Category Archives: They Have a Word For It

WORDS QUICKPOST: Plunderbund

Plunderbund [Dutch]: Group or alliance of financial or political interests that exploits the public. Noun.

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist or a communist to appreciate this descriptive word, for there isn’t any doubt that criminals and capitalists, politicos and commissars, bankers and monopolists, guilds and cabals, have always conspired to stop stealing from one another long enough to fleece the greater population. Whether the scam is a pyramid scheme or high-priced shoddy products, the idea is the same: “Let’s get together and take the suckers for as much as the market will bear.” The next time you need a word to describe this kind of conspiracy, use plunderbund (PLOON-dur-boond).

– They Have a Word For It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslateable Words and PhrasesHoward Rheingold. (p. 132-33)

WORDS QUICKPOST: Bettschwere

Bettschwere [German]: A state of consciousness too ponderous for anything but sleep. Noun.

Have you ever awakened on a day off, remember that you had made plans to get out and enjoy yourself, but ended up just gazing out the window at the bright, clear, inviting day before turning over ab going back to sleep, breathing a guiltless sigh in your delicious torpor? This peculiarly decadent frame of mind is not the kind of exhaustion that comes from hard work or lack of sleep. It is simply, as the Germans say, a state of “bed heaviness”  – Bettschwere (BET-shvare-eh) – in which you realise you are temporarily feeling too heavy to perform anything as mentally and physically demanding as getting out of bed.

– They Have a Word For It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslateable Words and PhrasesHoward Rheingold. (p. 150-151)

WORDS QUICKPOST: Tartle

Tartle [Scottish]: To hesitate in recognising a person or thing. Verb.

We have all found ourselves, at least once, in the embarrassing position of talking to somebody who has been introduce before but whose name temporarily escapes all attempts at recall. If you recover quickly enough to avoid terminal embarrassment and remember the name of your fellow partygoer or business acquaintence, you have committed an act common enough for the Scottish people to have coined a word for it: They would say that you tartled (TAR-tul).

– They Have a Word For It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslateable Words and PhrasesHoward Rheingold. (p. 39)