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LEARNING GERMAN

German word of the day: Quasi

Quasi this. Quasi that. This German word is used so commonly, but what does it actually mean?

German word of the day: Quasi
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What does it mean?

“Quasi” literally means so to speak, in a sense or virtually. Often it is used to introduce a connection or resemblance between two similar things.

It is also used in the sense of the German words “fast” (almost, nearly) or “prinzipiell” (principally).

READ ALSO: 12 signs you've mastered the German language

Sometimes it is also said humorously to exaggerate something, especially in a sentence where it is obvious that what is being said is untrue.

One of its colloquial uses, probably the most common, means “basically” or “sort of”.

What are its origins?

It stems from the Latin words “qua” and “si” which put together originally means as if, just as though or as it were.

How is it used?

“Quasi” is mainly spoken and not used in written text.

Generally, it is used as a filler word, lacking actually importance or meaning, but many people believe that by using it, it makes you sound sophisticated and knowledgeable.

Examples

“Ich bin Zweiter Platz geworden, also bin ich quasi der Gewinner.”

“I became second place, so I am practically the winner.”

“Ich meine, Grün ist doch quasi Gelb.”

“I mean, green is basically yellow.”

“Hat sie es dir denn versprochen?” “Quasi schon.”

“Did she promise you that?” “Sort of, yeah.”


 

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Umstritten

Not everyone agrees on everything - and there are some things almost nobody can agree on. If you find yourself dealing with the latter, you may need to make use of this German word.

German word of the day: Umstritten

Why do I need to know umstritten?

Because umstritten is a handy word that can be applied to multiple situations, but is especially useful when chatting about current affairs or the big social issues of our day. 

You’ll likely come across it while reading articles in German newspapers, or hear your German friends use it while setting the world to rights in the pub. 

What does it mean?

Umstritten is best translated as “controversial” or “disputed” in English. As usual in German, you can easily work out – and remember – what it means by breaking it down into smaller components. 

The first is the prefix um, which tends to mean “around”. Think of German words like umkehren, which means to turn around or reverse, or umarmen, which means to put your arms around someone (or hug them in other words!). 

The second component is the verb streiten, which means to argue. So something that’s umstritten is something that there are lots of arguments around, like a controversial new law, a social debate or a public figure. 

Use it like this: 

Die Pläne der Regierung waren hoch umstritten.

The government’s plans were highly controversial. 

Sein Erbe als Fußballtrainer ist immer noch umstritten.

His legacy as football manager is still disputed today. 

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