German word of the day: Der Zankapfel

Catherine Treyz
Catherine Treyz - [email protected] • 22 Feb, 2019 Updated Fri 22 Feb 2019 13:15 CEST
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Today’s word of the day describes those inevitable disagreements among colleagues, friends, politicians, and maybe parking enforcement officers.

Der Zankapfel literally means the apple of discord, but can also be described as a bone of contention. To break down, Apfel means apple and Zank, which is a good word by itself, means quarrel, strife, or squabble.

Money is often described as a Zankapfel in various business or personal relationships, but I was first introduced to the word in a casual discussion about current affairs.

In the fall, a fellow participant at a Stammtisch was describing how the United States and Germany differed in their attitudes and treatment of Iran.

Relations with Iran, he argued, comprised the Zankapfel between the two countries. When I asked him what Zankapfel meant, he explained that various international relationships or divisive policies that governments wrangle with are often described as an apple of discord, or Zankapfel.

Synonyms, according to Duden, include das Streitobjekt, der Streitgegenstand and der Streitpunkt.

A literal 'Zankapfel'. Photo: depositphotos


Auslandspolitik ist zwischen Catherine und Joe ein ewiger Zankapfel.

Foreign politics is an eternal bone of contention between Catherine and Joe. 

Das Geld wird wird vermutlich immer ein Zankapfel bleiben.

Money will probably always remain a bone of contention. 


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Catherine Treyz 2019/02/22 13:15

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