German Advent Calendar 19 – I swear, honey!

Yourdailyf-ingerman Assvent Cucklander

“I swear, honey!”

♥♥^♥♥^♥♥+♥♥♥

Hello everyone,

happy 4th Advent and welcome back to our Advent Calendar.
And behind this door is the German word for something that’s part of the later stages of many a Christmas dinner.
Because at some point, the conversation will pivot toward … politics. Or the ‘rona. Or someone’s life choices. Or just some old baggage from last year. Things get heated quickly (and I don’t mean the food) and especially if alcohol is involved, it is only a matter of time till someone starts with what we’ll look at today:

fluchen

 

And I think you might have guessed it.
fluchen means to curse.

The origin of fluchen is the pathetically ancient Indo-European root *plāg-. The very core of that root was actually beating, a meaning that is still alive for instance in the word plectrum – the thing you “beat” the strings of your guitar with.
But very early on, the root took on the sense of crying, lamenting. Which doesn’t seem connected at all, until you think of this dramatic movie lamenting where people pound their fists against the wall or their chest.
That’s where the meaning came from, and it’s the origin of а Slavic stem for crying (like тхе Bulgarian плача for example), and of the Latin plangere, which we find in the Romance languages as to cry and which is also the base of the English to complain.

And that’s also where German fluchen is from. Sure, it is a bit on the “angrier” side, as Yoda would say “Anger of expression an grief is.”
Wait… is that right? Anyway, you get the idea.

Now, since we’re talking origin, let’s also look at the English side real quick, because that’s also quite interesting. It’s not entirely sure where the verb to curse comes from, but one theory connects it to course and the Latin verb cursus and it might have started have started from the idea of saying a set of daily liturgical prayers. And especially in Italian, cursing does involve a LOT of religious words, so that would make a lot of sense.

Jesus Christ, can we NOT argue at Christmas dinner for once?!

I mean… the only difference really between this being cursing and this being a prayer is tone.
And the other word, swearing – well, that’s a weird one as well.

“Honey, swear you’ll never leave me!”
“Okay… I’ll never f***in leave you, for f***’s sake.”

I mean… we really only know what it means from context.
The connection here is probably the use of sacred names while actually swearing something, and then, as the names got used for cursing, the verb to swear took on that meaning as well.

Anyway, time to get back to modern day German.
And today, fluchen generally means to curse in the sense of throwing around swear words.

  • “Why are you swearing?”
    “My pancakes are burned again.”
  • “Warum fluchst du denn?”
    “Meine Pfannkuchen sind schon wieder verbrannt.”
  • Mein Uberfahrer hat die ganze Zeit geflucht.
  • My uberdriver was cursing, swearing the entire time.

The noun der Fluch, however, is a bit different, because its main meaning is the curse in the more “witchy” sense. Like, what the evil queen did to Snow White in Disney’s famous movie… Lion King.

  • Geld kann ein Fluch und ein Segen sein.
  • Money can be a curse and a blessing.

And the verb for this type of cursing is verfluchen.

  • Ich verfluche dich!
  • I curse you!
  • “Ich.. ich glaube die Katze ist verflucht.”
    “Nee, ich habe ihr nur Kaffee ins Essen gemischt.”
  • “I… I think the cat is cursed.”
    “Nah, I just mixed coffee into its food.”

And speaking of verflucht – that can also be used as a colloquial intensifier.

  • Wow, das ist verflucht lecker.
  • Wow, that is damn tasty.

Not very common, but you could give it a try at Christmas dinner… you know… makes for a nice foreshadowing for later when you talk about vaccine mandates and fun stuff :).

And I think that’s it for today.
If you have any questions or suggestions about fluchen just leave me a comment.
Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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patrik.osgnach
patrik.osgnach
2 months ago

And especially in Italian, cursing does involve a LOT of religious words, so that would make a lot of sense”
As an Italian guy have to comment on this :D
While you can hear such kind of cursing everywhere in Italy, it is more common only in few special regions… where some people use it as Interpunktion :D
I come from one of these regions, BTW

patrik.osgnach
patrik.osgnach
2 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I come from Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Now I live and work in Kärnten and sometimes I use these curse words also in office, taking for granted that no one understands them… but some of my Austrian colleagues, when they are pissed off, they say something in German and throw in also some of these religious curse expressions for good measure :D

I feel a bit bad :D

Lesia Waschuk
Lesia Waschuk
5 months ago

Das Artikel war sehr interessant.

Ebaa
Ebaa
5 months ago

Super. Vielen Dank

Starbuck
Starbuck
5 months ago

In what type of situations would it be acceptable to use verflucht as an intensifier? Is it strong like swearing or is it something kids would say?

Starbuck
Starbuck
5 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Thanks! Btw, I always subscribe after I have posted a comment but i never get an email when you reply, only when other readers post comments. So when i come to read their comments then i check if you have also replied but it’s awkward because your replies are really the main thing i want to know about ^^

Alan
Alan
5 months ago

Das Einhorn brachte das Eichhörnchen zum Fluchen. Indem er sich auf den Kopf scheißet. Es schoss das Einhorn mit einer Haselnuss. Und schwor, ihn zurückzubekommen.

Alan
Alan
5 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Yes, we say, ‘get him back’.
I quite like the notion of a unicorn shitting on its own head. That would be athletic!

Jake
Jake
5 months ago

Are fluchen and flüchten related?

Have you considered having an auction where the winner gets to choose the adverb describing how ancient a word’s root is?

If I swear/curse at someone, is that jdn anfluchen? Hmm, I guess dict.cc says that doesn’t exist. Beschimpfen?

Jake
Jake
5 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Cool, thanks. By auction, I meant something like a kickstarter, where say for $500 one can decide that “überraschen” comes from the *barbarically* ancient root …

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
5 months ago
Reply to  Jake

Or fluchen comes from the *accursedly* ancient root…

Hawk
Hawk
5 months ago

Thank you from the bottom of my heart guys for sponsoring me ;D

Georg
Georg
5 months ago

Toll! Danke!

Es ist ja ein verfluchter Artikel! (wie beim Essen) :)))

Peter B
Peter B
5 months ago

It seems like this is not related to “plague”, which surprises me

Ana Emilia
Ana Emilia
5 months ago

I just got my membership thanks to generous community members who paid extra for scholarships. Hopefully one day when my economical situation is better I can return the favor by helping others. Viele Grüße to those members and Emanuel for supporting those of us who can’t afford it!! <3

Gray Standen
Gray Standen
5 months ago

Re Calendar 19, look at Grimm’s Law on Wikipedia, which comments on the change from ‘p’ to ‘f’.

amerikanskan
amerikanskan
5 months ago

Ok, here’s the thing: I have the concentration capacity of a goldfish: 2 seconds later and it’s a whole new bowl…

So, a few days ago I posted a query (THOUGHT under the synonym Türchen) asking you to explain the diff between spüren, wahrnehmen, empfinden and fühlen oder, anfühlen – es fühlt sich si/so an…

My goldfish memory keeps telling me to look for your possible reply in the synonym-türchen feed but I’m not finding the reply NOR my question. This is NOT to stress you into replying, it’s your site, you decide to whom you reply, but if you have replied, could you gimme a heads up as to where – can’t find it. Wondering if it got sent or if I only sent it in my vivid fantasy. It smells like I sent it…

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri
5 months ago

Ich verfluche nichts, niemandem, sogar dieses verdammt hässliches Virus in diesen Zustand! Am Morgen kommt
Die längsten Nacht des Jahres, Wintersonnenwende , die Slostice des Winter . Das All ist in Schwung .Dann kommt weiter Weihnachtsnacht. Es ist eine flüchtige Zeit für Zusammenhielt, Freude und Friede an eure chaotischen Welt .
Be Blessed you all.
Bis Morgen

Olga
Olga
5 months ago
Reply to  Ahmad Mazaheri

Das ist gut, dass Du niemand(en)Akk verfluchst.
Alles Gute Dir, Ahmad

stee pedro stee
stee pedro stee
5 months ago

i guess it’s a german christmas tradition. i caught planet der affen (1968) on tv the other night.

when taylor sees the statue on the beach and proceeds to pound the sand, he laments, »Ihr Wahnsinnigen! Ihr habt die Erde in die Luft gesprengt! Ich verfluche euch! Ich verfluche euch, euch alle!«

the original: “You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

and to all a good night

Elsa
Elsa
5 months ago

Hallo,
Ich hoffe, dass du über diese Typos mich nicht verfluchst!
“of you guitar with” (of your guitar with)
“people pound there fist against” (people pound their fists against)
“might have started have started from the idea” (one have started too many – lol)
“Kaffee ins essen gemischt” (Kaffee ins Essen gemischt – OMG (another religious term), I found one in German… LOL)
“leave me a comments” (leave me a comments)

Dieses Artikel hat mich erinnert an eine CD von Nino de Angelo, die “Gesegnet und Verflucht heißt!

Schönen Sonntag und bis Morgen!

DEmberton
DEmberton
5 months ago

Eine kleine Korrektur: Mein Uberfahrer hat die ganze Fahrt geflucht – Im Audio ist es Zeit statt Fahrt.

Übrigens würde ich niemals als Engländer “to curse” verwenden, es sei denn, es bedeutet das, was eine Hexe macht. Schimpfwörter zu nutzen = to swear.

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
5 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Für Amerikaner gibt es den Unterschied nicht wirklich. Cuss ist Umgangssprache bzw. Dialekt und bedeutet eindeutig dasselbe wie swear (im Sinne von use profanity). Aber “curse words” und “swear words” sind z.B. völlig austauschbar.

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
5 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ja genau. Aber es bedeutet nur fluchen, nie verfluchen.

Amerikanskan
Amerikanskan
5 months ago

Ich bin seit meinem Geburt verflucht. Wahrscheinlich von einer der bösen Feen auf der Mütterliche Seite, und zwar: ich bekomme alles was ich mir wünsche. Ja, aber NIEMALS, so als ich es gedacht habe, sondern auf eine komische Weise, das meine Wünsche erfüllt, aber mir auch gleichseitig maximal Mist baut.

Kein Scheiß.

amerikanskan
amerikanskan
5 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Kannst du den Stoff an Disney verkaufen, bekommst du 18%.

Amerikanskan
Amerikanskan
5 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Don’t forget a snowman or teapot that talk. And dance. And sing.

rb2739
rb2739
5 months ago

Ich werde heute den ganzen Tag fluchen, weil ich plötzlich nicht nach Deutschland reisen kann. Ich hatte alles f**** vorbereitet, Fähre, Winterreifen….ich bin fast sprachlos (außer Schimpfwörter) Weihnachten ist f**** vorbei!!!

DEmberton
DEmberton
5 months ago
Reply to  rb2739

Ja – die Lage ist plötzlich wieder Schieße geworden ;-(.

DEmberton
DEmberton
5 months ago
Reply to  DEmberton

Natürlich wollte ich Scheiße schrieben. ;-)

Alison
Alison
5 months ago

And schwören also meaning to swear in a legal sense.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ich lese schnell und nicht so gut.

“Cuss” is slang for “curse”. We say “cursing” because we’re “damning” someone or thing (or done similar act). It’s like we’re putting a curse on that thing/person. I suppose swearing is similar. We’re declaring something.
Camille