Friday, March 04, 2011


Five days each week I receive an email from A.Word.A.Day, which contains a word, its definition, usage and a quotation. This week, the theme is words borrowed from German. I don't think I'd heard of even one.

I was tickled by one word - siztfleisch (you can read the etymology below). In English we would say, "stick-to-it-ive-ness" which in itself is not a word. When I mentioned this word on my Facebook page, my mother, who grew up in a German-speaking home, said that her father told his children that "sitzfleisch" was lacking. A cousin said that her father would say this to her at the dinner table. 

Whether in English or German, I've been applying the concept this week to my studies. I have a goal for finishing my degree that going to require some serious "sitzfleisch" to accomplish. That, combined with lots of welcome weekend company has cut into my blogging and photography time. 

Sitzfleisch, in the sense of "sitting out a problem - ignore it long enough in the hope it will go away" is also becoming my attitude towards the weather around here lately. Snow, rain, sun, wind, frost, slush, hail - you name it, we've had it this week. So I'll apply sitzfleisch to waiting out the winter.

This morning when I put out the recycle containers, I noticed a small cluster of color underneath a tree. I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots. These pretty little irises brightened up my day. Did you notice the stem in the front growing up through a dead leaf? Now that's sitzfleisch!


(SITZ-flaish, ZITS-) 
1. The ability to sit through or tolerate something boring.
2. The ability to endure or persist in a task. 

[From German Sitzfleisch, from sitzen (to sit) + Fleisch (flesh). Earliest documented use: Before 1930. 

Sitzfleisch is a fancy term for what's commonly known as chair glue: the ability to sit still and get through the task at hand. It's often the difference between, for example, an aspiring writer and a writer. Sometimes the word is used in the sense of the ability to sit out a problem -- ignore it long enough in the hope it will go away. 


  1. That's a word I remember from my German - good to read it here!
    Those irises are lovely - there's not a single spot of colour here by the ponds but I am hopeful.
    Good luck with the studies!

  2. I cant help feeling that it sounds like the name of a soup...with knodels no doubt!

  3. I have spring fever today so I'll not be sitzfleisch-ing today!

  4. I had never heard of it - I'm glad I learnt something new !
    Ces fleurettes sont vraiment mignonnes ! Elles remontent le moral alors que le temps est encore très froid !
    (pour répondre à ton commentaire sur ma dent, on ne dit pas en français "c'est dommage" dans ce cas-là. Je ne sais pas vraiment ce qu'on dirait... je dois y réfléchir)

  5. Oh...I remember that word being used in our home. I'm hoping it won't require too much more 'sitzfleisch' to wait out the winter!

  6. Oh I'm snagging that one for my chalkboard. It should encourage some conversation and in early spring, "sitzfleisch" is what we all need. Hang in there!

  7. I've been keeping tabs on the weather in Victoria. It seems though even with your erratic weather, that those lovely flowers still manage to pop their heads. Here in T.O. it's way to early still for the flowers to show.
    I'll be visiting Victoria again but this time in May. Looking forward to the Mothers day garden tour with my mom. Always a joy.

    Have a sunny day even if it rains.

  8. That Iris is such a fine example of sitzfleisch! It reminds me of the pansies that sometimes grow up with blades of grass between our concrete slabs. Thanks for your comment Lorrie and the very best of luck finishing up your courses!

  9. Ah, irises already! It's still pretty cold here in Ontario but by the end of March I should be seeing some life too.
    "Sitzfleisch" is a great word. :)

  10. A word a day sounds like fun! And that little flower is just amazing the way it poked a hole through that leaf.

    But I want to let you know you are the winner of my One Year Blogiversary giveaway!

    Thank you so much for entering and your sweet comments. I just love it here in blogland! Don't you?!

    Please email me your street address and I'll get my treats on their way to you, asap.

  11. I have almost no sitzfleisch !!!
    :-) xoxoxo Clarice

  12. I knew that stick-to-it-ness meant staying with something until the job was done. How fun to now think of it as sticking to the chair until the task was completed! Alice

  13. I'm sure I would butcher the pronunciation of this word but may have to practice, I love it. My daughter is taking German in college now so she can help :)

  14. Interesting and thoughtful.


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