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GermanyinUSA is the home of the monthly newsletter “Germany for Americans”, produced by the German Embassy in Washington, DC. For the embassy’s official website, visit Germany.info.

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Word of the Week: Krimskrams

Do you have a house full of junk? Are your drawers overflowing with knickknacks? Then you have a lot of Krimskrams in your home!

The German word Krimskrams means “junk”, “miscellaneous objects” or “odds and ends”. It refers to all those random and useless objects you have collected over the years. Maybe you have a lot of useless souvenirs, keychains, magnets, old calendars and other items that serve you no purpose and simply collect dust. But for some reason, you find it difficult to part ways with these items. It might be time to organize or throw away your Krimskrams!

The term comes primarily from the word Kram, which means “stuff” or “junk”. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th century; it is believed that the term came from the old German phrase krimmeln und wimmeln (“to crawl”) and Kram (“junk”) – as in, your place could be crawling or overwhelmed with useless junk.

In today’s language, Krims does not have a meaning – but it makes the word Krimskrams more snappy and memorable (similar to the English word “knickknack”, where “knick” does not mean anything).

Germans are known for their cleanliness and order, and Krimskrams only makes their lives more cluttered. We’re sure that you’ll feel better about your home and office space if you clear out some of that Krimskrams!

By Nicole Glass, German Embassy

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