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Image: Bilderbox

Geheimratsecken

Learn a funny, quirky German word each week with DW's Word of the Week feature. This week: Geheimratsecken.

https://p.dw.com/p/RlFv

At first glance, the old German term for receding hair -- "Geheimratsecken" -- looks rather ridiculous, since it bears uncanny similarity to the German words meaning "secret rat's corners." Actually, the word has a much different meaning dating back several hundred years. "Rat" in this case does not come from "Ratte" (rat) but refers to the "Geheimer Rat," an old German administrative council that advised the ruler and was likely made up of old men with long foreheads. "Geheimratsecken," therefore, started out as a designation for the balding heads of aging politicians, but nows refer to any man's thinning pate.