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German word of the day: Augenblick

It’ll only take a second to learn this German word.

German word of the day: Augenblick

Why do I need to know Augenblick?

Because it’s commonly used in spoken German to signify a very short space of time.

What does it mean?

Der Augenblick is a compound noun made up of the word for “eye” (das Auge) and “view” (der Blick) to mean “moment”.

Its use can be traced all the way back to the 13th century when the Middle High German word ougenblick was used to mean “very short period of time”.

To help you remember Augenblick, you can think of the phrase “the blink of an eye”, which sounds similar, and is also used to express a brief timeframe.

You’ll most commonly hear Augenblick in the context of waiting in modern German. For example, if you’re waiting to speak to a customer service worker in a shop or on the phone, they might say: Einen Augenblick, bitte – “One moment, please!”.

While more generally used to talk about short bursts of time, Augenblick can also be used to refer to the present moment, in the same way people use “at the moment”  or “currently” in English. For example, you might hear people say things like: 

Im Augenblick bin ich wirklich glücklich

I’m really happy at the moment

Other examples of how to use Augenblick:

Kreditkarten werden im Augenblick nicht akzeptiert

Credit cards are not accepted at the moment

Im Augenblick ist er nicht mein Hauptproblem

He’s not my main concern at the moment

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For members


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.