Eisprung: When a woman ovulates, Germans will say she has her “egg jump.” It’s not some slang word, it’s how you actually call it!

literally: “egg jump” / meaning: ovulation

A non-native-speaking friend of mine couldn’t help but burst into laughter at the gynecologist when she was asked about the approximate time of her last “egg jump.” Obviously, the doctor’s assistant translated her routine questions in an overly literal way.

Eisprung is a word that we use so nonchalantly in Germany that we don’t even notice how strange it must sound to outsiders. However, we are not entirely alone with this peculiar analogy. The Dutch word “Eisprong,” for example, follows the same pattern. The Swedish word “ägglossning” can be translated as “egg unloading,” which sounds more like the name of an R-rated trash movie.

Most other languages use the internationally common term “ovulation.” This is composed of the Latin word “ovulum,” which means “little egg,” and the suffix “-ation,” which implies an action or process. In this sense, “little egg action” would be the only expression that could beat the German Eisprung.


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