Word of the Week: Kuddelmuddel
Every Friday, Germany.info and The Week in Germany highlight a different "Word of the Week" in the German language that may serve to surprise, delight or just plain perplex native English speakers.
Enlarge image "Kuddelmuddel" - a mish-mash of buttons (© picture-alliance/dpa)
Given that cleanliness really is next to godliness in Germany, where a deeply ingrained sense of "Ordnung" is almost regarded as a national trait, creating any kind of "Kuddelmuddel" - as cute as it may sound - is only a good idea if you seek to either bemuse, befuddle or seriously irk someone.
This figure of speech essentially translates into muddle, mess, confusion or hodgepodge. So a Kuddelmuddel could be a messy situation, like a bunch of multi-hued different yarns entangled on the floor of an untidy sewing room. Or it could simply mean a mixed bag of stuff, as in vintage accessories or trinkets strewn haphazardly across a flea market folding table for Sunday shoppers to sift through at a necessarily leisurely pace.
Synonyms for this expression in German are "Chaos" (chaos - go figure!); "Durcheinander" (confusion/chaos/jumble); "Gewirr" (confusion/entanglement/tangle); "Mischmasch" (mishmash/hodgepodge/medley); "Salat" (literally: salad, also: tangle, as in "Kabelsalat", or "cable salad"); "Tohuwabohu" (a previous Word of the Week!); "Unordung" (disorder/clutter/messiness/irregularity/disorganization); "Wirrnis" (chaos) or "Wirrwarr" (clutter).