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Word of the Day: Salonfähig

The Local Austria
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Word of the Day: Salonfähig
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

From an 18th Century tradition to a 21st Century adjective, here's a short history of the word salonfähig.


Salonfähig is a compound adjective made up of ‘salon’ and ‘fähig’ (able, capable, competent), and translates roughly as ‘socially acceptable’.

It stems from the 18th Century trend for salons, which began in France as groups of liberal middle and upper class women met to discuss topics including literature and politics.

If something is salonfähig, it is ‘salon-able’. In other words, it is deemed suitable for the salon and therefore socially acceptable.

German and Austrian women also began to attend salons in the 18th Century, with one of the most well known figures being Henriette Herz who set up literary salons with a group of emancipated Jews in Prussia. She established the tradition of salons amongst the Berlin bourgeoisie.



Heute sind Dinge salonfähig, die früher ein Skandal gewesen wären.

Today, things are socially acceptable that would have been a scandal in the past.

Das ist kein salonfähiger Witz.

That is not an appropriate or socially acceptable joke.


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