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Tag Archives: Untranslatable

How to translate the untranslatable German word Gemeinheit Posted by on Aug 30, 2021

German untranslatable words gas station gemeinheit

Thanks to our reader Rob Prichard for pointing out that die Gemeinheit is a word that is rather untranslatable in our post on the word Multikulti. Never thought about that one as untranslatable! But let’s find out why, and what you might want to translate it as! What does Gemeinheit mean? A Gemeinheit is a mean thing somebody does to you…

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Untranslatable German Words: Multikulti Posted by on Aug 5, 2021

In Germany, you might hear the term Multikulti sometimes. It is often used positively, but sometimes there is a rather disgruntled undertone as well. It is widely used! But what does it mean? And is there a proper English translation for it? What does Multikulti mean? Multikulti is a shorthand of Multikulturalismus (m, multiculturalism). It’s the idea that a Gesellschaft (f, society)…

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Untranslatable German: Feierabend Posted by on Oct 30, 2020

Es ist 17:00. Endlich! Feierabend. (It’s 5 pm. Finally! End of the work day.) Time to go home, or go by the Kneipe (bar) and get a Bier (beer) to relax and wind down. A typical, almost stereotypical German Brauch (tradition). And Feierabend is the untranslatable word here. Let’s look at what it means and what perhaps could be an English…

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Untranslatable German: der Flickenteppich! Posted by on Oct 8, 2020

Just like many other countries in recent weeks, Germany has experienced a rise in Neuinfektionen (new infections) of das Coronavirus. And because of these Neuinfektionen, countries have once again issued Reisewarnungen (travel warnings) and imposed mandatory Quarantäne (quarantine) of 14 days upon return from a Risikogebiet (high-risk area). But if you think that these measures stop at country borders…

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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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