German word of the day: Umstritten

Imogen Goodman
Imogen Goodman - [email protected] • 7 Dec, 2022 Updated Wed 7 Dec 2022 16:08 CEST
image alt text
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Not everyone agrees on everything - and there are some things almost nobody can agree on. If you find yourself dealing with the latter, you may need to make use of this German word.

Why do I need to know umstritten?

Because umstritten is a handy word that can be applied to multiple situations, but is especially useful when chatting about current affairs or the big social issues of our day. 

You'll likely come across it while reading articles in German newspapers, or hear your German friends use it while setting the world to rights in the pub. 

What does it mean?

Umstritten is best translated as "controversial" or "disputed" in English. As usual in German, you can easily work out - and remember - what it means by breaking it down into smaller components. 

The first is the prefix um, which tends to mean "around". Think of German words like umkehren, which means to turn around or reverse, or umarmen, which means to put your arms around someone (or hug them in other words!). 

The second component is the verb streiten, which means to argue. So something that's umstritten is something that there are lots of arguments around, like a controversial new law, a social debate or a public figure. 

Use it like this: 

Die Pläne der Regierung waren hoch umstritten.

The government's plans were highly controversial. 

Sein Erbe als Fußballtrainer ist immer noch umstritten.

His legacy as football manager is still disputed today. 

 

More

Comments

Imogen Goodman 2022/12/07 16:08

Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also