By Ariel Scotti / December 7, 2018

The American Curse Word Angela Merkel Slipped into a Speech

Not all English words have an exact German translation.

Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had little fun during a recent speech. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel used a popular Americanism to get her point across this week while speaking at a technology conference.

Merkel was in the middle of a self-deprecating anecdote about being widely mocked online five years ago after for describing the internet as an expanse of “uncharted territory,” The New York Times explained.

“It generated quite a sh-tstorm,” she said, using the English term — because Germans, apparently, do not have an equivalent.

The leader’s frank moment set off another flurry of online reactions, but, as the Times pointed out, it’s not the first time Merkel used the word. It’s been integrated into the German vernacular to such an extent that the country’s official dictionary, the Duden, made an entry for it in 2013, noting its English origin.

The German use of the word, however, is limited to usage when discussing the internet. By definition, “sh-tstorm” denotes a “storm of outrage” online, specifically.

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