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I hope I got that right : rucki zucki.

I have a CD where a man said :

Das ging rucki zucki.

Later he tells how crazy is at his new job.

What exactly does it mean?


Quick google search just gave this song. Other links are mostly useless.

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  • Oooh, it means really quickly... I always thought that was the German equivalent of willy-nilly :)
    – Anna
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 11:13

4 Answers 4

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rucki zucki

or

ruck zuck

is another way of saying sehr schnell. Here is a reference.

In English you could say

in a jiffy

or

in no time (at all)

Source: dict.cc


There even used to be a German TV game show called Ruck Zuck where (at least one part) was about answering quickly.

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  • Most google results were somehow related to Austria. Your link tells that this is a slang. Is this some kind of austrian slang word? Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 8:39
  • 2
    @BЈовић I've heard it in Germany as well, but it's kind of an old fashioned expression. You won't hear many young people (if any) use it anymore.
    – Baz
    Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 8:48
  • You are right. My german colleague confirmed. And I just found this. Obviously I was searching for wrong thing. He said that zak zak is synonym. Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 10:37
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    @BЈовић He probably meant zack zack, but yeah, you can use that as well.
    – Baz
    Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 10:39
  • I think "zack zack" is more from Northern Germany.
    – celtschk
    Commented Apr 13, 2014 at 18:28
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Bavarian here. Rucki-zucki is Southern slang (Bavaria/Austria) for „very fast“. „Zack-zack“ is the Northern/„Prussian“ equivalent. A bastardised form „racki-zacki“ exists as well. Used as a command, it means „Get on with it“ — „Aber zack-zack!“ as a slang alternative to „Aber schnell!“

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  • 2
    Here in Berlin, both are used, but differently. I think your answer is wrong.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jul 31, 2022 at 12:06
  • Well, I can only speak for my own cultural background. What I said is how it is perceived (and used) in Bavaria. That‘s the thing with slang, it is regionally different. But it makes no difference for the OP‘s question - in that phrase it means „it was done very fast“.
    – rosehipjam
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 18:04
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The more common form is "ruck, zuck" without the letter I, which is probably why you didn't have a lot of hits.

The English equivalent that comes to mind is "lickety-split"; it conveys both speed and ease, has a similar casual air to it and has a similar nice vowel repetition as well.

The mentioned Prussian equivalent "zack, zack" has a slightly different meaning. It can be used descriptively as well ("plötzlich ging alles zack, zack"), but true to the Prussian stereotype it is often used as a command. When an officer barks "Aber zack, zack!" the recruit won't dawdle. "Ruck, zuck" doesn't lend itself to that use as well. The "zack, zack" equivalent would be "chop-chop" but it may be a touch harsher.

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Ruck is a regular noun. Searching in Duden online yields several results including “ruck, zuck”.

Variants of similar ideophones exist, ratz fatz and ratz batz for example. They all refer to the speed of action. Likewise, in einem Ruck (in Duden's example sentences) is perhaps better known as in einem Rutsch (in one go, all at once). Rutschen and rücken alternate likewise (to move, make way, step aside). A little different is zappzarapp, indicating disappearance as if by magic.

The variation obscures the original signification beyond believe, if there is any. Or in other words, there is no clear relation to the noun.

One has observed (if I recall correctly) that similar words tend to obtain a sense of completeness, see e.g. bald or ganz in dialect. It maybe coincidence, but a fortunate one in this view, that Rucksack can be compared with adverbial mit Sack und Pack (with everything, i.e. completely). See also Puseratze (?).

A more basic comparison frkm a modern language point of view would be right as in right away, German recht as in waagerecht "straight, horizontal". It is not entirely clear if these are related to upright, rectum, cp. Rücken, zurück. An obsolete verb rutzen (to run, or flee) also comes to mind, cp. Rückzug. A different option is rush, and rustle, indicative of Dutch (cp. hustle, Dutch hutselen, husselen, etymonline; add Ger. huschen, or better hetzen). I guess fast presents itself, but nobody gives a fack.

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