Word of the Week: wuzeln [ˈvuːt͡sl̩n]

Verb. To move in a twisting or rotating fashion. Orig. unclear, but presumably onomatopoeia. In practice, this root meaning has three derivatives in common parlance: 1. To maneuver by twisting and turning, usually through a crowd (Er hat sich durch das Gedränge gewuzelt – he moved through the jostling masses). 2. To roll a cigarette (Er wuzelte sich eine Tschick – he rolled a cig). 3. To play foosball (table soccer) – as the game consists entirely of rotating rods with football player figures attached in an attempt to shoot the ball into your opponent’s goal, the name is fitting. With tables frequently found in student dives and Gasthäuser throughout the country, wuzeln remains a popular pastime, with many establishments holding regular tournaments. A Wuzzler is therefore a foosball table – not to be confused with a Wurlitzer, a manufacturer fairground and theaterorgans and later jukeboxes which became a genericized name for the latter in Austria and Germany.

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