Word of the Week: Holzpyjama [ˈhɔlt͡sˌpiˈd͡ʒaːma]

Noun. A coffin. Lit. “wooden pajamas.” Used in phrases like an Hoizpitschama ågmessn (to get measured for wooden pajamas) or sich ins Holzpyjama haun (to hop into a wooden pajama), it is one of the many, many colorful Viennese euphemisms related to death. While much has been made of the city’s preoccupation with shuffling off this mortal coil, it is not uncommon in other cultures to discuss mortality with humorous idioms that downplay innate fears – Vienna’s wooden sleepwear can thus be considered roughly analogous to English terms like “the big sleep,” “popping one’s clogs,” or “cashing in one’s chips.”

No matter how well you speak German, the Word Of The Week will help you impress any Viennese! While learning German is not an easy task in general, learning the language in Austria can come to be twice as complicated.

Strongly linked to local cultural individualities, the slangs change and evolve in all cultures around the world, the words and phrases make sense only when one is familiar with their cultural context. The Word of the Week is here to help you understand those singularities and impress the locals with some real Viennese words and expressions.

The Word of the Week can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Spread the word!

Leave a Comment