backpfeifengesicht

I love learning new words.  Sometimes, when I discover a new source/newspaper/website/author with the lovely gift of diction, I’ll find myself on dictionary hunts to unearth a new word’s meaning.  And yes, I know you can use context clues, but sometimes – I want to know the established meaning.  Not only because words can be misused (even in print – gasp!), but so I can learn alternate meanings as well.  Yes, I am a true word-nerd.

Today, I came across an article with words that have no English equivalent.  As I scrolled through the list, I found a word that I’ve needed since I was a little girl with scuffed knees staring down a very annoying boy – backpfeifengesicht.

Now, I should tell you – I took German in college, I studied abroad in Vienna for a term, and I’ve read a glorious slang book to get a better feel for the language that classrooms always seem to skip.  But never – never! until this morning did I come across a word that so eloquently describes how I felt about one person for years (many years).

Let me explain: backpfeifengesicht is a face in dire need of a slap.

Yes! <insert semi-evil, second-cup-of-coffee-fueled laugh>

Think about it:  in your childhood and I’m sure in the years since, you’ve come across someone who really gets under your skin.  Why? Is it chemical?  Is it their personality?  Is it that the person in question once threw bags of pee (of pee!!) at a house you were in?  YES.  But it’s more than that – friends, it’s also that he had some serious resting backpfeifengesicht.

But not to worry, I never slapped him, even though he definitely did throw bags of pee at a house. (I have often wondered about the bags of pee though.  Did they transport them far? If so, did the bags spill?  Did the bags hopefully spill on them when they threw them at the house?  Also, I’m so glad they didn’t use poop.)

Instead years later, my sister teased me about my infamous dislike of this person and goaded me in writing a very fictional romance novel about characters who – you guessed it – hated each other since childhood.  And it was the most enjoyable and easy book I’ve every written.  🙂  But, the hero I created in this novel was not at all like the pee-person (because eww, of course not – did you not hear me? He threw pee at a house!!).  Instead, the hero bore a strange resemblance to a man I wouldn’t meet until years after the book was finished.  But that’s a story for another day…

Anyway – here’s to learning new words and to creating stories with them in mind or as a result of learning them.  Keep reading & discovering! 🙂

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