Word of the Week: Winterdienst

Jan 29, 2016

snow plow Enlarge image In Germany, snow plow teams are called the "Winterdienst". (© colourbox) If you live on the East Coast, there's a good chance you received some heavy snowfall last week! And if you did, you probably stayed at home until the Winterdienst cleared the roads!

Literally translated, the word Winterdienst means "winter service." It's a broad term that can be used to describe any person or service employed to clear the mess created by winter weather conditions, whether it's snow, ice or freezing rain! The Winterdienst could refer to a snow-plowing service, winter road maintenance, snow and ice control, snow plowing or sanding. If you see people salting the roads, it's the Winterdienst. If you see someone driving a snowplow, it's also the Winterdienst!

Winterdienst Enlarge image After a blizzard buried the German Embassy, the Winterdienst came to the rescue, plowing the parking lot. (© Annika Schechinger) In English, we don't have a single word that describes all of these services. It's a practical - and commonly used - word that you will hear in Germany when the snow begins to pile up. Where is the Winterdienst? Hopefully the Winterdienst will be working overnight to make it safe for you to drive the next morning!

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany

© Germany.info

Word of the Week

Word of the Week
suburban street

Residents of this suburban street are waiting for the Winterdienst to clear the snow.

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