German word of the day: Der Frauentag

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German word of the day: Der Frauentag
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With Friday marking International Women’s Day, let’s have a deeper look into the German word for it.


Der Frauentag is a combination of the words Frau, meaning woman and Tag, meaning day.

Frau comes from the Middle High German word vrouwe, as well as from the Old High German word frouwa, which means Herrin. Herrin translates to “mistress” or “lady” and is the female version of Herr, which was the way to address the old gods.


Nowadays, the word frau is also used as an indefinite pronoun. For many years, the pronoun man had been used when referring to men and women alike.

A lot of women felt discriminated by that, though, since man is derived from the word Mann (“man”). Hence, feminists created a new version of that indefinite pronoun and started saying frau instead of man.

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated as early as 1911 and is used to fight for women’s right, emancipation and gender equality. The idea for a worldwide day especially for women came from the German socialist Clara Zetkin, who got the idea from the USA. Back then the day was celebrated on March 19th.

The date changed because of a strike. On March 8th, 1917, the female inhabitants of the poor districts of Petrograd in Russia went on a strike and caused the so-called “February Revolutions” (according to the Julian Calendar, which was used in Russia back then, it was February 23rd.)

At the International Conference of Communist Women in 1921, the date was changed to remember those women.

2019 was also the first year that the Frauentag has been declared an official holiday in Berlin.

SEE ALSO: What you should know about Frauentag, Berlin's newest public holiday


Heute ist der internationale Frauentag.

Today is the International Women’s Day.

Das könnte frau so machen.

One could do that.


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