Word of the Week: Affenhitze
Enlarge image (© dpa - Fotoreport) A sweltering heat hung over Germany last week, forcing many people to stay indoors or head over to a pool. With temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, many Germans were complaining about the so-called Affenhitze.
Literally translated, the word Affenhitze means "monkey-heat" (or "ape-heat"), but it has little to do with monkeys and instead defines a "scorching heat". In this sense, Affen- is used as a synonym of "very", indicating that the temperature is far above your average summer temperature.
Gestern war eine Affenhitze ("Yesterday was a scorcher") someone might be heard saying when the outdoors are unbearable.
It is not clear how the term Affenhitze originated, but it likely came into common use more than 100 years ago. Back then, the ape enclosure at the Berlin Zoo was unbearably hot, and people spoke of a Hitze wie im Affenstall ("heat like that in the ape enclosure"). Over time, this simply evolved into Affenhitze.
Enlarge image (© dpa) So when those temperatures start to climb and your energy begins to drop, you can describe the exceptional heat as an Affenhitze.
By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany