Word of the Week: Aufbrezeln

Jun 1, 2012

Every Friday, Germany.info and The Week in Germany highlight a different "Word of the Week" in the German language that may serve to surprise, delight or just plain perplex native English speakers.

Aufbrezeln

This woman is "aufgebrezelt" in the sense that she is heavily made up. Enlarge image This woman is "aufgebrezelt" in the sense that she is heavily made up. (© picture-alliance/chromorange)

When someone is heavily made up, sporting a dramatic hairstyle, and/or wearing flashy clothes, they could be described as "aufgebrezelt," which has nothing to do with looking like a pretzel.

Essentially, "aufbrezeln" (OW f bray t sell n) means "done up" or "dolled up." This expression is more often than not used to describe women who've taken a lot of time getting ready to go out on a Saturday night.

But it could also be used to describe fancifully dressed and heavily made up stage actors, dancers or drag queens - basically anyone who has spent a lot of time getting ready to look absolutely fabulous, albeit perhaps a tad "over the top," depending on your point of view regarding style and good taste.

Although the German word for pretzel is "Brezel," obviously "aufbrezeln" really is only indirectly associated with this soft or crunchy universally beloved snack.

False eyelashes for female soccer fans in the colors of the German flag - black, red and gold. Enlarge image False eyelashes for female soccer fans in the colors of the German flag - black, red and gold. (© picture-alliance/Jan Haas)

At the same time, "aufbrezeln" is derived from this tasty noun, as it basically means "to get all pretzeled up." (The German verb for on, as well as - in certain contexts - up, is "auf" - as in "aufsteigen," or "to climb up," etc.)

Perhaps the twists and turns made in the pretzel's dough before it is baked inspired this expression.

Either way, it is a fun, tongue-in-cheek word often used in a lighthearted, jocular fashion, sometimes by exasperated male partners of the women in question spending a lot of time getting "aufgebrezelt."

© Germany.info

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