Word of the Week: Trostpflaster

Jan 19, 2017

When you have a small wound, what do you do? Cover it up with a bandage, of course!

Trostpflaster Enlarge image (© www.colourbox.com) What do you do when your wound is an emotional one? Germans would cover that up with a Trostpflaster!

The German word Trostpflaster comes from the words Trost ("consolation" / "solace") and Pflaster ("bandage" / "Band-aid"). Literally translated, this word means "consolation Band-Aid" and it is a metaphor to describe words, objects or gifts that are used to console someone.

In many cases, a Trostpflaster is a small gift (sometimes money) given to someone to make them feel better.

Here's an example:

Trostpflaster Enlarge image (© www.colourbox.com) Your grandmother's 18-year old cat passes away unexpectedly and she is feeling very sad. You send her a large box of her favorite chocolates and flowers and tell her that this won't cure her sadness, but it's a little Trostpflaster to make her feel better.

A second example:

Your friend just got fired from his job and he is feeling depressed about it. You give him a set of movie tickets as a Trostpflaster - something to take his mind off of what happened.

In general, a Trostpflaster does not take away the pain or sadness completely, but provides some solice during difficult times. In a metaphorical sense, a Trostpfplaster covers up an open wound, but does not heal it.

So next time someone you know is feeling sad and you give them a small gift, you can tell them that they're receiving a Trostpflaster.

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany

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