Word of the Week: Holler [ˈhɔlɐ]

Noun. 1. Austrian alternate name for Holunder (elderberry, or sambucus); Commonly found in these parts, the fruits of this tree are quite tasty but it is the sweet nectar of their blossoms that is particularly prized: Boiled down to a syrup, it is then mixed with water (either still or carbonated) or added to a Weißer Spritzer as a refreshing summer drink.

2. A slang term for something stupid or pointless or simply a pack of lies; roughly analogous to horse feathers, claptrap, poppycock, hogwash, tomfoolery and similar colorful terms for a load of you know what. While much older, the term was re-popularized by former Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern (in office 2016-2017), who famously derided his then-Foreign Minister and eventual successor Sebastian Kurz’s plan to shut down the so-called “Mediterranean refugee route” as populistic Vollholler (total baloney). The folksy term was quickly embraced by Austrians of all stripes, and was even declared 2017’s Austrian Word of the Year by the Forschungstelle Österreichisches Deutsch in Graz.

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