German word of the day: Fesch

It’s always nice to be nice, so use today’s word of the day to pay someone a compliment - especially if you're in south Germany or Austria.

Fesch is written on a blackboard.
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Trying to win over your secret crush? Impressed by your friend’s new shoes? Simply in the mood to brighten someone’s day? 

Some of the standard German adjectives to describe something that is nice, trendy or attractive include hübsch, attraktiv or schick.

If you find yourself in the south of Germany or Austria, however, you’ll hear many people using fesch

READ ALSO: 10 pieces of Austrian slang you’ll never learn in class

Fesch translates into English in multiple ways. It can be used to describe someone who is pretty, someone or something that is trendy or stylish, or even someone who is nice or friendly.

Surprisingly, the word actually comes from the English language. It came into everyday use during the 19th century as a shortened version of fashionable, and has since widened in meaning. 

Example sentences:

Persönlich finde ich das Kleid nicht so fesch.

Personally I don’t think that dress is that stylish.

Was für ein fesches Mädel!

What a pretty girl!

Sei fesch und hilf mir beim Kochen.

Be nice and help me with the cooking.


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German word of the day: Verwursten

This funny-sounding word can refer to much more than just a sausage

German word of the day: Verwursten

Why do I need to know verwursten?

The funny sounding word verb verwursten (which sounds like this) is a term referencing a very typical product (the Wurst) but with a myriad of uses beyond just sausages.

What does it mean?

Verwursten can literally mean to mix together ingredients to make a Wurst (sausage) – or anything resembling it. Manufacturers of fake meat products can also “verwursten” tofu, tempeh and the likes to make a more palatable substitute for vegetarians.

Yet it’s also slang for slapping together a bunch of ingredients – or elements of something – to make a final product. It is similar to the word verarbeiten, or to process. 

READ ALSO: Seven common myths about Austrian food you need to stop believing

A songwriter might take aspects of a story and verwursten it into their lyrics, as could a film writer with their movie.

Where does it come from?

Not surprisingly, the word stems from the world-famous Wurst, with which Austrians profess a love-hate relationship. The sausage is a staple cuisine in many parts of the country, whether Blutwurst or the Frankfurter. 

READ ALSO: Only in Austria: Graz gets its first sausage vending machine

But despite its ubiquity, it’s not considered to be the highest quality meat around. Like its American equivalent, the hotdog, the Wurst is a processed food made up of several ingredients. Give or take, it’s mostly composed of muscle meat, salt, various spices and perhaps some intestines or other (not so) savoury parts.

Sausages are one of the staple foods in Austria (Photo by Krzysztof Kowalik on Unsplash)

The sausage was recently caught up in a nationwide controversy when an investigation revealed that some Wurst products were being ‘verwurstet’ from ingredients that don’t usually belong in the recipe.

READ ALSO: Martinigansl and more: 11 delicious Austrian dishes you need to try

Here is how it’s useful

Ein veganer Aufschnitt wird von Soya und Zwiebeln verwurstet.

Vegan cold cuts are being made out of soy and onions.

Sie haben diese gespannte Geschichte in einem Film verwurstet. 

They made a film out of this suspenseful story.