German Words of the Week: Scheißen / Schießen

I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while, but one of my New Years’ resolutions is to revive the blog. Going to try to make it more regular.

Today’s German words of the week are probably familiar even to some of the non-German-Powered®. They are:

Scheißen (SHY-sin): to shit.

Schießen (SHE-sin): to shoot.

You can see the blunt Germanic roots of our Anglo-Saxon English. In German, you always pronounce ie or ‘ie’ according to which letter comes last. Weiner is VIGH-nehr. Wiener ist VEE-nur.

By the way, that ß is called, in German, the esszet. (ess-tzett) It looks like a stray bit of Thai. Foreigners love it almost as much as umlauts. The last reform of written German reduced the use of ß, which I found regrettable. Some people even want to ban it entirely. I say to them: you can have my ß when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Where was I? Oh right the shoot/shit scheißen/schießen confusion potentialHere is a picture of a news brief from a Facebook feed called “Pearls of Local Journalism”, which collects gaffes from local news:


The translation:

No Medals for Ski-Hunters

Yesterday, the German men’s biathlon team failed during shitting. Today, the women are expected to make up for it. Page 19

It did require some tedious explanation, but it was worth it, no?

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