Word of the Week: Abmagerungskur

Feb 22, 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.


Water, bread and an apple 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.

Cured Bacon

Word of the Week: Kummerspeck

The holiday season is a dangerous time for anyone who tends to pack on the pounds. Whenever something gets us down some of us moreover turn to food for comfort, which can lead to a pesky problem known as "Kummerspeck" (grief fat).

Runner at sunset, Dallas Road, Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Word of the Week: Gute Vorsätze

At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, many of us transform suddenly from inebriated revelers to neurotic dieters as we make shedding those extra holiday pounds one of our "gute Vorsätze" (resolutions) for the New Year.

Two piglets hang out under a heat lamp in some straw on a farm near the western German city of Münster. © picture-alliance/dpa

Word of the Week: Innerer Schweinehund

To start up any post-holiday exercise regimen, for example, you may need to overcome your "Innerer Schweinehund" (inner pig dog) before getting off the couch and lacing up those running shoes.

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