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German word of the day: Versorgung

You’ll see this word often as you get into more intermediate German texts—in everything from financial planning to politics to senior care.

German Word of the Day Versorgung
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

What does it mean?

Versorgung, which sounds like this, literally translates as “supply” or “provision,” with its exact meaning depending on context. It’s a feminine noun and so uses the article die in the singular – die Vorsorgung.

How do you use it or where might you see it?

In German’s penchant for compound words, Versorgung is often combined with other words to provide the context that will give the new word its precise meaning and context. Recently, you’re reasonably likely to have run into Energieversorgung or Gasversorgung in newspapers or in communication from your gas or electric company. In these cases, it means “energy supply” or “gas supply,” something that’s been at the top of mind for both governments and consumers over the last year.

But Versorgung is a word for many contexts. If you start researching pensions and financial planning in German-speaking countries, you’re likely to run into Altersvorsorge. Literally translated, it means “retirement provision,” but it’s better understood as “saving for retirement” or planning for how you will support yourself when you’re no longer working in your old age.

Versorgung also appears in German-speaking countries when talking about long-term care for people in their old age. If you see Versorgungssystem, you’re probably reading about the system of long-term care facilities to look after people who need extra help. The verb versorgen, is often used to mean “to take care of.”


Wie viel der Stromversorgung ist erneurbar? – How much of the electricity supply is renewable?

Wann sollte man mit dem sparen für die Altersvorsorge beginnen? – When should someone start saving for retirement?

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For members


German word of the day: Sommerlich

Dazzling blue skies and sweltering temperatures mean summer has arrived in Germany, and if you're looking for a word to describe how that feels, this is the perfect one to choose.

German word of the day: Sommerlich

Why do I need to know sommerlich?

Because this joyful word is not just easy to remember, but is also great for describing those days in Germany when the sun is shining and everyone seems to be in a relaxed and happy mood – as well as many other aspects of summer.

What does it mean?

As you might have guessed, sommerlich (pronounced like this) is an adjective that’s very close to the English word “summery” or “summer-like”. It describes anything that is typical of this time of year, whether you’re talking about the weather, what you’re drinking or the look you’ve gone for on a particular day.

For example, if you head out to the countryside for a short summer break, you might find yourself in the midst of a sommerliche Landschaft: a summery landscape with forests and fields with wild flowers in full bloom. 

Or you could be taken by surprise by a sudden heat wave and express regret that you haven’t had a chance to restock your sommerliche Klamotten, or summery clothes. 

READ ALSO: 10 words to help you enjoy the German summer

Mostly, though, you’ll find this word used to talk about those classic summer days with balmy weather and sunny skies, or weather conditions that feel like summer – even if it’s the wrong time of year. 

If you want to say something is more summery than something else, sommerlicher is the word you’ll need, and if something is the most summery of all, it’s am sommerlichsten

Use it like this: 

Bei diesen Temperaturen will ich immer ein erfrischender und sommerlicher Getränke in der Hand haben. 

In these temperatures I always want a refreshing and summery drink in my hand.

Ich liebe diese entspannte sommerliche Tage! Es ist wie im Urlaub zu sein. 

I love these relaxed summer days! It’s like being on holiday.