Word of the Week: Plombenzieher

Aug 16, 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.


© colourbox Enlarge image (© colourbox) Candy companies have been doing their part to keep the dentist in business with toothaches and cavity fillings for centuries. Parents can yell and dentists can lecture, but children are still going to find their way back to their chocolates and caramels. This week’s Word of the Week will remind you of your favorite childhood candy and all of the toothaches you suffered because of it: der Plombenzieher. A Plombenzieher is a delicious, sticky candy that gets stuck in your teeth and doesn’t come out for days. Think caramel apples or months-old toffees from grandma’s house and you’re on the right track. These are the candies that kids love so much, they're willing to ruin their teeth for them.

Der Plombemzieher is made up of two words “Plomben” and “ziehen.” “Plomben” is a cavity filling and “ziehen” means “to pull.” A Plombenzieher literally means something that pulls out your fillings. In fact, in the 1960s and 1970s this really did happen to many people. The dental fillings at the time simply couldn’t stand up to the candy. Sounds appetizing, right? Well, they must be, because “Plombenzieher” style candy continues to be popular all over the world with new flavors and types are introduced daily. With each new candy introduced, playgrounds fill with children sharing tips and tricks on how to enjoy the sweet without risking a trip to the dentist.

© colourbox Enlarge image (© colourbox) It isn’t just the Germans who think up dental-oriented candy names. Here in the USA, we are just as guilty. The jawbreaker may be an innocuous name for Americans now, but imagine hearing that for the first time! Candy that will break your jaw and pull out your fillings! Luckily, the name is a little bit exagerrated. So for now parents can breathe easy and kids can continue to enjoy their toffees and gobstoppers – at least until summer vacation ends!

© Germany.info

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