It’s been widely reported in both the German and the British press (inter alia) that the Duden has included the new German word shitstorm. Shitstorm seems to be an American word for an internet uproar. I wonder what a synonym would be? Online sources are not helpful. I think it must be something like a flame war.

Anyway, it seems that the word has come to be seen by many Germans as a standard English expression. Nothing strange about drawing such conclusions about a foreign language. We had a discussion about public viewing, a term possibly originally used in English but much more widely so in German. The thing about shitstorm is that it epitomizes itself, in that these language discussions do become a veritable … shitstorm.

Sense can be found in Sprachblog and Lexicographieblog.

English press reports are frequently accompanied by pictures of Angela Merkel pulling faces, apparently because she used the term recently. (The Independent)

In the Guardian, Philip Oltermann regurgitates the reasons why it is wrong to think Germans are obsessed with shit.
A shitstorm in a dictionary
Germans are not obsessed with faecal matters, just very reluctant to use sexual metaphors in a negative way

And he adds:

The question remains why the German language would, in any case, need to import an English word such as “shitstorm” if it already suffered from such a surfeit of faeces-related metaphors. The answer may be that “shitstorm” in German actually means something very different from what it means in English. The Duden defines it as “a storm of outrage on the internet” – highlighting how social media have increased the speed and reduced the length of our daily outrage. The Urban Dictionary, on the other hand, defines it as a disaster in a much broader sense (and Collins doesn’t recognise the term at all).

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