German word of the day: Geil

‘Geil’ is just about as omnipresent in Austria as bureaucracy and bratwurst.

German word of the day: Geil
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This colloquial word is commonly used by Austrians of all ages and is an excellent way to make yourself sound like a native speaker.

At first glance, this word can confuse some non-native German speakers. If you look up ‘geil’ in a dictionary you will likely find a translation along the lines of horny or lecherous. Whilst this is certainly the original use of this word, colloquially ‘geil’ is far more complimentary.

The best translation for ‘geil’ in its colloquial sense would be something like ‘great,’ ‘cool,’  ‘awesome,’ or ‘wicked.’ It can also be used to compliment someone’s appearance, similar to calling someone ‘hot.’

Geil’ is often used on its own as a response to something, to imply the person thinks that thing is great or cool.

It is not clear when exactly ‘geil’ shifted in meaning and became a popular colloquial adjective.

As ‘geil’ is such a popular adjective there are a number of adverbs it is often compiled with. The most popular combinations are probably ‘super geil,’ ‘ur geil,’ and ‘echt geil.’ All of these emphasise just how great something is.


A: Heute abend gibt es ein Party.

B: Geil!

A: There’s a party on this evening.

B: Sweet!

Dieses Essen ist mega geil oder?

This food is really awesome isn’t it?

Gestern war der Film super geil, ich würde dir ihn wirklich empfehlen.

The film yesterday was super good, I’d really recommend it to you.

Der Alkoholkonsum ist ungesund aber leider geil.

Drinking alcohol is unhealthy but unfortunately it’s cool.

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German word of the day: Rücksicht

Here's how to take this thoughtful word into consideration.

German word of the day: Rücksicht

Why do I need to know Rücksicht?

Because it’s a commonly used word and knowing what it means – and practising it – will make you a better person.

What does Rücksicht mean?

Rücksicht is a feminine noun which means “consideration” or “regard”. It’s made up of the shortened form of the word zurück meaning “back” and Sicht – which means view. So literally, it means, back view, or looking back.

This literal meaning tells you something about how the word is used in German – if you look back to see what’s happened to your friend, you are taking them into consideration.

How to use Rücksicht

When using Rücksicht, bear in mind that it is usually paired with specific verbs and prepositions.

The most commonly used set phrase is Rücksicht auf etwas/jemand nehmen, which is used to mean “to be considerate of” or “to take care of” someone or something. For example:

Radfahrer müssen auf Fußgänger Rücksicht nehmen.

Cyclists must be considerate of pedestrians.

Er nimmt Rücksicht auf die Bedürfnisse seiner schwangeren Frau.

He takes care of his pregnant wife’s needs.

Rücksicht is usually followed by the preposition auf, but it can be preceded by a number of prepositions to compose different phrases. 

Mit Rücksicht auf for example, means “in view of” and ohne Rücksicht auf means “without consideration for”, while aus Rücksicht auf means “out of consideration for.” 

Here are some examples:

Führungen dürfen aus Rücksicht auf die Teilnehmer nicht aufgenommen werden.
Out of consideration of the participants, tours may not be recorded.
Er will tun, was er möchte, ohne Rücksicht auf die Anderen.
He wants to do what he wants, without considering other people.