German word of the day: Stinksauer

When was the last time you felt 'Stinksauer'?

German word of the day: Stinksauer
FC Heidenheim's Arne Heime is most likely 'Stinksauer' during this game in March 2018. Photo: DPA

What does it mean?

Stinksauer” simply means “really really angry”,  although literally it means “stink-sour”. “Stink” (somewhat obviously meaning stink) is meant to act as an intensifier. A synonym of it is “Stinkwütend” or “die Stinkwut” (meaning the extreme anger).

What are its origins? 

The second half of the word “sauer” literally means sour, but to say that someone is “sauer” means that they are angry. This is somewhat similar to English, as someone can have a “sour demeanour.”

The use of the word “sauer” as a word for angry (or wütend in German) dates back to the Middle Ages, where the phrase “Jemand sauer ansehen” (to look at someone sourly) was widely used. 

However “Sauer auf jemanden zu sein” (“to be angry at someone”) emerged only at the beginning of the 20th century. The word stink was added as a negative intensifier. This was applied to various adjectives such “reich” (meaning rich, so stinkreich would mean someone were very rich) and “normal” (meaning normal, “stinknormal” used in the context of meaning of extremely average boring). 

The first written use of Stinksauer is said to date back to the early 70s.

How is it used?

Stinksauer is used as an adjective to describe someone who is extremely angry. It is used across Germany, and by virtually all age groups. It isn’t exactly a curse word, and it isn’t necessarily Umgangssprache, or slang, but it is generally used informally.

Uses of Stinksauer

Simon ist stinksauer mit seinem Chef.

Simon is really angry at his boss.

Also sowas macht wir wirklich stinksauer!

Well, something like that really makes me mad!

Wenn jemand mir nochmal versucht, das Handy zu klauen, dann werde ich stinksauer!

If someone tries to steal my phone again, I’m going to get really pissed.

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German word of the day: Rücksicht

Here's how to take this thoughtful word into consideration.

German word of the day: Rücksicht

Why do I need to know Rücksicht?

Because it’s a commonly used word and knowing what it means – and practising it – will make you a better person.

What does Rücksicht mean?

Rücksicht is a feminine noun which means “consideration” or “regard”. It’s made up of the shortened form of the word zurück meaning “back” and Sicht – which means view. So literally, it means, back view, or looking back.

This literal meaning tells you something about how the word is used in German – if you look back to see what’s happened to your friend, you are taking them into consideration.

If you want to really make sure you don’t forget what Rücksicht means – you can watch the following video of Germany’s 1983 Eurovision song contest entry. The catchy ballad – called “Rücksicht” – came in place 5 of the competition that year. 

How to use Rücksicht

When using Rücksicht, bear in mind that it is usually paired with specific verbs and prepositions.

The most commonly used set phrase is Rücksicht auf etwas/jemand nehmen, which is used to mean “to be considerate of” or “to take care of” someone or something. For example:

Radfahrer müssen auf Fußgänger Rücksicht nehmen.

Cyclists must be considerate of pedestrians.

Er nimmt Rücksicht auf die Bedürfnisse seiner schwangeren Frau.

He takes care of his pregnant wife’s needs.

Rücksicht is usually followed by the preposition auf, but it can be preceded by a number of prepositions to compose different phrases. 

Mit Rücksicht auf for example, means “in view of” and ohne Rücksicht auf means “without consideration for”, while aus Rücksicht auf means “out of consideration for.” 

Here are some examples:

Führungen dürfen aus Rücksicht auf die Teilnehmer nicht aufgenommen werden.
Out of consideration of the participants, tours may not be recorded.
Er will tun, was er möchte, ohne Rücksicht auf die Anderen.
He wants to do what he wants, without considering other people.