German word of the day: Doppel-Wumms

If you're looking for a German expression that packs a punch, look no further than this one.

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

Why do I need to know Doppel-Wumms?

Because it’s an expression that’s been splashed all over the German media in recent weeks and is a brilliant illustration of how political slogans and colloquialisms can enter into common parlance.

What does it mean?

To understand the meaning of Doppel-Wumms, it’s worth looking at the meaning of Wumms more generally. The word – which is pronounced like this – is onomatopoeic, which means it sounds like what it signifies.

You can think of Wumms as similar to the English “boom” or “bang”, which describes a loud noise or thud. More figuratively, it can describe a powerful gesture or event that makes a big impact: think of phrases like “going out with a bang” or “giving it some oomph”. To do something “mit Wumms” is to do it energetically and forcefully – with oomph, in other words.

With that in mind, “Doppel-Wumms” can be thought of as something of a double-whammy: it’s a disruptive event or action that is perceived to have double the impact. 

Most recently, it was used by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) when he announced a whopping €200 billion relief package to support households with the rising cost of living. 

Where does it come from?

Though Wumms is a fairly well-known colloquialism, Doppel-Wumms appears to be have been Scholz’s own invention.

He’s likely to have been riffing on his use of the word Wumms when, as Finance Minister, he announced more than €100 billion of financial support to see the country through the Covid crisis. 

In June 2020, Scholz declared that Germany would come “mit Wumms aus der Krise” (out of the crisis with energy, or oomph). This thrust the word into a fairly new political context: in Scholz’s lexicon, Wumms has become synonymous with a fairly hefty cash injection from the government.

In fact, in Scholzonomics, Wumms can even be seen as a new monetary unit. One Wumms is equivalent to €100 billion, while a Doppel-Wumms equates to €200 billion.

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Abwehrschirm

Use it like this:

Für viele Leute ist der Doppel-Wumms eine Erleichterung in schwierige Zeiten. 

The ‘Double-Whammy’ is a source of relief for many people in difficult times. 

Wird der Doppel-Wumms der Bundesregierung ausreichend sein, um die Energiekrise zu bewältigen? 

Will the government’s ‘Double Whammy’ be enough to solve the energy crisis?

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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.