German phrase of the day: Erste Sahne

You need this German phrase for when you come across something that's really good.

German phrase of the day: Erste Sahne
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Why do I need to know erste Sahne?

Because it’s nice to give a positive compliment like this, especially if your friend cooks you a great meal or your partner gives you a cool present. 

What does it mean?

Erste Sahne literally translates to “first cream”. But it actually means that something is “top notch”, “top class” or “the bee’s knees”. 

In German it is used with the verb to be (sein). So the full phrase is erste Sahne sein.

If something is the first cream then it is outstanding or of the highest quality. 

The origin of the term is likely related to the use of cream in cooking, which was a bit of luxury back in the day. Adding cream to your meal was the hallmark of quality. 

German synonyms that you could also use in place of erste Sahne include: prima, hervorragend (outstanding), bestens (best), ausgezeichnet (excellent), super, Spitzenklasse (top class) or klasse sein (to be classy).

Thanks to its catchiness, a number of businesses – including catering companies – are called “Erste Sahne” – so you may see this name while out and about. 

How to use it:

Dein selbst zubereitetes Essen ist immer erste Sahne.

Your home-cooked food is always first class.

Der Service hier ist doch erste Sahne, oder etwa nicht?

The service here is really top notch, isn’t it?

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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.