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    Vote For The 2014 German Word Of The Year!

    Every Friday, the German Embassy publishes the Word of the Week. Here is a collection of the favorites from 2014. Be sure to vote for your favorite so we can select the Word of the Year!


    When spring arrives, not everyone is struck purely with joy and vitality. Some are just the opposite, developing a fatigue that Germans call Frühjahrsmüdigkeit ("spring tiredness").


    You've probably had it - or know what it is; Lebkuchen is a German delicacy commonly found at German-style Christmas markets, as well as other festivals and events. But do you know the origins of the word Lebkuchen? They can be traced back hundreds of years!


    In German, there's a descriptive word for almost anything - even for a man who lacks manhood. The word Schattenparker ("shadow parker") refers to a wimp - a person who would rather take the easy route because he's afraid of or not interested in the alternative.


    In the Bavarian Alps, a strange-looking creature with antlers, fangs, wings and a tail roams quietly through the forests - according to folklore, that is. This mythological creature is what Germans call a Wolpertinger - a hybrid species that you've probably never seen before.


    For those of you who are simply looking for a translation: Maloche commonly means schwere Arbeit (“hard work”) and is most frequently used in the context of physical labor and industrial production. That’s the unspectacular, short form.


    No one likes to be forced to do anything, especially when it comes to spending money. But in 1964, the East German government began a policy known colloquially as the Zwangsumtausch ("forceful exchange of money"). In other words, a mandatory exchange of currency.


    After buying a pair of plastic sunglasses for $5, you might describe them as "average," "cheap" or "nothing special." But the Germans have a particular colloquial term to describe such things: the term 08/15. This word (pronounced Nullachtfünfzehn) is typically used in conversation to describe something that is standard or mediocre -- like that functioning but unfashionable pair of shoes you bought or the cheap cell phone with no special features.


    Do you ever wake up and feel a little blue? Maybe you're tempted to skip work or school. Well, Germans have a unique word for doing so: blaumachen ("to make blue").


    If you've got a big dorky grin across your face, a German might tell you that you're grinning like a Honigkuchenpferd - a "honey-cake-horse." Basically, a horse-shaped honey cake.

    Stein im Brett

    Let's pretend your coworker surprised you with your favorite Starbucks drink during work. How do you feel about her? Most likely, she is now on your good side. Germans might even say you now have a Stein im Brett with her (literally translated: a "stone in the board").


    Do you ever look at someone and feel like punching them in the face? Well, Germans have a unique word for that face: a Backpfeifengesicht -- a face that's badly in need of a fist.


    Some people always have the worst luck, whether they miss the bus every morning or get struck by lightning - twice. Are you one of those people? In Germany, you'd be called a Pechvogel.

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