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German word of the day: Versorgung

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
German word of the day: Versorgung
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

You’ll see this word often as you get into more intermediate German texts, in everything from financial planning to politics to senior care.

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What does it mean?

Versorgung, which sounds like this, literally translates as “supply” or “provision,” with its exact meaning depending on context. It’s a feminine noun and so uses the article die in the singular – die Vorsorgung.

How do you use it or where might you see it?

In German’s penchant for compound words, Versorgung is often combined with other words to provide the context that will give the new word its precise meaning and context. Recently, you’re reasonably likely to have run into Energieversorgung or Gasversorgung in newspapers or in communication from your gas or electric company. In these cases, it means “energy supply” or “gas supply,” something that’s been at the top of mind for both governments and consumers over the last year.

But Versorgung is a word for many contexts. If you start researching pensions and financial planning in German-speaking countries, you’re likely to run into Altersvorsorge. Literally translated, it means “retirement provision,” but it’s better understood as “saving for retirement” or planning for how you will support yourself when you’re no longer working in your old age.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about the complicated world of German insurance

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Versorgung also appears in German-speaking countries when talking about long-term care for people in their old age. If you see Versorgungssystem, you’re probably reading about the system of long-term care facilities to look after people who need extra help. The verb versorgen, is often used to mean “to take care of.”

Examples

Wie viel der Stromversorgung ist erneurbar?

How much of the electricity supply is renewable?

Wann sollte man mit dem sparen für die Altersvorsorge beginnen?

When should someone start saving for retirement?

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