German Word of the Day: Bummeln

Bummeln is a particularly 'gemütlich' sounding word, as it evokes a sense of coziness and satisfaction (as well as being very satisfying to say).

German Word of the Day: Bummeln
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It is similar to the English terms ‘dawdle’ or ‘amble’, and refers to the idea of sauntering slowly, and often aimlessly. It’s often nice to bummeln through picturesque countrysides or dainty villages until you reach the first cafe or pub you find.

It can also suggest the idea of doing nothing, or slacking. When you spend your day doing nothing, you’ve gebummelt. At the weekends, many of us bummeln when we don’t get out of bed until 2pm. Bummeling, I find, is a very good hangover cure.


Ihr habt diese Woche kaum gearbeitet. Ihr habt total gebummelt.

You lot have hardly worked this week. You’ve totally slacked.

Heute bummeln wir in die Stadt, weil wir Brunch da essen wollen.

Today we’re going to amble into town because we want to get brunch there.

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German word of the day: Umstritten

Not everyone agrees on everything - and there are some things almost nobody can agree on. If you find yourself dealing with the latter, you may need to make use of this German word.

German word of the day: Umstritten

Why do I need to know umstritten?

Because umstritten is a handy word that can be applied to multiple situations, but is especially useful when chatting about current affairs or the big social issues of our day. 

You’ll likely come across it while reading articles in German newspapers, or hear your German friends use it while setting the world to rights in the pub. 

What does it mean?

Umstritten is best translated as “controversial” or “disputed” in English. As usual in German, you can easily work out – and remember – what it means by breaking it down into smaller components. 

The first is the prefix um, which tends to mean “around”. Think of German words like umkehren, which means to turn around or reverse, or umarmen, which means to put your arms around someone (or hug them in other words!). 

The second component is the verb streiten, which means to argue. So something that’s umstritten is something that there are lots of arguments around, like a controversial new law, a social debate or a public figure. 

Use it like this: 

Die Pläne der Regierung waren hoch umstritten.

The government’s plans were highly controversial. 

Sein Erbe als Fußballtrainer ist immer noch umstritten.

His legacy as football manager is still disputed today.