Questions tagged [german]

For questions about English words and phrases of German origin. For questions purely about German, visit our sister site German Language Stack Exchange.

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Is there a term for "symbolic photo" (German "Symbolfoto")?

In German there is the term Symbolfoto or Symbolbild. It describes a photographic picture that represents a concept by means of abstraction or indirection. A Symbolfoto could be a picture of food ...
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0 votes
1 answer
66 views

Why do you say “to step down” in Englisch but the German equivalent translates to “to step back”? [closed]

Why do you say “to step down” (as in resign) in Englisch but in German you “zurücktreten” (i.e. “to step back”)?
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2 votes
1 answer
50 views

Question about distinction between "trellis", "grid", "grating", "mesh", etc. etc

I have a question denoting the right word for a particular object. In German, we have mainly one word for all the objects denoted by "grid", "trellis", "grating", "...
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3 votes
0 answers
49 views

Synonyms for "impact ventilation" and "cross ventilation" of (West) Germanic roots (dead / alive / old / new)

A German "end of the year" 2020 overview of absurdities and rather funny trends mentions British "Corona talk" about the German words Stoßlüften = impact ventilation, Querlüften = ...
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0 votes
1 answer
33 views

Is "To send a message over the communication bus" correct?

I was wondering if I could use the preposition over in this technical context. That is, to send a message over the communication bus. In German one can say: Eine Botschaft über den Kommunikationsbus ...
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1 vote
1 answer
60 views

Open and close AGAIN [closed]

Lets say you write an manual: Open the window Throw out a stone Close the window In German you could add again: Close the window again. / Schließen sie das Fenster wieder. This does not mean: Do it ...
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15 votes
3 answers
4k views

What does "a shnip" mean?

It is the word used in a play. The paragraph in which it is stated is the following: Why does everybody sabotage me, Frank? I give work, I pay well, yes ? They eat what they want, don't they ? I don'...
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1 vote
2 answers
128 views

Why does English hypenate compounds, while German just mashes them together?

Since starting to learn German, I find myself wanting to use a non-hyphenated word in English, but I always end up adding the hyphen because otherwise it just seems wrong in English. Why is this? Is ...
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0 votes
3 answers
96 views

Why do questions convert subjects to the accusative, e.g. "Me?" "Him?"

(Obvious disclaimer about the definition of "accusative case" being a touchy subject in English) I'm an ESL speaker and have noticed that e.g. in German the following exchange "You're ...
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  • 188
2 votes
1 answer
71 views

How would a native speaker react to the proverbial phrase: "Life is lethal"?

Would it sound completely wrong? Would it be understood humoristically? Would "deadly" be better? It's an attempt to translate the humoristic German sentence: Das Leben ist tödlich. I often ...
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1 vote
1 answer
84 views

How can "lebensphasenorientierte Personalpolitik" be translated to English?

In German, "lebensphasenorientierte Personalpolitik" describes a human resource policy that adapts to the life stages of employees, and enables a work-life balance. Is there an equivalent English ...
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2 votes
1 answer
105 views

How did zugzwang become an English word?

The word zugzwang means a move in chess which forces your opponent to make a detrimental move; a move causing all of your opponent's options to be moves which will worsen their situation. Although it ...
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18 votes
12 answers
4k views

English term corresponding to German “Ausgangssperre”

I’m a native German speaker looking for the correct term for a condition when people are restricted from leaving their homes (German: Ausgangssperre). For example, in the case of a virus outbreak. I’d ...
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1 vote
0 answers
2k views

How to translate the meaning of the german phrase "Leider geil"

"Leider geil" is a song by german hiphop band "Deichkind" and mentions things that are sadly cool, like buying new cars very frequently even though thats bad for the environment or finally getting a ...
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1 vote
4 answers
360 views

Translation for German word "Kür" as in "Pflicht und Kür"

I am trying to find a crisp translation of the German phrase "Pflicht und Kür. deepl.com yields "Duty and freestyle" as translation for "Pflicht und Kür" which irritated me. In my (business) context "...
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1 vote
2 answers
434 views

Pronunciation of Third Reich and Heinrich Himmler

I just saw a British made documentary about Heinrich Himmler with mostly native English speakers being interviewed. What struck me was that everyone (?) pronounced Third Reich with a "hard" C (=k) ...
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  • 390
1 vote
5 answers
787 views

Having decision making power over someone's assets

I am trying to translate the German word "verfügen" or "Verfügung" in its legal sense into English. In dictionaries, I only find the translation of "to dispose" or "disposition", as in the "power of ...
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1 vote
1 answer
121 views

Is there a rule for the (non-)capitalisation of Schadenfreude and sauerkraut? [duplicate]

The Cambridge Dictionary capitalises Schadenfreude but does not capitalise sauerkraut. What is the BrE rule for this (other than looking it up in a dictionary or style guide), if any? NB: According ...
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3 votes
2 answers
182 views

English translation of german bureaucratic term: "Weglegesache"

The German bureaucratic term Weglegesache is used in German public administration to refer to documents that they are forced to keep for a certain amount of time, but which are very unlikely ever to ...
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10 votes
2 answers
447 views

The “prickmouse” and the “butcher's broom”

I sometimes go for walks in the wood near where I live; and in the undergrowth, beneath the oaks and pines, you'll find an evergreen prickly shrub which is called pungitopo in Italian. The word is ...
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1 vote
3 answers
2k views

is "Lighting the spark for XYZ" a meaningful phrase in english? [closed]

I am trying to translate or rather come up with an English expression for the German "den Funken überspringen lassen" for a title of an academic paper. My best solution so far is "Lighting the spark ...
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  • 111
0 votes
1 answer
260 views

Phrase for "changing street side"? [closed]

Imagine you're walking on a pedestrian path, you see a shady person coming towards you and you cross the street to continue walking on the other side. In German, there's a short and easily ...
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95 votes
9 answers
27k views

Why Third 'Reich'? Why is 'reich' not translated when 'third' is? What is the English synonym of reich?

Why is Nazi-Germany commonly referred to as "The Third Reich" in English? Why is reich not translated when Dritten ("third") is? And what is the English synonym of reich? Realm? Austria (Republik ...
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0 votes
1 answer
200 views

Formatting English Translation in Foreign Dialogue

This short paragraph of German dialogue needs to be translated into English within a larger work: “Zurück bleiben! Fenster schliessen!” Stay back! Close the window! shouted the man on the roof. ...
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2 votes
1 answer
77 views

Is "diversified" really a suitable translation for what Germans call "abwechslungsreich"?

I need a word to describe a meeting or conference or other event which was the opposite of boring due to the variation of activities there.* German language has abwechslungsreich, literally rich-of-...
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20 votes
8 answers
9k views

How can I say I can't guarantee information I'm about to give is correct?

In German, there's an idiom that goes like "Nagel mich nicht darauf fest" (literally, "don't nail me down on that!") usually followed my some kind of information that is given without complete ...
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2 votes
1 answer
121 views

Better way of saying “national character”?

Is there a better way to express what is meant by “national character” or is there a good term that gets close to the German word “Volkscharakter”? I'm looking for a word that captures “the true ...
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4 votes
6 answers
1k views

"Durch den Wind sein" in English

How would you translate "Ich bin etwas durch den Wind" into English? "Durch den Wind sein" means having scattered or not fully coherent thoughts, not having full presence of mind (Geistesgegenwart), ...
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0 votes
1 answer
380 views

"Body Leasing": Is it English?

In my country, we sometimes call working arrangements where one company "leases" individual employees to another "body leasing". "Body" and "to lease" are obviously English words of good standing, ...
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14 votes
5 answers
2k views

Origin of ending a sentence with a preposition-German separable verbs?

One thing I've noticed about the usage of ending a sentence with a preposition is how similar the construction is to German separable verbs. With German separable verbs, the prefix is often a ...
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1 vote
2 answers
307 views

Is the verb suffix -en (as in light->lighten) rooted in German?

Is the verb suffix -en (as in light->lighten) rooted in German? German verbs in their infinitive form always end in -en.
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-2 votes
1 answer
56 views

Go and come as verbs and the ommitting of and

I have a question relating to the verbs "come" and "go" plus another verb. Why do americans say come sing with us (for example and not come AND sing with us (as is the norm in English English. Like ...
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3 votes
2 answers
619 views

Does English have a saying for "The person who orders something is the one has to pay for it"?

In German, we have the saying Wer bestellt, bezahlt, which translates literally into Who(ever) orders, pays in English. Is there a corresponding English idiomatic expression or proverbial refrain for ...
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1 vote
2 answers
193 views

is "predatory capitalism" a correct word? [closed]

Jean Ziegler invented the German word Raubtierkapitalismus for huge companies without ethics and morality. For example Amazon, Google and Facebook. What are similar words in English? Best would be a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
536 views

Two different german words ("Raum", "Zimmer") both translates to "room" [closed]

I'm searching for an English translation of "Raum" and "Zimmer". It is related with this question. Is a translation to two different words possible? Or is it only "room"? To put this more into ...
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  • 129
2 votes
5 answers
740 views

English idiom equivalent to the German Gretchenfrage "wie hast du's mit...?"

In German, a Gretchenfrage is: Compound of Gretchen (diminutive of the given name Margarete) and "Frage" "question". In reference to Goethe's "Faust" (published 1808), where the character of ...
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  • 151
1 vote
1 answer
83 views

"Buchungsangebot mit Option" translation to English

I wonder whether I'm on the right Forum. I need the translation of the German concept "Buchungsangebot mit Option" into English. It's about hotel rooms reservation. I understand "Buchungsangebot mit ...
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  • 69
1 vote
1 answer
101 views

Is it ok to use "to stream" for downloading/consuming?

In Germany there is a habit to use the verb stream for consuming a video stream from the Internet. I don’t like this very much and I am wondering what you think about it as a native English speaker. ...
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  • 149
16 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why is it "Rhine", but "Rhenish"?

Being a native German speaker, I just came across the word "Rhenish" (as a translation of German "rheinisch", belonging to the Rhine). I am a bit confused about this, and am at a loss for the proper "...
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6 votes
4 answers
778 views

How old is the proclamation: “Here comes the bridegroom”?

Long before the German composer, Felix Mendelssohn, composed the “Wedding March” in 1842 for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Richard Wagner’s wrote the chorus “Here Comes the Bride” in ...
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2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Word for someone who studies to become a teacher

A friend of mine is currently writing her thesis in teaching methodology of mathematics. We are searching for an appropriate translation for the German word 'Lehramtsstudierender'. This is a person ...
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  • 21
1 vote
1 answer
908 views

What nouns of German origin should be given capital letters?

On another post an interesting fact has just been discovered about the OED's treatment of nouns adopted into English from German (loan-words). A lot of them e.g. Nazi are spelled with a capital ...
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2 votes
1 answer
94 views

What is the origin of "smiddock"?

Pennsylvanian English: smiddock Put your middle finger behind your thumb and flick it against your arm — or better, someone else’s. I believe this is usually called a thump nowadays. But when I was ...
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2 votes
1 answer
441 views

Etymological link between "shall" and "will"? [closed]

"X shall happen" means "X is (strongly) expected to happen" ("X wird geschehen") or "X is hoped for to happen" ("X soll geschehen") German "Ich will, dass X geschieht" means "I want X to happen" (...
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1 vote
0 answers
77 views

Why the writing and reading in English are different? [duplicate]

I do not encounter so big problems with the English language although I'm not a native English speaker. But I'm curious why some languages (like English or French) are written different from the way ...
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2 votes
1 answer
310 views

How to translate the german word "Motiv" (= Beweggrund)

I want to translate the german word "Motiv" (with the meaning "Beweggrund") to English. A sentence in english would be People have various ... to do sport What would be the most appropriate ...
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1 vote
2 answers
508 views

Is there an English equivalent to the German word "Substanzwissenschaftler"?

As a German statistician, I distinguish between statisticians and "Substanzwissenschaftler" (my best translation so far substantive researchers). While the former know which regression model should be ...
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there one word for fat gotten from stress eating (Kummerspeck)?

In German, there is the word Kummerspeck, which literally translates to sorrow lard and means: the fat gained from stress eating Is there such a word in English? I never found any.
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2 votes
1 answer
162 views

Does the origin of the auxiliary "shall" lie in the medieval blood-money practice of wergeld?

Perusing some 19th-century grammar books for another purpose, I came across an interesting etymology: "According to Grimm 'shall' or 'skal' is the preterite or perfect of a verb meaning 'to kill'. ...
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  • 165
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

What is a good synonym for “appointment”? Is “date” one of them?

TL;DR: If I use “date” for “appointment”, is it unmistakably understood? If not, is there a shorter word for “appointment”? In German, there’s Termin, from Latin terminus (“boundary, limit”), for ...
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