The “Best Gift to the German Language” is…

There are times when our current collection of words and expressions do not have the appropriate descriptive power for a given context. In cases such as these, we have a lexical gap that begs to be filled. Sometimes coining a new word altogether will suffice, but borrowing words from another language is also fair game.

The latter was the method of choice in Germany for defining:

a public outcry, primarily on the internet, in which arguments mix with threats and insults to reach a critical mass, forcing a reaction.

While English, particularly the American variety, has an appropriate candidate to fill this role, the German language did not…until recently. The German “Anglicism of the Year” jury chose the word shitstorm as its winner for 2011.

The jury explained:

Shitstorm fills a gap in the German vocabulary that has become apparent through changes in the culture of public debate.

Read more here.

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