Occasional musings, Geistesblitze, photos, drawings etc. by a "resident alien", who has landed on American soil from a far-away planet called "Germany".

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Word of the month: Putzfimmel

Word of the Month: Index

Putzen means "to clean" and a Fimmel is a craze for or an obsession with something. Putzflimmel denotes an obsession with keeping things, especially your house, not just clean, but entirely spotless. A person thus afflicted keeps cleaning utensils always in easy reach so that any trace of dirt or dust can be attacked as soon as it is discovered. This kind of person is also know as a Putzteufel (cleaning devil), the opposite of a slob.

...and speaking of slobs: I have found that it is just about impossible to live with someone who has a Putzfimmel.

Note on pronunciation: The "u" in Putz is a short "oo" as in "foot".


Ulrich said...

I chuckled when, as I was previewing the present post, there appeared on the right of my screen a column advertising cleaning products like Windex.

fikink said...

My mother always described herself as "putzen around" in the kitchen. She kept a pretty immaculate house, but wasn't really obsessively-compulsively disordered (OCD), as "putzfimmel" so much more accurately describes. I am finding a lot of DSM personality disorders were long ago identified and summed up in German words.

Ulrich said...

Have to confess that I had to look up DSM--for my German friends, it stands for "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders". I promise, if I can think of another German compound of long standing that fits the bill, I will make it a WoM in the future.

Heika said...

There's several videos on YouTube, where cats are described as having a putzfimmel about keeping themselves clean.

In cats, it's kind of cute the way they will obsessively clean themselves. But I'm with you, Ulrich, in people it's not cute, and I wouldn't live with one either. Thank goodness my husband is in no danger of having a putzfimmel fetish.

Anonymous said...

Ulrich, I have a confession to make: I am a Putzfimmel. Will you still like me?

Ulrich said...

@Heika: Your use of "fetish" reminds me that "fixation" perfectly captures the meaning of Fimmel. "Fixation", though, is a technical term, whereas Fimmel is decidedly colloquial.

@Anonymous: If you are who I think you are, yes.
Cute, anyway: Being a Putzfimmel is definitely a step above having a Putzfimmel:-)