German word of the day: Das Herzblatt

Today’s word of the day is one that you can use if you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a more old-fashioned manner.

German word of the day: Das Herzblatt
Photo: depositphotos

Das Herzblatt is one of many German pet names to give your significant other. While it literally translates to “heart leaf,” its figurative translation is something like “sweetheart.”

SEE ALSO: 10 beautiful ways to express your love in German

The origins of the word aren’t quite clear. There is a plant whose German name is Herzblatt, while in English it’s called Parnassia, “Grass of Parnassus” or simply “bog stars”.

They grow in arctic and alpine habitats and produce white flowers. It's unclear whether that plant started the pet name Herzblatt or if it’s the other way around.

Herzblatt seems to have existed in the German common parlance for quite some time, most notably as a TV show. The so-called “flirt show” Herzblatt was broadcasted on Das Erste between 1987 and 2003 and on the channel BR Fernsehen from 2003 to 2005.

A YouTube clip from the old dating show Herzblatt.

In the show, a man and a woman (called “picker”) would each pick three contestants to be their Herzblatt, based on a short interview with them. The pickers and their candidates were separated by a wall and would see each other for the first time when the picker had made their choice.

Nowadays, Herzblatt isn’t as commonly used in the German language anymore – many people find it to sound old-fashioned.

SEE ALSO: Ten words that sound prettier in German than in English


Du bist mein Herzblatt.

You are my sweetheart.

Mein Herzblatt und ich hatten gestern ein romantisches Date.

My sweetheart and I had a romantic date last night.


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German word of the day: Blindgänger

Every once in a while, German emergency crews will have to evacuate entire neighbourhoods after finding one of these.

German word of the day: Blindgänger

What does it mean?

A Blindgänger, which sounds like this, is an unexploded shell, bomb, or grenade. It is a masculine noun and uses the article der.

How do you use it or where might you see it?

Every few months in Germany, someone will stumble across an old explosive –  typically from WWII – that has failed to detonate and simply stood idle where it fell around 70 years ago when Allied planes were bombing German cities, military installations, and industrial targets.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII unexploded bomb disposals in Germany 

In the last month or so, Blindgänger have been either investigated or found in Dortmund, Göttingen, Leipzig, Hanover, Magdeburg, and Berlin. 

If the bomb is particularly big – such as the 250 kg ones sometimes found – some news crews may use the simpler Weltkreigsbombe – or ‘World War bomb,’ to give a better idea of its size.

This was the case on Thursday October 6th, when around 3,300 people had to be evacuated from Friedrichstadt in Dresden as emergency teams prepared to defuse a huge bomb dating back to the Second World War. 

The unexploded bomb had been found on Wednesday morning during construction work, prompting police to organise shuttle buses to evacuate nearby residents. 

Blindgänger is commonly used in news reports though, to describe any type of size of explosive that hasn’t gone off.

After a Blindgänger is sighted, emergency crews will typically evacuate and block off any neighbourhood caught within the explosive’s potential blast zone, while they defuse the bomb.

You might, for example, see a news report like this.

Die Polizei haben die Straße gesperrt und der Blindgänger entschärft

The police blocked off the street and defused the unexploded ordnance.