Word of the Week: Karambolage [kaʀamboˈlaːʒə]

Noun. Karambolage refers to a car crash, particularly multivehicle pileups. Originally from the French game carambole, an older version of billiards played with three balls and no pockets.

The goal of the game is to score points by making shots that have your cue ball carom (collide) with the other two balls.

Like the Viennese terms Kanalforelle (rat,lit. sewer trout), Holzpyjama (coffin, lit. wooden pajamas) or Engerlmocher (archaic. backstreet abortionist,lit. angel maker) Karambolage has a very charming way to describe something rather unpleasant.

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.

But Austrians may nod approvingly if you put together a coherent sentence, harmonizing the Akkusativpronomen correctly with the subject. But they’ll love you if you enrich your vocabulary with just one word of Wienerisch. 

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.

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