This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Word To Use Today: fingerspitzengefuhl

I came across this word for the first time just last week in an article about economics.*

Fingerspitzengefühl. (The first g sounds like the g in singer, the second g like the one in get, and the word ends up fool.) 

This is a German word, obviously, and it means...well, it means Fingerspitzengefühl, and the fact there isn't an English word for it is the reason why English has pinched it. 

Fingerspitzengefühl partly describes having your finger on the pulse of a situation (it might be used of a general in a battle, or of a very skilled footballer). It means being able to react instinctively and effectively to any developing situation. But there's also an idea of tact and sensitivity, too (not something usually connected with either generals or footballers in full flow). 

I suppose fingerspitzengefuhl means being so much on top of a situation that you have some attention left over to keep the troops happy.

It's interesting, isn't it, that German has a word for that sort of thing and English hasn't needed it until now. But whether that's down to incompetence, lack of respect, or modesty, I leave it to yourself to determine.

File:Fingers Crossed.jpg
photo by Mjt16

Word To Consider Today: Fingerspitzengefühl. This word comes from the German words Finger, which means, yes, finger, Spitze, tip, and Gefühl, which means feeling.

*I love reading articles about economics, even though I don't understand what they're on about most of the time and I'm not even really interested in economics. 

I suppose that must make sense in some way, but if it does I don't know how.

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