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Tag Archives: untranslatable german

Untranslatable Words: Die Hiobsbotschaft Posted by on Apr 17, 2020

If you get very bad news, how would you say that in English? Germans have a word for it, and it has quite the interesting origin story. It is the Hiobsbotschaft. Let’s have a look! What does Hiobsbotschaft mean? A Hiobsbotschaft, sometimes Hiobsnachricht and historically Hiobspost, is a Botschaft (message) with very bad news for the Empfänger (recipient). In other words, an Unglücksnachricht (message of…

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Untranslatable Words: Die Konfirmandenblase Posted by on Mar 12, 2020

Do you have to go to the bathroom a lot?  Looks like you may have a Konfirmandenblase… A what? Let’s look at this untranslatable classic today! What does Konfirmandenblase mean? A Konfirmandenblase refers to a weak bladder, somebody that has to go to the toilet a lot. Other similar words referring to the same are “Sextanerblase” (“Sexta…

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4 ‘Untranslatable’ German Summer Words! Posted by on Sep 4, 2019

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…

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Untranslatable German Words: Der Augenschmaus Posted by on Aug 12, 2019

Guten Tag! Today I’m bringing you another quirky German word that has no single-word equivalent in the English language. We call these words ‘untranslatable’ (unübersetzbar), even if there are English phrases that convey the same meaning. These ‘untranslatable’ words are fantastic at displaying the efficiency of German compound nouns. Today’s word is der Augenschmaus. What…

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Untranslatable German Words: 08/15 Posted by on Jul 11, 2019

Untranslatable words can also be a simple array of 4 numbers – 08/15 is a term that has entrenched itself in everyday German. Pun intended. What does 08/15 mean? According to the Duden, 08/15 means “bar jeglicher Originalität, persönlichen Note; auf ein alltäglich gewordenes Muster festgelegt und deshalb Langeweile oder Überdruss erzeugend” (bare of any originality, personal character…

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The German Word Eselsbrücke (Mnemonic) Posted by on May 3, 2019

Guten Tag! Today we are going to look at the German word die Eselsbrücke, and what it means. Not only is it an interesting word, but an Eselsbrücke is something that might even help you with your language learning! Die Eselsbrücke literally translates to ‘the donkey bridge’. Its actual translation in English, however, is mnemonic…

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Untranslatable Words: Der Spießer Posted by on Jan 20, 2019

Spießer. A very German word! Germans feel as if they are seen from the outside Germany as Spießer, as Germans generally like things to go orderly, not too chaotic, and are not the biggest fans of societal change. That is the stereotype. Let’s look at that word today! What does Spießer mean? Spießer is short for the official word Spießbürger…

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