Can anybody help me describe this word?

The American ambassador in Berlin described him as "a very jolly, large sort of German".

(the author is talking about Arthur Zimmermann)

Source: History of the World by Adrew Marr - Epdisode 7

  • I think author is trying to say that German man is quite big, may be a giant, probably very tall and bulky. – Kuldeep Daftary Dec 29 '15 at 2:05
  • It means he was quite a different sort of German than the small, morose ones. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 29 '15 at 2:11
  • He was a big guy. – Hot Licks Dec 29 '15 at 2:11

Arthur Zimmerman was the German foreign secretary during World War I. "Jolly", meaning good-humored and cheerful, is meant to be an ironic contrast with his machinations in world affairs. "Stout" means large and portly. And that's the sort (kind) of German he was. Here he is, on the right:
enter image description here

(He is lampooned on the left, wearing a helmet, talking to a Mexican, wearing a sombrero, because of his scheme to get Mexico to attack the US, which thus distracted, he hoped wouldn't join with Germany's enemies in the then ongoing war in Europe.)

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  • But wait! So "A very jolly, large sort of German" means "A guy of machinations" or just simply "A funny big guy" with no hidden meaning? Does the The American ambassador in the context described him as 'a guy of machinations'? does they indicate his dark side? Or they just simply want to express that he is 'a funny big guy'? Could you please help me describe all their means in the context ? – Duy Dong Hoang Dec 30 '15 at 5:09
  • @TheNobody The US ambassador thought that Zimmerman was a big, jolly guy. The documentary you watched doesn't give us any further details. A foreign minister deals with ambassadors, so the inference is that the US ambassador knew Zimmerman and had a favorable impression impression of him. But impressions can be misleading and turns out that for all his outward appearance, Zimmerman had a manipulative, dark side. – deadrat Dec 30 '15 at 5:48

In this sentence, "large" and "jolly" describe the type (sort) of person that Herr Zimmerman is.

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