Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I don’t mean to call for help just for translation, but I couldn’t find anything related to this word using Google. Dict.cc usually has many alternatives to choose from, for the meaning of a given word. But in this case there was nothing.

The following sentence is the source of it. I read it in Michael Ende’s Die unendliche Geschichte.

... war eine regenfleckige Mauer auf der anderen Straßenseite.

The meaning I can glean from the remaining words is:

… was a wall on the other side of the street.

Does it mean soaked in rain?

share|improve this question
    
Splitting it into regen + fleckige doesn't help either. The former means rain I guess, the latter still escapes me. –  Shashank Sawant Jul 26 at 6:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Not soaked, but stained (stain = der Fleck) by rain, whatever that's supposed to mean exactly in this context; visibly wet, would be my guess, perhaps somehow discolored.

Fleck can have a couple of other meanings as well (like patch, or spot) but in this case it refers to a speck or stain of some sort. Ende made that word up on the spot, so you wouldn't find it in a dictionary.

share|improve this answer
    
Ende made that word up on the spot he could do that? –  Shashank Sawant Jul 26 at 7:11
5  
Absolutely. Authors get away with a lot of things, but in German it's very easy (not to mention legal :-) to create new words simply by stringing existing ones together. In English you would say "stained by rain", in German you use "regenfleckig" (literally rainystained). –  Ingmar Jul 26 at 7:14
1  
Actually, it appears that he was not the first to use that word, as a quick search showed, but it's certainly not very common, even though it is perfectly understandable for German native speakers. –  Ingmar Jul 26 at 7:20
5  
Be aware that though Fleck can translate to stain, it always refers to a local stain, which excludes that Ende wanted to just describe that the whole wall was wet. Rather, the use of fleckig tells us that the rain caused some visible inhomogeneity on the wall, for example as you sometimes have it shortly after the onset of rain, where some parts of the wall have been hit by raindrops and are visibly wet, while some others haven’t. –  Wrzlprmft Jul 26 at 7:54
1  
@shasank-sawant: You can make up words on the spot in English as well. Normally just as easily as in German, tough sometimes it's a bit more tricky. For example: rain stained. The only difference is in spelling. In German you are allowed to spell it as a single word right away. In English it takes decades of usage until the word may be spelled with a hyphen or in a single word. But no matter how it is spelled, it behaves like a single word. –  Hans Adler Jul 27 at 11:08

Imagine a dry grey wall made of concrete. When you put water on a spot, this spot becomes darker then the rest of the wall. The surface of a soaked wall is fully dark grey. A "regenfleckige" wall has multiple spots which are dark grey, but the rest of the wall (still dry) is in its usual grey. You will only observe this when it starts to rain.

The timeline is:

  • dry wall (color: grey)
  • "regenfleckige" wall (color: grey with dark grey spots)
  • soaked wall (color: dark grey)
share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.