Aufbrezeln | Word of the Week | DW | 24.04.2012
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Word of the Week

Aufbrezeln

Feel like putting on the Ritz?

Feel like putting on the Ritz? Marlene Dietrich certainly did...

Feel like putting on the Ritz? Marlene Dietrich certainly did...

Well, Marlene Dietrich certainly did. Back from the brink of extinction, the term aufbrezeln is enjoying a bit of a renaissance amongst German youth. It's a slang term meaning "to get dolled up" or, as one German definition would have it, "artificial embellishment with the aim of improving presentability." The German word Brezel, to Anglophones a pretzel, comes from the Latin brascilla, meaning thin arms. It came to be a symbol of infinity. Ultimately, aufbrezeln describes the endless and futile efforts to, well, improve our "presentability." After all, no matter how much lipstick you apply, it will inevitably remain temporary. Who'd have thought that the act of getting ready for a party could be so philosophical?

Author: Helen Whittle
Editor: Kate Bowen

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