Rotzlöffel | Word of the Week | DW | 24.04.2014
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Word of the Week


Stop that right now, you snot nosed brat!

It's lunch time in the family dining room, but just as everyone starts to dig in, the youngest person at the table flings a spoon across the room. Then a handful of spinach soars through the air and slops against the wall. Mom and dad look up in horror. They scold the child, but the brat just laughs.

In Germany, some might be inclined to call this little terror a Rotzlöffel. The word describes someone that simply can't behave themselves, even at family meal times. They are disobedient, cheeky, and take no time at all to get on your nerves. Most of the time, they do it just for fun.

Although Rotzlöffel is made up of the words Rotz (snot) and Löffel (spoon), the term actually comes from the ancient word, "Laffe." Laffe also means "spoon," but it was previously used as a derogatory term for impertinent individuals.

It has little to do with the curved eating utensil. If the brat in question is naughty enough, perhaps he or she will get the wooden spoon - but spanking won't solve the problem, whether you're dealing with a small brat or a fully grown one.

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