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German word of the day: Stoßlüften

This word (and concept) is especially found in public places and schools all around Germany.

German word of the day: Stoßlüften

Let’s start with the translation. Literally, Stoß means “shock, impact or thrust” and lüften means “ventilating.” Stoßlüften therefore translates to “shock ventilation.”

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The concept behind that is rather simple: For about five minutes, you turn off the radiator, open all the windows and let the cold air stream in. Then you close the windows again and turn all the heating back on again. That allows a flush of cold air to stream into the room and make it fresh again. 

The outside temperature doesn’t matter – if it gets too cold you can always put on a coat after all. 

Here’s an example: If you have ever been to a German school, chances are that you might have noticed a note stuck to one of the classroom walls. That note probably stated some rules for a better room climate.

And following up after the point “Turn off the radiator when you leave the room,” it probably said something like “Mehrmals täglich stoßlüften.” (Shock-ventilate the room multiple times a day.)

Many teachers follow that rule, which usually leads to a wave of discontent from the students' side. The teacher will then tell them to stop complaining and to dress warmer.

Stoßlüften isn’t just good for the people in the room – it also prevents tor room to get mouldy. Especially in schools, when many (often sweaty) teenagers sit in one room for a long time, the levels of air humidity become quite large. Some good ol' Stoßlüften helps the air to circulate again. 

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At a young age, children in Germany get used to the concept of stoßlüften. Photo: DPA

Examples:

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Zieht euch eure Jacken an, wir machen eine Stoßlüftung!

Put on your coats, we’re doing a shock ventilation!

Ich hasse Stoßlüften.

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I hate shock ventilation.

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This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.

Member comments

  1. God, I hate this practice too! My (otherwise) wonderful German wife is always suddenly throwing open the windows in just the same way. But as for the mould theory, which she also expounds whenever I complain, then how come British rooms that never have this shock tactic inflicted upon them do not seem to grow mould on the walls. I somehow think there’s more to creating a gorgonzola cave with walls dripping with fungus than keeping the windows constantly shut!

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Isso

Perhaps you've seen this word on social media and you're not sure what it means. Let us explain...

German word of the day: Isso

Why do I need to know isso?

Because it’s a nice colloquial expression to use if you’re feeling a little lazy since it combines a few words. It was also one of Germany’s favourite youth words back in 2016, although it’s definitely not particularly cool anymore and is used by all ages

What does it mean?

Isso is derived from the statement: ist so (short for es ist so) meaning ‘it’s like this’ or ‘it is so’ in English. When used as a response to someone’s statement, it usually means you completely agree. A good translation is: ‘right on!’, yes, that’s exactly right!’ or ‘it’s true!’.

You can also use the expression yourself to emphasise your thought. In this case you’d add it on at the end of your sentence. You often find isso used on Twitter, when someone is quoting a Tweet.

It can also be used in a more downbeat form accompanied by the shrugging of your shoulders. In this case you’re saying isso, because it can’t be helped, it’s the way it is. 

Use it like this: 

– Wir müssen gegen steigende Mietpreise in Berlin demonstrieren.

– Isso! 

– We have to protest against rising rents in Berlin. 

– That’s exactly right!

Frauen sind die besten Autofahrer, isso!

Women are the best drivers, it’s true.

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