Word of the Week: pflanzen [ˈp͡flant͡sn̩]

Verb. 1. As any German dictionary will tell you, pflanzen means to plant something – either flora (as in planting herbs or petunias) or objects (as in “planting your feet”); a Pflanze is simply a “plant.”

2. As any Wiener will tell you, the far more fun definition of pflanzen is “to mess with,” “to make a fool of,” “to pull the wool over,” “to screw with” or “take the piss out of” something. A Pflanz (no “e” at the end!) is therefore a hoax, swindle, rip-off or prank. The origin of the term is unclear, but planting season never ends in Austria – especially in politics. And you’re likely to hear an exasperated “Wüst mi pflanzen?” (“Are you for real?”) year-round.

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