The “energy transition” from nonrenewable energy sources to a sustainable-power economy.

Update on 16 Jul 2013: After Germany began its phaseout of nuclear power by shutting down eight of its seventeen nuclear power plants in 2011 and yet was a net exporter of electricity in 2012 e.g. to France, which kept its nuclear power plants but suffered brownouts, German utility companies are now indicating they are considering shutting down dozens of coal and gas power plants as well because they are not profitable enough in the current renewable energy boom. Power plant operators want to be paid by the government for keeping the power plants available as backups, despite supply-driven reductions in their electricity selling prices. The Bundesnetzagentur can however force them by law to keep the power plants restartable, sans compensation.

(En erg EE venn deh.)


The Batrachomyomachia, the “Battle of Frogs and Mice,” is a humorous parody of the Iliad that was probably written two thousand years ago.

(Froh sh MOY zeh kreeg.)


Nightmarish, oppressive, disturbing.

(Beh CLEM end.)


Concerned, affected, shocked, afflicted, struck aback by something.

(Beh TROFF en.)

nicht päpstlicher sein als der Papst

“Don’t be popier than the Pope.” Don’t be too good.

(Nicked PAPES tickler z eye n else der POPST.)


Vaticanery. Up to no Vatican good.

(VOT ee CON er EE.)


Vaticanologist. Someone who follows the Vatican.

(VOT ee con oh LO geh.)

Keine Feier ohne Meier

“No celebrations without Meier.” Title of a 1932 movie about a guy who ran a combination marriage bureau and divorce service.

(Kine eh FIRE oh neh MY er.)


A period between 1815 and 1848 when the arts in central Europe changed to reflect wealthy non-aristocrats’ sensibilities. Initially, designs went from rococo to clean lines. I’ve always thought of this word as being composed of bieder and Meyer, the last name used as a metaphor for the common man.

(BEE der MY er.)


Stuffy, staid, conservative, tame, unadventurous.

(BEE der.)


Bellyacher, crab, crank, curmudgeon, grumbler, sourpuss.

(GREEZ grom.)

österreichischer Schmäh

The Austrian, um, schmäh. Dark, usually delivered with a smile. An oppositional attitude. Can be a bit misanthropic. May include surface-level humor and  life-affirming melancholy.

(UHST er rike ish er SHMAY.)


Begrudgingly, unwillingly, reluctantly, resentfully, enviously, bitterly, indignantly, and, oh yes, with a feeling of ill will.

(Miss GUN er ish.)


“Oversharpened,” but it means exaggerated.

(OO ber shpits st.)


To muse, ponder, brood, cogitate, mull, ruminate, dwell over, fret.

(GRUE bell n.)


“Life capability/competence/efficiency/proficiency.” Viability. Ability to sustain its own life. May require philosophy and enjoyable rituals.

(LAY benz TOO k tick ight.)



“Cares child,” “worries child.” Your problem child.

(ZORE gen kinned.)

von der Substanz leben

“Living off the substance.” Consuming the principle rather than the interest. Eating the seeds for next year’s crop.

(Fon der soob STONTS lay ben.)


Burdened by property or ownership. “What you have, has you.”

(Beh ZITS buh lost ett.)

Finanzmarktstabilisierungsanstalt, FMSA

“Financial market stabilization institution.” From the SoFFin acronym, which stands for Sonderfonds Finanzmarktstabilisierung Finanzmarktstabilisierungsanstalt. SoFFin was founded in 2008 to stabilize struggling banks.

Update on 16 Jul 2013: Between 01 Jan and 30 Jun 2013, the German taxpayer-supported SoFFin fund paid out ~18 billion euros in aid, ~17 billion being in the form of Eigenkapitalhilfe [equity assistance? does this translation apply for banks?], which, ZDF heute journal reported, Hypo Real Estate benefitted most from, followed by Commerzbank and WestLB successor Portigon.

(Fee NONTS mark t shtah beel ee zeer oongs ON shtoll t.)


The new “Market Transparency Office,” under the auspices of the German Federal Cartell Authority. The MTO is intended to gather and evaluate data from electricity companies and especially gas stations to ensure there is no price fixing. These data will not be shared with the public. It is not clear whether this new office will be functional or grandstanding.

Update on 12 Sep 2013: Starting today, drivers will have access to the price data ~13,000 German gas stations have been sending to the federal cartel authority [Bundeskartellamt] since 31 Aug 2013. The bundled data are forwarded to several phone apps and “registered consumer protection centers” or “consumer portals” drivers can use to compare gas station prices in real time; price changes are updated to the market transparency office every five minutes. Beta testing is scheduled to end 01 Dec 2013.

The following consumer portals have been approved for this so far:






Spiegel.de reported another eight “information services” have been approved to help share the price data with consumers and another hundred have applied for approval.

The Green party called this a placebo office, criticizing inter alia that it does not fix inflationary pricing malheurs committed by the refineries (which have the same ownership as some large gas station chains in some cases). Also, it doesn’t cover all fuels or 100% of the market because the smallest gas stations can apply to be exempted. Germany has about 14,000 gas stations, so ~1000 are not participating as the service is launched.

(MARKED trons par ENTS shtell ah.)

e.V., eingetragener Verein

“Registered association

(Eh f OW!.)


“Fury citizen,” a voter filled with frustration and anger at the bad decisions made over his or her head by elected and selected officials. This neologism was voted 2010’s German Word of the Year by the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache e.V.

(VOOT burgher.)


“Historian error,” a.k.a. outcome bias. Hindsight.

(Hiss TOR ick er EAR toom.)

Kröten schlucken

Swallowing toads. When you have to accept unpleasant things.

(CRUT en shlook en.)

über die Wupper gehen lassen

“Let something go down the Wupper river.” Let something break, die, go bankrupt.

(OO bur dee VOOP er gay hen loss en.)


Squeeze money out of someone. Also, a cupping treatment used in the Middle Ages.

(SHRUP fen.)


“To hit until dead.” To beat to death, batter to death, smite, strike dead.

(TOTE shlog en.)


To scrimp, scant, stint and otherwise be stingy. Some say this is now “in.”

(C NOW zer n.)


Debt haircut.

(SHOOL den shnit.)

die Bonzen

The fat cats, bigwigs, big shots, big wheels, mandarins.

(Dee BONE tsen.)

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