German word of the day: Der Trotzkopf

If you know someone who just won’t budge, this is the perfect German word to describe them.

German word of the day: Der Trotzkopf
Photo: Flikr

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”.

READ ALSO: 10 ways of speaking German you'll only ever pick up on the street

“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.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.