4 ‘Untranslatable’ German Summer Words! Posted by Constanze on Sep 4, 2019 in Language
Guten Tag! As the summer draws to a close I thought it would be fun to see what words and phrases are used in German to describe summer weather, as there are several that are ‘untranslatable’ – ie. unique to the German language! Of course, these words can really be used at any time of year! So let’s get started.
Urlaubsreif literally means ‘holiday ripe’ (der Urlaub + reif) and describes that feeling when you’ve worked hard for a long period of time and are really, really in need of a holiday! You would use this word simply by saying “Ich bin urlaubsreif” – “I am holiday-ripe”.
In English when it’s a really hot day you’d say things like ‘sweltering heat’ and ‘boiling weather’. In German, this kind of extreme, hot weather is known as die Affenhitze: ‘the monkey heat’ (der Affe + die Hitze). What the heat has to do with monkeys is uncertain; it is presumed because monkeys generally live in hot climates (if anyone knows otherwise, feel free to leave the answer in a comment!). So the next time it’s unbearably hot outside, you are not just experiencing die Hitze (heat) – you are experiencing die Affenhitze!
Literally ‘emperor weather’ (der Kaiser + das Wetter), this word refers to extremely clear, beautiful weather: blue, cloudless skies, and bright sunshine. This word originated with Austrian Kaiser (Emperor) Franz Josef I at the turn of the 20th century. His birthday was 18th August, and it was apparently always sonnig (sunny) on that day. It also references another Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who it was said only attended open-air events when the weather was good.
You know that feeling when you’re lying in bed, it’s gotten too hot, and so you turn the pillow over to feel the cool side on your face? In German, there is a word for that feeling! Kissenkühlelabsal means ‘pillow cool refreshment’ and refers to the refreshing feeling of placing your face on the cool side of the pillow on a hot night. Broken down, the word is: das Kissen (the pillow), die Kühle (coolness), das/die Labsal (refreshment). This is a feeling we can all appreciate, I’m sure!
Bis bald (see you soon)!
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