Word of the Week: Abmagerungskur
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.
Enlarge image Eating light, German style, with water, bread and an apple. (© picture-alliance/chromorange)
After all the excesses of the holiday season and, for some folks, the fun-filled days of winter carnival, many people turn to thoughts of an "Abmagerungskur" (diet) to lose weight and get into shape before the summer.
For many predominantly Catholic western and southern Germans who participate in carnival festivities, this is immediately followed by the fasting period of lent, during which people often give up certain types of food or drink in the six weeks running up to Easter.
The compound noun "Abmagerungskur" is comprised of the prefix "ab" (off), the adjective "mager" (lean, thin, skinny, scrawny, gaunt, meager) and the noun "Kur" (health/spa cure, treatment). The word "Kur" is also used to express a specific dietary regimen, such as a "Schlankheitskur" ('slimming' diet) or "Diätkur" (diet). The adjective "mager" is moreover integrated into thenoun "Abmagerungskur" to aptly describe the process of dieting.
So if you hear someone in Germany say "Ich muß jetzt wirklich eine Abmagerungskur machen" this means "I really need to be on a diet right now."
This is a great way to try to shift some of that post-winter-holiday-season "Hüftgold" (hip gold), a tongue-in-cheek description for an expanding waistline.