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

Monday, March 4, 2013

Word of the Month: Torschlusspanik

Word of the Month: Index

I was reminded of this word when Kathleen Kiesel Cozzarelli sent me an e-mail inquiry about it, and it is a very useful word indeed. Tor means "gate" (or, in soccer, "goal"); Schluss can mean many things—in the present Word of the Month, it stands for "closing"; and Panik is the same as English "panic". In combination, they refer to the intense anxiety one feels when a decision has to be made before an approaching deadline, but none of the available options looks in any way promising. The term is also used to explain why a hasty decision was made under these circumstances.

Back in the days when women were supposed to get married, Torschlusspanik was regularly used to explain why a woman who was fast approaching middle age would marry someone below her status. Times have changed, and for the better in this case. For decades, I haven't heard the term applied to women marrying later in life. But it's used regularly in other situations, for example, when just before the end of the annual trading period for players, a soccer team that needs to improve at certain positions acquires players who may not be particularly skilled at these positions, or are past their prime, but were the only ones still available.


Marlene said...

I used to write theater reviews for our local paper, and I think I was experiencing Torschlusspanik whenever the deadline approached. I just didn't know it. Often the review was only half written and I hadn't worked out my thoughts completely. But since the deadline was 45 minutes away, I would slap something together and turn it in.

Great word. As usual, it describes something we all experience, but which English doesn't have the word to express.

Ulrich said...

Thank you, Marlene! I do like that word a lot--it captures the situation in a very concrete way. I wonder why I hadn't thought of it before...