German word of the day: Die Menschentraube

German word of the day: Die Menschentraube
A cluster of people gather at Hamburg's Christmas market. Photo: DPA.
While crowds are much less common in coronavirus times, this amusing way to describe a gathering of people is still worth learning.

This German compound noun can be broken down into two parts: die Menschen (people), and die Traube (a bunch of grapes). 

Despite the word’s literal translation, its meaning has nothing to do with fruit, instead describing a crowd or gathering of people.

And when you think about it, it’s not all that unusual. Grapes cluster on a vine to form a bunch, just as individual people group together to form a crowd. The word therefore offers quite an accurate visual representation.

Photo: DPA

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has seen busy airports, packed festival crowds and sold-out stadiums become a thing of the past, hopefully it won't be too long before 'die Menschentraube' can return to our everyday vocabulary.

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Examples:

Er zwängte seinen Weg durch die Menschentraube.

He squeezed his way through the crowd.

Trotz des Regens bildete sich eine kleine Menschentraube bildete sich vor der Bühne.

Despite the rain, a small crowd gathered in front of the stage.

Die aufgeregte Menschentraube strömte aus dem Stadion.

The excited crowd poured out of the stadium.

 


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