Word of the Week: Dachlawine

Jan 22, 2016

Dachlawine Enlarge image (© dpa) East Coast residents, watch out! With every blizzard comes the danger of many Dachlawinen!

If you brave the cold and head out into the snow, watch your head as you pass beneath the roofs of buildings; they could drop a Dachlawine on your head!

The German word Dachlawine is unique and particularly useful when it snows. There is no English translation. The word Dach means "roof" and Lawine means "avalanche", so this word describes a so-called "roof avalanche". In other words - the large amounts of snow that could slide off of a roof and endanger pedestrians (like a miniature avalanche).

Dachlawine Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa Themendienst) In some cases, a Dachlawine may be small and simply drop some ice cold snow down your neck. But in other cases, it can be quite large and even dangerous. Dachlawinen have the potential to hurt pedestrians and damage cars. It all depends on how much snow has fallen, how heavy it is and how much is falling off the roof.

In Germany, you may see cautionary signs warning pedestrians of possible Dachlawinen. But some home and business owners take the initiative to prevent Dachlawinen altogether, installing Schneefanggitter ("snow catching gratings" or "snow fences") at the edge of their roofs.

But watch out - a Dachlawine can always take you by surprise!

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany

© Germany.info

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