German word of the day: Das Schmuddelwetter

The Local Austria
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German word of the day: Das Schmuddelwetter
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Have a look outside. Is it raining horizontally, with some fog and a quite unpleasant wind? No? Then you’re lucky, because there’s no 'Schmuddelwetter' outside. But with a cooler and wetter start to August in Austria, this word might yet come in handy.


Schmuddelwetter means bad weather, basically. And with bad weather we mean that kind of bad weather where the rain is a light drizzle that is coming from everywhere.

That kind of weather where the clouds might as well be covering the ground, you can't see anything and there’s a light drizzle as well.

As that description might suggest, the word Schmuddelwetter originally comes from northern Germany, where such weather is no rarity. But as August 2023 is expected to see ten straight days of rain to kick off the month, only letting up on the 11th, it's a word you might be tempted to use here in Austria.

READ ALSO: Cool August greets Austria after July’s record heat

It literally translates to “dirty/foul/filthy weather.”

Schmuddel comes from the Low German word smuddeln, which means “to go about unclean.”

A street in Vienna in the rain.
A street in Vienna in the rain. Austria is having a cooler start to August after a record hot July. Photo: Susanne Hartig on Unsplash

However, you may also hear many other equivalents as well.

Examples for this are Hundewetter (“dog weather”), Sauwetter (“pig weather”), Mistwetter (“muck weather”) or, if you are in a really bad mood, Scheißwetter (“shit weather.”)


One reader told us that his friends also use the neologism "Englischwetter" to jokingly refer to his home country when the weather is less than perfect - to put it euphemistically. We think that the translation of this doesn't require an explanation.


Was für ein Schmuddelwetter…

What filthy weather…

Ich bin ungerne in Wien, weil dort so oft so ein Schmuddelwetter ist.

I don’t really like being in Vienna, because there’s such filthy weather most of the time.

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