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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Sonnabend

Not knowing this word could really mess up your weekend.

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

Why do I need to know Sonnabend?

Because it’s a commonly used word in some parts of Germany to refer to Saturday, even though it sounds more like the German word for Sunday (Sonntag).

What does Sonnabend mean?

Sonnabend is another word for Samstag in German and means “Saturday”.

It’s used mainly in eastern and northern Germany and, in the former GDR, Sonnabend was more or less the only word for “Saturday” in use; while the majority of West German citizens used Samstag

But the origin of Sonnabend goes much further back than the post-war period. It is, in fact, a very old Anglicism which originated in the early middle ages. 

Legend has it that the word came from an English missionary named Boniface, who came to Germany in the early 8th century to convert the Germanic tribes in Friesland, Hesse, Thuringia and Bavaria to Christianity. He brought with him the Old English word sunnanaefen, which initially meant the evening, but soon came to mean the whole day before sunnandaeg (Sunday).

The use of the word Sonnabend became widespread, mainly in northern and central Germany.

Use it like this

Die Geschäfte sind an diesem Sonnabend geschlossen

The shops are closed this Saturday

Sonnabend ist mein Lieblingstag in der Woche

Saturday is my favourite day of the week

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For members

GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

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.
 
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