Nullachtfuenfzehn | Word of the Week | DW | 14.09.2011
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Word of the Week

Nullachtfuenfzehn

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

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There are many ways to express mediocrity in the German language, perhaps the most colorful of which is the term "08/15." Its origins can be traced to a German machine gun introduced during the First World War. The gun was standard issue and part of the repetitive drills the soldiers had to do. Thus, the 08/15 machine gun became a synonym for daily routine, for nothing special or out of the ordinary. The trusty and reliable 08/15 also served in the Second World War, but by that time it had been outclassed by newer models. The term gained notoriety in the 1950s after author Hans Hellmut Kirst published three popular novels using it in the titles.

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