German word of the day: Mütend

German word of the day: Mütend
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr
This hybrid word began trending at the height of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and is making a return as the fourth wave takes hold. We explain what it means and where it comes from. 

The restrictions on private and public life, as well as the German government’s handling of the pandemic have left most of us feeling tired (Müde) or angry (Wütend), or a mixture of both at some point over the last two years. Cue the formation of a new German word: Mütend. 

Where did it come from?

Use of this adjective took off back in March 2021 when a Facebook post from Dr. Carola Holzner, a specialist in anesthesia, intensive care and emergency medicine at the Essen University Hospital, went viral. 

The doctor had been sharing regular updates of life on the front line during the pandemic since October 2019 under the name “Doc Caro” on Facebook and Instagram.

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In the post on March 21st, she told the world that she was “Mütend” and that this was a word “that describes very well what many of us are feeling right now”.

She cited the changing policy on masks, vaccinations, tests, school openings, as well as the death toll and destruction of livelihoods as some of the reasons she had to feel Mütend. 

Since that moment, the post has been shared on Facebook over 72 thousand times. 

READ ALSO: The German districts running out of intensive care beds

Ongoing ambivalence

As infection rates in Germany continue to  increase and restrictions creep back into force, it is likely that this word is going to resonate with more and more people across the country. 

Summing up a report by his organisation on the societal effects of the pandemic on Monday, the head of the President of the German Diakonie, Ulrich Lilie, said that the word accurately reflects the emotional state of most people in the pandemic.

“In this silent catastrophe” he said, “people are tired and angry that they can no longer maintain their relationships as usual due to the contact restrictions.”

Examples: 

Immer mehr Menschen fühlen sich mütend

More and more people feel angry and sad.

Was macht dich mütend?

What makes you angry and sad?


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