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LEARNING GERMAN

German word of the day: Bescheuert

If you're feeling frustrated with something, look no further than this German word.

German word of the day: Bescheuert
Photo: depositphotos

What does it mean?

Bescheuert is a colloquial adjective which means that something is nuts, bonkers, daft, cruddy and, well, you get the idea.

“Scheuern” means to scrub but also to hit, so literally bescheuert could be used to describe someone or something that has been hit hard. But figuratively, it could mean something has been impacted so hard that it has diminished in value. 

What are its origins?

The word comes from the earlier mentioned verb “scheuern”. Centuries ago it was more frequently used instead of rieben, which also means to rub.

SEE ALSO: Nerdy flowers to alcoholic birds: the 12 most colourful German insults

The origin of its modern meaning trace back to the release of Grammatisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart (1807), written by Johann Christoph Adelung. In it he says “Jemandem den Kopf scheuern, figürlich, ihm einen derben Verweis geben”  (meaning: “To rub someone’s head, figuratively, is to give them a crude reprimand.”)

So essentially to ask if someone was bescheuert back in 1807 was a way of inquiring if they had been badly reprimanded for something they did.

How is it used?

Nowadays its connotation is a lot more negative when used personally or against someone in a serious tone. It is most commonly used in this form, or in the phrase “Das ist ja bescheuert!” (“Well, that’s pretty dumb!”) to describe a fact or reality of everyday life that simply doesn’t suit you.

It is occasionally used to describe if something doesn't look quite right: “Das sieht bescheuert aus.” (“That looks dumb.”)

Uses of bescheuert:

Wir müssen ne’ ganze zehn Minuten warten? Das ist ja bescheuert!

We need to wait a whole ten minutes? That's just cruddy!

Was ich also echt bescheuert finde, sind Leute die sich nie über etwas entscheiden können.

What I really find dumb are people who can´t make up their mind about anything.

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

Anyone struggling with learning German (or any big skill) could use this popular piece of reassurance.

German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

Why do I need to know this?

If you’re getting down on yourself for not doing something you are still learning just right – be it playing the piano or speaking German – you can gently comfort yourself with this phrase. Or you can confidently cite it to reassure your perfectionist friend or family member that they are indeed making great strides towards their goal.

What does it mean?

Literally translated as “There is still no master which has fallen from the sky,” the expression gets the idea across that no one is born – or comes pummeling down from the heavens – as an expert at something.

Rather they become a Meister (or at least halfway decent) through continuous hard work and discipline. 

READ ALSO: 12 colourful German expressions that will add swagger to your language skills

The saying is similar to the also widely used “Übung macht den Meister” (Practice makes the master) or the English version: Practice makes perfect. 

Not surprisingly, Germans – who pride themselves on industriously reaching their goals – have several other equivalent sayings. They include “Ohne Fleiß kein Preis” (There’s no prize without hard work) and “Von nichts kommt nichts” (Nothing comes out of nothing).

Where does it come from?

The popular phrase can be traced back to the Latin “Nemo magister natus”, or no one is born a master. Another version is “Nemo nascitur artifex” or no one is born an artist. This explains why so many languages have similar expressions.

What are some examples of how it’s used?

Sei nicht so streng mit dir selbst. Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. No one is born perfect. 

Mein Trainer sagte, es sei noch kein perfekter Schwimmer vom Himmel gefallen.

My coach said that no one is born a perfect swimmer.

READ ALSO: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

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