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LEARNING GERMAN

German word of the day: Blitzsauber

In German, a room looking like lightning struck it is actually a good thing.

German word of the day: Blitzsauber
Miss Germany 2004 Claudia Hein (undoubtedly a Blitzsauber woman) cleans the windshield of an aircraft until it is Blitzsauber. Photo: DPA

The term 'squeaky clean' may not exist in German, but at least we have Blitzsauber. Coming from the word “Blitzen,” which means to light up, to appear or even to streak (run nude), the word refers to something so clean it sparkles.

Breaking down the word even farther brings us to Blitz, which simply means lightning.

The word Blitz is most famous in English as part of the phrase Blitzkrieg, a method of fast-paced warfare using aircraft implemented during World War II. But Blitz, Blitzen and Blitzsauber by themselves are not related to warfare, and remain correlated to more positive ideas like “lighting up” and “sparkling.” 

READ ALSO: Interactive map shows Nazi blitz on London

For example, a secondary definition of “Blitzsauber,” which applies especially to young women, means gleaming or magnificent. This usage is more common in southern Germany or Austria.

It can also apply to an ideal situation, or something meeting or exceeding all expectations. 

Examples: 

“Gestern habe ich die ganze Wohnung geputzt, bis Sie blitzsauber war. Es wird sicher nie wieder passieren.”

“Yesterday I cleaned the entire apartment until it sparkled. It will probably never happen again.”  

“Die Schauspielerin war in der Hauptrolle blitzsauber.”

“The actress in the leading role was magnificent.” 

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Isso

Perhaps you've seen this word on social media and you're not sure what it means. Let us explain...

German word of the day: Isso

Why do I need to know isso?

Because it’s a nice colloquial expression to use if you’re feeling a little lazy since it combines a few words. It was also one of Germany’s favourite youth words back in 2016, although it’s definitely not particularly cool anymore and is used by all ages

What does it mean?

Isso is derived from the statement: ist so (short for es ist so) meaning ‘it’s like this’ or ‘it is so’ in English. When used as a response to someone’s statement, it usually means you completely agree. A good translation is: ‘right on!’, yes, that’s exactly right!’ or ‘it’s true!’.

You can also use the expression yourself to emphasise your thought. In this case you’d add it on at the end of your sentence. You often find isso used on Twitter, when someone is quoting a Tweet.

It can also be used in a more downbeat form accompanied by the shrugging of your shoulders. In this case you’re saying isso, because it can’t be helped, it’s the way it is. 

Use it like this: 

– Wir müssen gegen steigende Mietpreise in Berlin demonstrieren.

– Isso! 

– We have to protest against rising rents in Berlin. 

– That’s exactly right!

Frauen sind die besten Autofahrer, isso!

Women are the best drivers, it’s true.

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