German word of the day: Der Zankapfel

Catherine Treyz
Catherine Treyz - [email protected]
German word of the day: Der Zankapfel
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Today’s word of the day describes those inevitable disagreements among colleagues, friends, politicians, and maybe parking enforcement officers.


Der Zankapfel literally means the apple of discord, but can also be described as a bone of contention. To break down, Apfel means apple and Zank, which is a good word by itself, means quarrel, strife, or squabble.

Money is often described as a Zankapfel in various business or personal relationships, but the word can certainly appear in casual discussions about current affairs.

Relations with certain countries, for example how Austria still buys much of its gas from Russia, can end up being a Zankapfel between Austria and its EU partners. Various international relationships or divisive policies that governments wrangle with are often described as an apple of discord, or Zankapfel.

Synonyms, according to Duden, include das Streitobjekt, der Streitgegenstand and der Streitpunkt.


A literal 'Zankapfel'. Photo: depositphotos


Auslandspolitik ist zwischen Catherine und Joe ein ewiger Zankapfel.

Foreign politics is an eternal bone of contention between Catherine and Joe. 

Das Geld wird wird vermutlich immer ein Zankapfel bleiben.

Money will probably always remain a bone of contention. 



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