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LEARNING GERMAN

German word of the day: Der Wetterfrosch

If you've wondered why the weather forecast often is unreliable, this word might help you figure that out.

German word of the day: Der Wetterfrosch
Photo: depositphotos

What does it mean?

The word “Wetterfrosch” (weather frog or weatherman) has two meanings which both stem from one myth.

The first and literal definition translates to weather frog, and directly originates from the idea that European tree frogs can predict the weather because they climb up plants as the sun starts to emerge.

This occurs not because frogs can predict the weather, but because these ambitious amphibians are in search of insects for food, who tend to fly higher in the air when the weather is warmer.

Nevertheless, this leads to some people holding tree frogs inside jars with a built-in latter, hoping for their position on the ladder to forecast the weather.

The further the frog climbs ladder, the better the weather will be. On the contrary, the closer he stays to the ground, the worse the weather is likely to be.

The second meaning refers to a meteorologist (weatherman) or a person who is interested in the weather, and therefore is similar to the weather frog.

How is it used?

In both definitions, the word is used in a humorous sense because an actual weather frog does not exist, nor can a tree frog foresee the weather.

One could comically refer to the meteorologists on TV as “Wetterfrösche”. 

Examples

“Ich glaube nicht, dass der Wetterfrosch wirklich das Wetter voraussagen kann.”

“I do not think that the weather frog can really foretell the weather.”

“Die Wetterfrösche im Radio meinten, dass es morgen sonnig werden wird.”

The weathermen on the radio said that it will be sunny tomorrow.

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

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.
 
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