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German word of the day: Hammer

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Eve Bennett - [email protected]
German word of the day: Hammer
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Want to sound like a true native? Today’s word of the day will help you nail German slang.

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To English speakers, a hammer is nothing more than a useful household tool. For Germans, however, “Hammer” actually doubles as an incredibly popular colloquial term.

It is a very common way of expressing surprise or disbelief toward something extraordinary, whether that be positive or negative. 

This word can be heard in a huge variety of contexts and you may well be surprised at just how flexibly it is slotted into everyday speech. 

It can be used as a noun:

“Das ist (ja) der Hammer”

This is awesome!

As an adjective: 

“Ich habe hammer Bauchschmerzen”

I have an awful stomach pains.

Or even as a way of intensifying another adjective: 

“Das sieht hammercool aus!”

That looks super cool!

The tweet below shows someone describing Austria's warm spell at the beginning of September as "hammer Wetter". 

It is such a widespread term that it can even be spotted in popular culture. 

Stores will often try to lure you in with a “Hammer-Angebot” (super deal/offer), or football commentators may speak of a “Hammer-Start” (great start) to the season for a certain team. 

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On the more negative side, you may see newspapers report of a “Hammer-Bußgeld” (huge fine) being issued to someone breaking the rules. It is most often used as a way of making something stand out, whether that be for good or bad reasons.

So, next time you go to an amazing concert, discover a delicious new dish, or experience a stroke of bad luck, be sure to take this word out of your linguistic toolbox!

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