Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

English profanity earns place in standard German dictionary

Source: Reuters - Wed, 3 Jul 2013 17:36 GMT
Author: Reuters
cli-wea med-dev
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

BERLIN, July 3 (Reuters) - The English profanity "shitstorm" is so widely used by Germans, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the country's most prestigious dictionary has included it in its latest edition.

"Over the last few years, 'shitstorm' has entered everyday usage so that's why it now appears in the new printed edition of the dictionary," said Nicole Weiffen, head of communications at Duden, which publishes Germany's standard dictionary.

"It is used in a lot of print and online media as well as in a whole host of other contexts so it is really relevant for the German language now," she told Reuters.

The latest edition of the Duden dictionary defines the word as "a storm of indignation expressed via the internet, sometimes accompanied by offensive comments."

That varies slightly from the English meaning, with the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines shitstorm as "a situation marked by violent controversy".

Asked last year if it was worth considering whether internet users should have some kind of driving licence, Merkel said: "Yes but I won't make any suggestions here. Otherwise we'll get a 'shitstorm' tomorrow."

The word was named "Anglicism of the Year" by a panel of language experts in 2011, who said it "filled a gap in the German language".

Germans also use the word "candystorm" to refer to an outpouring of approval for public figures. That word has yet to enter the Duden dictionary. (Reporting by Michelle Martin, editing by Paul Casciato)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus