German word of the day: Der Trotzkopf

German word of the day: Der Trotzkopf
Photo: Flikr
If you know someone who just won’t budge, this is the perfect German word to describe them.

Most of us enjoy a good discussion or debate from time to time, but when somebody is stubbornly set on their point of view, it can cause difficulties. This person might be described as a “Trotzkopf”.

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“Der Trotzkopf” can be broken down into two nouns – firstly “der Trotz”, meaning defiance, and “der Kopf”, meaning head. So, literally translating to “defiance head”, this expression refers to someone very stubborn and set in their ways.

Photo: DPA

In psychology, children are referred to as being in the “Trotzphase” (‘defiance phase’) between the ages of two to four. With this in mind, the word 'Trotzkopf' supposedly describes anyone who hasn’t quite yet grown out of this stage of life. 

A novel by 19th-century German writer Emmy von Rhoden also uses the term as its title. The story became a huge success after von Rhoden’s death, and tells the tale of a very stubborn 16 year old girl.


Sei doch nicht so ein Trotzkopf! 

Don’t be so stubborn!

Er ist ein großer Trotzkopf, deswegen streiten sie sich oft. 

He is a very stubborn person, and because of that they have a lot of arguments.

Menschen unter Sternzeichen Stier sind bekanntermaßen Trotzköpfe.

People with the star sign Taurus are notoriously stubborn.

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