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German Word of the Day: die Ausrede

If you want to get out of a date, or you haven’t done your homework – you might need one of these.

German Word of the Day: die Ausrede
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

This little German word can come in handy in a variety of situations.

Ausrede, Meaning “excuse” consists of the verb reden which means “to talk” or “to speak” and the prefix aus which translates as “out”, “off” or “from”.

So, a good way to remember the word is to think of it as a tool you use for talking yourself out of something. 

One thing to bear in mind, however, is that in German, the word Ausrede has a slightly negative connotation and can be used to hint that the reason given is fabricated.

So, if you want to tell your boss that you have a good reason for why you can’t come to work, it’s better to say you have eine Entschuldigung (also meaning excuse) instead.

Another thing to watch out for is trying to use the verb ausreden in the same way as the English “to excuse”. In German, the verb ausreden actually means to finish speaking, for example: ich lasse ihn ausreden means “I let him finish speaking”.


Er hat nach einer Ausrede gesucht

He was looking for an excuse

Diesmal habe ich keine Ausrede
This time I have no excuse
Besser keine Ausrede als eine schlechte
Better to have no excuse than a bad one

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For members


German word of the day: Stimmung

Describe how you’re feeling with this versatile word.

German word of the day: Stimmung

Why do I need to know Stimmung?

Because it describes an essential aspect of the human experience.  

What does it mean?

Die Stimmung, which sounds like this, is the German word for “mood” or “atmosphere”. It’s an interesting and useful word which can be used to describe both the mood or psychological state of a person, as well as the general public mood, or the atmosphere of places or events.

You might hear people describe a party as having eine coole Stimmung (a cool vibe), or read about the Vebraucherstimmung (consumer mood or sentiment) in the business section of a German newspaper. You might also hear a moody friend describe themselves as being prone to Stimmungsschwankungen (mood swings).

The noun Stimmung has a close link to music. It shares the same root as the word die Stimme, meaning voice, which originates from the ancient Greek word stoma (mouth). It also shares the root of the verb stimmen, which means to tune (a musical instrument) as well as the adjective stimmig meaning harmonious, or having the same voice.

Stimmung is still used in musical terminology to mean the correct tuning of an instrument.

Use it like this:

An diesem Ort herrscht eine geheimnisvolle Stimmung

This place has a mysterious atmosphere

Die Stimmung da war gestern richtig schlecht

The atmosphere there yesterday was really bad

Ein gesunder Körper hebt meine Stimmung

A healthy body lifts my mood