Word of the Week: Blechtrottel [blɛçˈtʁɔtl̩]

Noun. Blechtrottel refers to a computer or similar device. A compound of Blech (sheet metal) and Trottel (idiot, moron, tool), these “tinpan nitwits” have been annoying Austrians struggling to keep up with modernity’s pace since the 1970s – as it is obvious that stupid contraption’s fault for not working in the desired fashion, and never the clueless user.

Blech is also slang for something nonsensical or worthless, as well as a self-deprecating term for medals of honor (due to their material). Therefore, the term is also occasionally used for athletes who make 4th place, i.e., earning sheet metal as opposed to gold, silver, or bronze. This applies particularly to skiers, where expectations are higher – while Austrians have grown accustomed to an underachieving national football team, being an also-ran on the slopes is absolutely unforgivable!

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