Word of the Week: Schneebesen

Jan 11, 2013

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.


A "Schneebesen" (wire whisk) with some "Eisschnee" (whipped egg whites/meringue) Enlarge image A "Schneebesen" (wire whisk) with some "Eisschnee" (whipped egg whites/meringue) (© picture-alliance/chromorange)

A "Schneebesen" is a wire whisk. Literally translated, however, it means "snow broom" - a far more poetic way to to describe the process of producing "Eischnee" (egg snow) in a bowl.

The compound noun "Schneebesen" (Schnee = snow / Besen = broom) is inextricably linked to the compound noun "Eischnee" (Ei = egg), which means whipped egg white, or meringue.

A "Schneebesen" is also known as a "Schaumschläger" (foam hitter) or a "Quirl" (a whisk, beater or whorl). In Switzerland, it is often called a "Schwingbesen" (swing broom), and in Austria it is referred to as a "Schneerute" (snow switch).

A "Schaumschläger," incidentally, can also be used as a figure of speech to describe a boastful show off. (Related expressions include "Aufschneider" and "Wichtigtuer.")

Similar kitchen implements (Küchengeräte) include the "Handrührgerät" (hand mixer), "Milchaufschäumer" (a milk foamer used to create milk froth for coffee drinks and other beverages) and "Sektquirl" (a miniature whisk used like a swizzle stick to reduce the carbonation of beverages).

So one way to work off some post-holiday excess pounds would be to use your "Schneebesen" to energetically whip up some pure white "Eischnee" by hand. Or you could just use it for the less arduous task of making some scrambled eggs for breakfast.

© Germany.info

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