Versemmeln | Word of the Week | DW | 18.06.2013
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Word of the Week


How crumby is your bread?

When you think of bread crumbs and Germany, Hänsel and Gretel will probably come to mind. Leaving a trail of them in the woods, they were captured by a wicked witch who wanted to eat them up. But since they eventually got away and lived happily ever after, their adventure is far from the German word versemmeln.

While it means to really screw something up, the term is derived from Semmel - a simple, harmless bread roll. However, once a piece of bread has been broken or sliced, it's impossible to put it back together again. If you versemmeln something, you've really mucked it up.

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