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Word of the Week: Geduldsfaden

Do you ever have those moments where your patience is so thin that you could snap? Germans would say that their Geduldsfaden is tearing. The word Geduldsfaden comes from Geduld (“patience”) and Faden (“thread”). Everyone has a Geduldsfaden, but some people have a thicker thread than others. A Geduldsfaden describes someone’s level of patience. If someone has a lot of patience, their “patience thread” is more durable than someone with very little patience. Of course, everyone has a limit.

When you are getting close to that limit, your Faden becomes tighter and thinner. When that limit is reached, your thread snaps in two pieces. Perhaps it’s screaming children, perhaps it’s a nagging friend or maybe it’s your incompetent employee who causes your Geduldsfaden to snap.

One of the first records of the term is found in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s autobiography Dichtung und Wahrheit (in English: From my Life: Poetry and Truth). The Brothers Grimm also used the term in their works.

In context:

Mir reißt der Geduldsfaden.

“My patience is wearing thin.”

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany

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