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German word of the day: Druck

Imogen Goodman
Imogen Goodman - [email protected]
German word of the day: Druck
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

If you're feeling a little under-pressure, this German noun may perfectly express your situation - but make sure you don't get tripped up by the verb form.

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Why do I need to know Druck?

This word can help you with everything from describing stress at work to expressing your deepest emotions. 

What does it mean?

Der Druck (pronounced like this) can best be defined as pressure, both in a figurative and a literal sense.

In physics, the word describes subjecting a particular object or surface area to a certain amount of physical force. But in day-to-day life we're most likely to use the word to talk about demands that are placed on us from others like family, work colleagues or friends. 

As always in German, you can combine Druck with other words to create numerous compound nouns such as Zeitdruck, which means time pressure, or Blutdruck, meaning blood pressure.

If you want to talk about the act of putting pressure on something (or someone), you'll need to add an umlaut to turn the noun Druck into the verb drücken.

You've likely noticed that form of the word written on doors before: in this case drücken means to push or press. In fact, a Knopfdruck means the push of a button. 

READ ALSO: German phrase of the day - Die Daumen drücken

The verb drücken can also be used to form several other useful words in German, from ausdrücken, meaning to express, to unterdrücken, which means to suppress or oppress. 

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One thing that can get confusing for foreigners is that the umlaut-free verb drucken actually does exist, but its meaning is slightly different.

Nevertheless, it's definitely a word that's worth remembering in the land of paper-based bureaucracy, because it means 'to print'.

Just try not to use the phrase 'Ich habe mich ausgedruckt' without the umlaut. Instead of saying you've expressed yourself, you'll actually be telling people you've printed yourself out. 

Use it like this:

Mein Chef setzt mich gerade unter so viel Druck.

My boss is putting me under so much pressure right now.

Ach, nein! Hast du den roten Knopf gedrückt?

Oh no! Did you press the red button? 

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