Category Archives: meaning of

Word of the Day – “die Schranke”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of

die Schranke

Schranke as well as its brother der Schrank are great examples for the harsh beauty of the German language. I mean just look at it. Schrank!  it sounds like a gearbox failure, and yet it means something like loving caress, as tender as a as a butterfly’s wi… okay of course this is crap. Schranke and Schrank are rather worldly things. And Schrank is actually pretty common.  In fact, most of you probably have a Schrank at home and if you’re one of those people who put little post its on stuff to learn vocabulary, then you’ll know that a Schrank is a wardrobe. Or a cabinet. Or a cupboard. Or an armoire. Or a locker…. basically it’s a huge-ish piece of furniture that you use to store stuff in and – and this is the crucial part – Continue reading

Word of the Day – “werben”

werben-werbung-meaning-germHello everyone,

welcome everyone to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning and the family of

werben

Werben comes from the super ancient Indo-European root *uer. The core meaning of that was  to turn, to bend and a lot of words came from that like whirling, worm or the German werfen (to throw) which is basically talking about bending your arm.
Now, werben very early on shifted from the idea of turning in circles to the idea of running around and back and forth. Not much later people started adding the notion that you do all the busy running because you want to get something and so the word eventually became “to be busy in order to get something“. And very soon this took up the core notion of advertising.

  • Der Ritter wirbt um die Liebe der Prinzessin.
  • The knight courts the princess.

Literally, this means that the knight is all around the princess, being all nice, bringing her flowers, singing her songs, writing her poems, slaying her dragons and opening her gown… Continue reading

Word of the Day – “passen”

passen-passt-mir-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of

passen

And not only that. We’ll also look at all its prefix versions. And its fancy sister passieren. And its beauty-secret… depends on how much time we have.
So, let’s not waste any and dive right in to passen. Passen is a super common and super broad. And the same goes for the English brother to pass. Just think of all the different uses of that passing a test, passing salt or passing time. In fact, there are “pass-words” in many European languages and they’re all super useful.
It all started with Latin word passus.Back in ancient Rome, a passus was a step/stride. Soon the Romans made that into the verb passare which literally meant making steps and was basically about walking from one place to another place. Continue reading

Word of the Day – ” die Mühe”

muehe-geben-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. I hope you’re all well and energized because today we’ll take a thorough look at the meaning of

die Mühe

Mühe is a bit of a weird word. Like… if your boss gives you a new task, he’s probably gonna be like “Give yourself Mühe.” You, still new to German, do as your told but then two days later when you walk up to him and say “Hey boss, just wanted to let you know that I really have a LOT of Mühe with that task.”, he’ll furrow his eye brows and be all like skeptical and displeased. And you’re just thinking to yourself  “So, I’m supposed to give it to myself, but I’m not supposed to have it?! Yeah right.”
What sounds like some sort of riddle is due to the fact that depending on the phrasing Mühe can mean effort as well as trouble or even toil. And these are actually closely connected. Just imagine… Continue reading

Word of the Day – Wundertütenspecial

wundertute-1Hallo ihr alle,

and welcome to our first (well, actually second) Word of the Day  Wundertüten-Special. Now you’re of course all like “What’s a Wundertüte”. Well, ein Wunder is a wonder or a miracle and eine Tüte is a bag. So a Wundertüte is literally a miracle bag and it’s no surprise that it’s a euphemism for a joint. But the main meaning is a different one. I don’t know if they’re still selling this but when I was a kid a Wundertüte was sold at a lot of kiosks and it was a sealed bag with a bunch of  surprises in it, like chocolate, chewing, a yo-yo, a sticker or a Sony Play Station. At least that one guy in the other class claimed he got one. Although… now that I think about it that makes me a bit suspicious because…  I doubt they  actually sold Play Station in East Germany. God, I was so naive as a kid. Anyway, so a Wundertüte is the same idea as an Überraschungsei.
And that’s pretty much what a Wundertüten-Special is. Instead of looking at one of the main stream words, we’ll leave the beaten tracks of learners and venture out into the wild a bit. And trust me, there are a lot of really really cool and super useful gems out there. So, are you ready to dive in and learn some words that will really make you sound like a native without being slang? Awesome. Continue reading