Vocabulary grab bag
  updated March 11, 2019

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  • Imitat (billiges ~ )

    • a knockoff   

      • You can still find a dollar-burger and the $ 10 knockoff Rolex on Canal Street.

  • Jahre (auf ~ hinaus)
    • for years to come


  • Käfighaltung
    • use of poultry caging / caging poultry
      • Use of poultry caging puts you in complete control of your flock's diet, a factor essential to peak health and production.
        Caging poultry is incompatible with organic approaches to animal welfare and health maintenance, and is inconsistent with consumer expectations.
        Also cf.:  The cage-free versus caged-poultry eggs debate...

  • Käppchen (Stifte ohne~)

    • lidless pens  

  • Kaffee Latte (Latte Macchiato)

    • latte 

      • Salzman describes emo boys as men "who listen to pretentious 'you've probably never heard of them' bands, dress with more care and style than most girls, and read in-depth books, while sipping on low-fat lattes before they take their Vespa home.

  • Kaiserschnitt (er kam mit ~ zur Welt)

    • He was born by c(a)esarean delivery / section..

  • Kaution

    • security deposit

  • Kehrseite

    • the flip side of the coin  

  • Keller (Leichen im ~)

    •   to have skeletons in the closet

  • Kinderkrankheiten

    • teething trouble

  • Kindersitz

    • booster seat  

  • klein (von ~ auf)

    • from little on up my father called me "Shorty"

  • Kontoüberziehung[smöglichkeit / Kontoüberziehungsspanne / Kreditlinie]

    • overdraft  

      • Over a third of adults with bank accounts are relying on their overdrafts to keep them afloat, figures suggest.

  • klarkommen mit den praktischen Problemen

    • He was good with the theory but never got the hang of the practicalities. 
  • klarmachen (i.S. von "du kannst es dir selbst ausrechnen" / "du  kannst dir den Rest selbst ausrechnen" / "überzeug dich doch selbst" /  „du musst dir das mal klarmachen“!)

    • You do the math

      • Writer and environmental advocate Bill McKibben has coined the phrase “Do the Math,” referring to the dangers of rising levels of carbon 
        dioxide in the atmosphere // Global Warming's Terrifying New Math
  • Kleinigkeit (eine ~ im Vergleich zu etwas)

    • $ 600 is a snip compared to the price of …

  • Knautschzone

    • crumple zone

  • kommerziell (im Ggs. zu gemeinnützig)

    • for-profit

      • the for-profit company that took over the school 

  • Konjunkturpaket

    • economic stimulus package

  • Kontoauszug

    • bank statement

  • Kopftuchverbot

    • ban on head scarves 

      • In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a university in Turkey was within its rights to ban head scarves, saying that the ban was justified in avoiding giving preference to any one religion . By such standards, the British policy is comparatively liberal. Girls at Denbigh, for instance, have a wide choice of uniform - a skirt, pants, or the shalwar kameez, a flowing pants-and-tunic combination worn and considered acceptable by many Muslims. They can also wear head scarves. In addition, there are three nearby schools that allow students to wear the jilbab  (a loose, ankle-length gown ).

  • körperbetont

    • revealing 

      • With her revealing outfits and heavy make-up, she was popular with young inmates … Her uniform, specially altered to fit her size 4 frame, was said to be more revealing than standard issue clothing.

  • Krischperl (bayr.)

    • a wimp

  • kritisch (wenn’s ganz ~ wird)

    • when the mud hits the fan  

  • Kundenbetreuung

    • customer care

  • Kursangebote

    • innovative course offerings


  • landläufige Meinung (die  ~ besagt...)

    • conventional wisdom says that ...

  • längerfristige Wettervorhersage

    • extended weather forecast

  • lateral denken

    • think sideways

  • Lebensleistung

    • lifetime achievement

  • Leerlauf (ein Motor im ~)

    •   an idling engine

  • Lehrbeispiel

    • object lesson  

      • an object lesson in how appearances can deceive

  • Lehrprobe

    • demonstration lesson    

  • leiblicher Vater / Mutter

    • biological dad / mother    

  • Leichen im Keller

    • to have skeletons in the closet

  • Lesung halten

    • to do a reading

  • Licht (ein gutes ~ auf)

    • to reflect well on 

      • Making a frank admission must reflect well on his organisation's integrity.

  • linksorientiert / linkslastig

    • left-leaning 

      • Ms. Stewart has become a cause célèbre among many left-leaning lawyers  

  • lieb Kind (sich ~ ~ machen bei....)

    • to ingratiate oneself with s.o.

      • Richard A. Conway, an assistant commonwealth attorney, asked Judge Millette to prevent Mr. Muhammad from making "gratuitous introductory remarks" intended to ingratiate himself with the jury.

  • lobenswerterweise

    • laudably

  • Lockerung (z.B. von gesetzlichen Beschränkungen)

    • easing

      •  The Justice Department relied on the easing of legal restrictions under the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act to present years of wiretaps on the defendants

  • Luftbrücke

    • air lift  (the Berlin airlift )

  • Lügen strafen

    • to be given the lie 

      • "The notion that campuses are awash in political correctness," he said, "is given the lie every day in my classroom."


  • Machtkampf

    • battle of wills
  • Marionettenregierung

    • puppet government

  • Magnetschwebebahn

    • magnetic levitation train or maglev train  

      • It was the first major accident involving a magnetic levitation, or maglev, train. The authorities declined to speculate on the cause, though experts on maglev technology said it appeared to have been a communications breakdown rather than a flaw in the technology

  • Maschen (durch alle ~ des sozialen Netzes, der sozialen Sicherungssysteme etc. fallen, total stranden)

    • to fall through all the cracks  

      • The two describe themselves as decent, working-class people who fell through all the cracks.... // someone who fell through all the cracks in the social and education system. // She fell through all the cracks in society.She didn't qualify for any help  // Obviously too many young people fall through the cracks in the healthcare system

  • Mauerblümchen (in the sense of "a shy and unassertive woman")

    • shrinking violet  

      • the 21st century woman, no shrinking violet

  • Maul halten ( i.S. von ‚nichts sagen’, 'über etwas schweigen')

    • to keep mum

  • Messlatte (die ~ zu hoch/niedrig <an>setzen) / legen / stecken)

    • to set the bar too high/low 

      • We set the bar high on purpose // (If you set your goal bar too low, you are not going to reach your full potential //

        Give yourself a break, don’t set the bar too high)
  • Milchfläschchen (für Babies)

    • feeding bottle

  • mimosenhaft empfindlich(e Person)

    • a prissy  

  • mithören (Telefongespräche)

    • to eavesdrop on callers (also: to spy on callers / to monitor telphone calls) 

      • President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying,

  • Mithörvorrichtung

    • eavesdropping device 

      • Thanks to an explosion of miniaturized technology, the tools for bugging and other forms of eavesdropping have never been cheaper, smaller, more powerful, or easier to come by.

  • mitgehörte/mitgeschnittene Telefongespräche

    • wiretaps  (

      • The Justice Department relied on the easing of legal restrictions under the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act to present years of wiretaps on the defendants

  • Mitsingen (Lieder zum ~)

    • songs to sing along with 

      • Instead of dull ring tones, cellphones offer songs to sing along with

  • Mittelstreifen

    • the median of a highway

  • monatelang

    • months-long  

      • Students are faced with  grueling, months-long research project.

  • Müllbeutel (in einen Mülleimer)

    • bin liner   


  • nabelfrei (~es T-shirt / Top etc.)

    • belly shirt; bare-midriff  T-shirt / top etc. or just:: midriff  T-shirt / top etc.

  • Nachahmungstaten

    • copycat attacks

  • nachweislich falsche Behauptungen
    • demonstrably false claims
  • nachrüsten (z.B. ein Auto mit Diesel-Rußfilter) / nachträglich einbauen

    •  to retrofit (

      • to retrofit cars with filters / tax incentives for DPF refits  (DPF = diesel particulate filters) 

  • nächste (schon auf das ~ Unglück warten)

    • In some ways, Americans are waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

  • nächsthöhere

    •   the next highest cost  

  • Nachwuchsregisseur (angehender R.)
    • budding director  (analog budding scientist, budding actor etc.)

      • A cudding actress is an actress that has a lot of potential and is predicted to become a big star someday

  • Nagel (die Uniform an den ~ hängen)

    • after hanging up his uniform....

  • Nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit

    • food intolerance  (

      • checking for food intolerance has become ….  

  • nahtlos (etwas schließt nahtlos an...)

    • seamless(ly)

      • Her new album of moody, low-key songs seamlessly picks up where she left off.

  • nahtlos (sich nahtlos einfügen, perfekt  passen zu)

    • to dovetail with  

      • The proposal this week by Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, to censure Mr. Bush over his domestic eavesdropping program cheered the left, but it also dovetailed with conservatives' plans to harness such attacks to their own ends. // His new approach dovetails with research that I and Jonathan Erez (of Hebrew University) are conducting. // Chinese journalists say the authors of the article picked the case because they thought it dovetailed with a campaign by Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to help peasants.

  • Namen (sich einen ~  machen)

    • to make one's mark

      • He made his mark in his four years as Home Secretary under John ab Major.

  • nebenbei / en passant

    •   in passing  

      • The New York Times featured him in a glowing profile that only mentioned in passing that his alleged scholarship was, shall we say, controversial.

  • Neige (zur ~ gehen)

    •   the supplies gave out  

  • nerven

    • to taze (to cause needless aggravation, annoyance or irritation <urspr. to poke somebody's sides from behind>

      • My boss totally tazed me when he called that 10am meeting on Friday. || I don't mean to taze you.

  • nichts davon 

    • absolutely none of this would have happened if.....

  • Nullrunde (z.B. bei den Renten)

    • frozen pensions 

      • the British Government's frozen pensions policy


  • Objekt (Frauen zum Objekt erniedrigen)

    •  to objectify women

  • observieren (ein Gebäude … lassen)

    •  to stake out a house

  • offen aussprechen

    • to say out loud

      • They honestly believe that democracy is not possible in Iraq. But they never say that out loud.

  • Offenbarungswahrheit

    • gospel truth 

      • Blackett, accepting Nitze's "official" report as gospel truth, did not check out the whole USSBS series of reports.


  • Panikmache

    • scare talk

  • parallel zu (eine Sache ~ einer anderen machen)

    • in parallel with 

      • Doing a job in parallel with studying was taken for granted at her college.

  • Parkschnepfe (hum.)

    • meter-maid

  • parteipolitisch  (Zwecke, Attacke etc.)  

    • party political 

      • They waste no opportunity to exploit difficult social problems for party political ends.
        This is a breathtaking party political attack on some of this city's best schools.

  • Partylöwe

    • a party animal;  a party fiend

  • passen (genau/prima zu etwas  ~ , auch: sich  sehr gut ergänzen mit)

    • to dovetail nicely with ...

      • These findings dovetail nicely with other ongoing studies. / The two studies, one a computer simulation and one a set of observations, dovetail nicely in how they describe the early universe.

  • passen (eine Kennzeichnung/Etikettierung passt auf jd., man kann jd. was anhängen etc.)

    • s.o. fits a label  

      • Don't most nationalities think they are superior? I certainly know a couple of others (English-speaking, by the way) who seem to me to fit that label far better.

  • Penner

    • rough-sleeper

  • Perspektive (Dinge aus ganz unterschiedlicher Perspektive betrachten)

    • to view things from a variety of angles 

      • articles that address contemporary issues from a variety of angles

  • platt gemacht werden / sein Fett abbekommen o.ä.

    • Did you see the game New York vs Dallas last night? It was a massacre! Dallas got totally owned.[the Urban Dictionary: getting beaten at in a big or hunmiliating way... also known as getting your ass handed to you].

  • Pointe

    • punchline
      AE: tagline  

  • Popularitätshascherei

    • pandering   

      • Hillary Clinton's decision to co-sponsor a bill to criminalize the burning of the American flag should be seen as pandering.  [vgl. auch: to pander to public opinion]

  • Positur (sich in ~ Positur stellen im Sinn von sich in Szene setzen / sich profilieren wollen)

    • to posture

      • political posturing

  • Prinzip (im ~  / aus ~ )

    • in principle I agree with you, but not in every detail / on principle I only buy organic food

  • Probezeit

    • proving period

  • Publikum – beim Publikum ankommen

    • come across 

      • The way the government comes across in the media .....


  • Quassler / Plappermaul

    • blabber   

      • Even in mobile-phone-free cars on Amtrak commuter trains mobile phone blabbers cannot be avoided.


  • rammen (von hinten ein Auto ~ )

    • to rearend a car

      • Erin rearended me coming home from the shore after prom, so I lost my car and was
        driving a shitty rental for 3 months. / She was rearended by a car pulling a boat while she was stopped at a red light at Lehigh Gap.

  • Randgruppenangehörige

    • eventuell: neets

      • young people not in education, employment or training

  • reden (sich selber zu gerne ~ hören)

    • to be too fond of the sound of one's own voice

  • Redlichkeit (intellektuelle ~)

    • intellectual rectitude

  • Reflexhandlung

    • a knee-jerk reaction  

  • Regeln (es mit den ~ nicht so genau nehmen / sich nicht sklavisch an die ~ halten / auch: frei mit den Regeln umgehen)

    • to bend the rules  

      • Some people just like to bend the rules. / I'm a bit of a risk taker sometimes,
        and I tend to bend the rules, but I've never actually crossed the line. / Whether it is a new toy, an extra cookie or staying up late, grandparents tend to bend the rules for their little loved ones.

  • Reha (ich werde in Reha sein)

    • I'll be in rehab for the next three weeks.

  • Reibach machen

    • cash in on  

      • You'll need nerve to cash in on Saudi's booming stocks








                                                                                                                      This quiz last updated March 11, 2019

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