German words you need to know: Die Herbstfärbung

Next time you're lamenting Germany's cold, wet weather, why not head out for a walk and pay special attention to the fiery oranges, yellows and browns of the autumnal leaves around you? Unsurprisingly, German has a word to describe this beautiful part of the season: die Herbstfärbung.

Chalkboard depicting German word of the day
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

When the nights start getting longer and the days shorter, it’s clear that summer is well and truly over, and autumn has arrived.

But though you may feel a little morose about the long winter ahead, autumn isn’t without its joys – most memorably the vibrant leaves of red, yellow and brown decorating the trees and lifting people’s moods at this time of year. In Germany, there is of course a compound noun to perfectly describe this colourful transition.

“Die Herbstfärbung”, meaning autumn colouring, or “die Herbstlaubfärbung”, literally translated to autumn foliage colouring, describes the changing colours of the leaves across Germany from September through to November. This process typically creates a picturesque landscape, whether in one of Germany’s countless forests or on the tree-lined streets in the middle of a city.

It’s no wonder that German’s often nickname the autumnal month of October as “Golden October” due to the “Herbstfärbung” – especially when the sun shines in a yellow-reddish hue onto the colourful leaves – and enjoy spending their time on walks and hikes amongst the trees and the autumn foliage.

READ ALSO: German Word of the Day: Der Kürbis

Of course, the land of poets and thinkers has plenty of poems describing the “Herbstfärbung” process – Rainer Maria Rilke’s Blätter, Ludwig Strunz’s Herbst, Anita Menger’s Wenn Blätter bunt sich färben and Theodor Fontane’s Herbst amongst many others.

Next time you’re on an autumn walk with some of your German friends, point out the “Herbstfärbung” to impress them with your knowledge of a classic German compound noun. And if you’re feeling crafty, why not gather up some of those colourful autumn leaves to create an autumn wreath, or “ein Herbstkranz”, and give your front door a seasonal touch of “Herbstfärbung”.


Die Herbstfärbung verleiht der Stadt ein wirklich herbstliches Gefühl.

The autumn colours are making the city feel really autumnal.

Ich freue mich schon auf die Herbstfärbung in Berlin.

I’m already looking forward to the autumn colours in Berlin.

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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.