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This past week, temperatures in Germany rose to 102° F / 39° C, even in Berlin and the northern Bundesländer. For a place where air conditioning is the exception rather than the norm, this is extreme!


In German, the noun for "heat" or "hot temperatures" is die Hitze


Ich mag zwar Wärme, aber keine Hitze.

I like the warmth indeed, but not the heat.

Caption 38, Jenny - Reiseziele

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Die Hitze war so groß,

The heat was so great

dass schon bald die Farben seiner Soldatenuniform verblassten.

that the colors of his soldier's uniform soon faded.

Captions 79-80, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der standhafte Zinnsoldat

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Die Mischung aus Staub und Sonnenstrahlen

The mixture of dust and sunbeams

ließ das gleißende Licht entstehen,

gave rise to the glistening light,

das die tödliche Hitze im Film so glaubhaft macht.

that makes the deadly heat in the film so believable.

Captions 28-30, Hell - Science-Fiction-Kinotipp

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Just as we say "heat wave" in English, Germany combines die Hitze and die Welle into a compound noun:


Eine Hitzewelle rollt an.

A heatwave is coming through.

Caption 6, Unterwegs mit Cettina - Sommer am Baggersee

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Sometimes when a heat wave is too intense and no air conditioning is available (which is the case in many offices and classrooms), cancellations may even occur. There is a special phrase in German for getting the day off due to a heat wave: hitzefrei haben.


Die Müllmänner ham [haben] hitzefrei

The garbage men have time off due to the heat

Caption 4, Culcha Candela - Sommer im Kiez

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Further Learning
Search for more examples of the word die Hitze on Yabla German and see our past newsletter on summer living. You can also read a short text in German about the Berlin government's stance on school cancellations here.

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