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The crass English word that officially took Germany by storm

Posting in Energy

Language exchange. Chancellor Angela Merkel is among the many users of the new German word which the country has imported from the U.S. That's Merkel and husband Joachim Sauer welcoming a couple of clean-talking Americans to Baden-Baden in 2009.

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Want to learn how to speak German? Well, let's ease you in with a little vocabulary. Repeat after me: shitstorm.

Yes, the English vulgarism is now officially part of the language in Deutschland where the official dictionary, Duden, has embedded it among the S's.

The move reflects the country's "common use of the word," by everyone from Chancellor Angela Merkel on down, the BBC reported, noting that, "When Chancellor Merkel used it at a public meeting, nobody batted an eyelid."

It's been a good couple of years for shitstorm in Germany. Language experts voted it "Anglicism of the Year" in 2012, greasing the skids for its fresh arrival in Duden, which is the German equivalent of the Oxford English Dictionary.

The word denotes "public outcry," of which there have been many in recent times, including the controversy that has raged over how to handle the Eurozone crisis and the resignation of former Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg amid a plagiarism scandal.

When the word won its award in 2012, jury member Michael Mann told The Local newspaper that "this new kind of protest is clearly different in kind and degree from what could be expected in the past in response to a statement or action." At the time, the jury noted that, "Shitstorm fills a gap in the Germany vocabulary that has become apparent through changes in the culture of public debate." It added that established German words, such as kritik (criticism), were not descriptive enough, The Local explained.

According to the BBC, the Germans brought the phrase over from the U.S., not from the U.K. Now how the f**k does the BBC know that?

Photo form Lawrence Jackson, White House photographer, via Wikimedia

Note: Watch for my report soon on a nuclear version of one of these storms that has hit Germany. -MH

More words on SmartPlanet:

— By on July 2, 2013, 7:25 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure