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5 German words for your life in lockdown

5 German words for your life in lockdown

While many countries are planning to ease up on lockdown restrictions, Germany will extend its anti-Covid measures to the end of March. The November guidelines that were intended to get us safely through the winter holidays will end up being half a year of social distancing and sitting at home. This is more than we expected. But it’s not more than we can handle.

To our friends in Germany: You’ve got this.

To those of you abroad waiting patiently for the day when we can raise our beer glasses around the same restaurant table and say a toast to friends, family, and being together: You’ve got this.

And until that day comes, here are five German words that might describe your experience with lockdown. May it soon be a distant memory.

(Note: These words may not have direct translations into English, but that won’t stop us at wordinc from getting your message across. Get a free quote today for translation, localization, or any of our other services.)


1. Kummerspeck

We all know what it’s like: You’re watching the evening news, the latest numbers for Covid cases are out … and it’s bad. The lockdown is set to continue. Your pulse quickens, adrenaline rushes through your veins, and you reach for the only thing on this planet that will calm you down: Chocolate. Chips. Gummy bears. A pint of ice cream and a spoon. After a few weeks of emotional eating, your pants are tighter, you’re using holes in your belt that you’ve never needed before, and the scale says you’ve put on some Kummerspeck (literally, “distress fat”; the weight we gain from stress-eating).

2. Naschkatze

You want to lose the lockdown pounds, but you don’t want to give up the gummy bears. So you start jogging. After all, it’s easier to sweat out the bad energy than it is to change your cravings. You’ll always like snacking. And that’s okay. Because you’re a natural-born Naschkatze (literally, “nibbling cat”; someone who loves to snack, especially on sweet things).

3. Kopfkino

To entertain yourself while you jog, you imagine all the fun you’ll have once lockdown is over. You see yourself at a table in your favorite restaurant, surrounded by family and your closest friends. It’s no one’s birthday or anniversary; you are there simply because you are all finally allowed to be there again. The waiters enter with the entrees, still steaming, fresh from the kitchen. You can taste the sweet cream from your dessert. Your penny-pinching friend gets up to use the bathroom right when the check comes. The scene is as clear as if you were watching it in a movie. That’s the wonder of your Kopfkino (literally, “head movie theater”; our imagination’s ability to play out fantasies like scenes in a movie).

4. Fernweh

On your lunch break, you’re sitting in your kitchen, sighing at another day of working from home. You scroll through old photos on your phone: pictures of you and your family at the beach, you and your spouse in the mountains, you and your friend on a road trip in a distant land in what feels like the distant past. As the memories come bubbling up, an urge suddenly grabs you: the urge to get away. Not out of town, not even out of the country, but across the world. Someplace where you don’t speak the language, where noon for them is midnight in your hometown, where something unknown lies around every corner, waiting to be experienced. You have a bad case of Fernweh (literally, “distance grief”; a yearning to travel to a faraway place; stronger than wanderlust).

5. Gemütlichkeit

After a long day of snacking, jogging, daydreaming, and travel planning, you change into your “end of the day” outfit (don’t pretend you don’t have one), stretch out on the couch, and turn on your favorite show or open your favorite book. A drink is close at hand. The lights are low. Everything feels just as it should as you relax into a state of peace and well-being. It’s more than comfort. This is something deeper. Bliss that you feel at a molecular level. This is Gemütlichkeit (literally, “coziness”, but as we have tried to make clear, “coziness” doesn’t quite say it all).


Do you need the perfect German word for your texts, whitepapers, brochures, presentations, annual reports, or anything else? Send us an email requesting more information or arrange a time for a phone call or personal visit.

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