Word of the Week: Vielfraß
Do you love chocolate chip cookies - and could you eat a whole box of them - after finishing a whole pizza by yourself? Most of us indulge at times, but those who can consume large quantities of food all day every day may be called a Vielfraß.
The German word Vielfraß has two meanings.
The word can be used to describe a wolverine (also known as a glutton, carcajou, skunk bear or quickhatch). Although this is its proper meaning, most Germans would use Vielfraß in its colloquial sense.
The European species of wolverine is called a glutton. But as many of you know, in the English language, glutton can also mean "an excessively greedy eater." Thus, the word Vielfraß is used colloquially to define someone who consumes large quantities of food.
And when you take the word apart, it makes sense. The word viel means "much" and fraß comes from fressen which means "to eat" (in a manner than an animal would eat).
(© picture alliance / blickwinkel/M)
But be careful about how you use this word; you don't want to offend anyone. If you're calling a close friend a Vielfraß - in a joking manner - it may be okay. But some people may have hurt feelings if they are accused of being an excessive eater, so use the term thoughtfully - if at all.
By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany