German word of the day: Schweineteuer

Literally translated to "pig expensive", schweineteuer is a word that could be useful next time you go shopping.

German word of the day: Schweineteuer
Something schweineteuer might break your Sparschwein (piggy bank). Photo: DPA

Schwein and Sau (the German words for pig and sow) are consistently included in German vernacular, although no one can really explain why. The terms can be used in both negative and positive phrases (although it's good to note they are often included in insults).

For example, saying someone “has had a pig” (Du hast Schwein gehabt!) means they lucked out, while saying that the weather is a Sauwetter (literally “pig weather”) probably means conditions are nasty. A Schweinerei is a mess… so what in the world could “pig expensive” mean?

Well, in short, schweineteuer is used as an adjective and can be applied to anything that is very, very expensive, usually with the insinuation that it is much more pricey than it should be.  It has to be extreme for you to use it.


So if you get a speeding ticket for over €400, it's fair to say it's schweineteuer. And in the same vein, if your litre of milk costs €7, that would be schweineteuer as well.

Next time you show up on Sunday to a Trödelmarkt in the inner city and someone tries to sell you a simple picture frame for €120, let them know exactly why you won't be buying it: It's too damn expensive! Es ist schweineteuer! 


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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.