Abstauben | Word of the Week | DW | 21.05.2013
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Word of the Week


Some household chores are easier than others.

In Germany, dusting the house is actually rather easy - you don't need a duster or even any elbow grease. In German, the verb abstauben (meaning "to dust") is also used to describe the receiving of something special without much effort.

A person who is given lots of gifts or even manages to get a great discount on a purchase has, as the Germans say, done a great job dusting - similar to how the phrase "to clean up" is applied in English. The verb is also frequently used in soccer when a player is serendipitously handed a clear shot at goal and scores.

But it's not all about good fortune and happenstance. The verb abstauben can also used colloquially to mean "to be on the scrounge" or to obtain something in a devious or dishonest manner.

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