidendil oli tohutu menu – That play was very successful; in other words in was menukas, an adjective meaning menu omav, having menu.

Something which has achieved menu has reached the status of being menukas. "See oli tema menukaim raamat." – That was his/her most successful book. "Temast sai menukas laulja." – S/he became a successful singer.

And from this word for fame achieved, comes menuk meaning bestseller. A popular record, movie or book can be called a menuk. A menu/väljend or popular expression is a catchphrase.

Here's to your edu (success)! That all of your endeavours achieve menu, can be called menukad (plural) and reach the Top 10 list of menukid. That also usually means they have a good maine – reputation. Always remember to pronounce the E. And when hungry, ask for a menüü, the menukam and mainekam, the better.

Riina Kindlam, Tallinn
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