A newly minted error

I amused my conversational partner recently by referring to a person as frisch rather than frech. In English if we want to talk about food or weather we can refer to them as “fresh” and we can do the same with people if they are “getting fresh with us.” In German, however, there are different words to express the two ideas. A person can be referred to as frech meaning “fresh” or “cheeky” or “bold” or “sassy” and “to make a sassy reply” is frech antworten. Interestingly, rather than referring to a “cheeky monkey,” you suggest someone is like a sparrow – wie ein Spatz sein. It also appears that certain things other than people can be frech – dict.cc gives the example of “a hat worn at a rakish angle” – ein Hut frech aufgesetzt – and pons.eu offers “a peppy haircut” – eine freche Frisur.

To refer to the freshness of weather or food, however, you want to use frisch: frisches Brot, frisch gefallener Schnee, frisch gepresster Orangensaft, Frisch also means “recent.” Hence when there is “wet paint,” you will see signs saying frisch gestrichen and to say something is “hot off the press” you can say it is frisch gedruckt. Frisch also can be used in reference to making up a bed with fresh linen – die Betten frisch beziehen. And in checking dict.cc, I learned that there are situations where frisch can be part of a phrase that applies to a person: “clean-shaven” – frisch rasiert; “just married” – frisch verheiratet; and “to be fresh as a daisy” – frisch und munter sein.

With the help of Collins online, I now know how to say “we’re fresh out of cheese” – uns ist gerade der Käse ausgegangen and “they are fresh out of ideas” – ihnen sind die Ideen ausgegangen. Which I am, and so, until next time, my friends!

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