There is an anecdote, that German language has words for very precise psychological concepts. Does it have a word for the suffering that a responsible artisan/engineer feels when he is forced to work with poor tools/designs that negatively impact work and don't let him reach the level of quality and productivity he is used to?

  • "Opfer" Don't make yourself feel like that! Dump these tools. – πάντα ῥεῖ May 24 '18 at 22:05
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    I know the problem - "Das System hält mich zurück" – Iris May 25 '18 at 7:17
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    "Produktivitätsbremse" would be a word for such tools but I don't know of a single word for the state of having to use such tools that someone would use today. – RHa May 25 '18 at 8:00
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    Which kind of "tool"? My guess here is that you do not think of hammers and screwdrivers but of macOS and Java (as categories/examples)? – LаngLаngС May 25 '18 at 8:52
  • Is there this word in any other language? If so, you could add it to the question. – c.p. May 25 '18 at 13:58


would mean the thing. It is a composite of "tool" and "frustration".


Murksmelancholie maybe? I just made this up. You are allowed, too!

Really, if you want to coin a new word in German, go on. Scrabble manufacturers can't stop you, neither do the Duden folks. It's just how we roll.

  • That's a nice suggestion, but it is a little bit off the initial question. Your Murksmelancholie would be a word for a kind of sadness felt by somebody who involuntarily faces a product of bad quality ("Murks"). Of course, a poorly made tool is also a product, but still the question asked specifically for emotions related to poor tools or designs, not poor products in general. So, I would suggest to continue the brainstorming. – Christian Geiselmann May 25 '18 at 13:35

What I suggest is not a single word, rather an expression (could be considered idiomatic):

vom Material ausgebremst

One could imagine a technician or an artisans saying something like:

Das ist nicht so gut geworden, wie es hätte werden sollen. Zu unpräsise an den Kanten. Tja. Da wurden wir mal wieder vom Material ausgebremst.

Where "Material" may refer to the material they are working on (pieces of metal, or whatever), or the tools they are working with.

Interestingly, from everyday practice in Germany, I do not remember people complaining about bad tools. Rather you would hear artisans express their proud and joy of quality tools e.g. in a phrase such as

Ma braucht halt reachte Mascheena!

(Man braucht halt ordentliche Maschinen!), here in Swabian dialect, as a way to express satisfaction with the result of their work.

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    "Material" und "Tools" sind aber was ganz anderes... – tofro May 25 '18 at 18:18
  • @tofro In der Handwerker-Sprachpraxis, die ich kenne (Südwestdeutschland), kann "Material" auch die Gerätschaften bezeichnen. – Christian Geiselmann May 25 '18 at 18:20
  • Ne. "Material" ist das, aus was man was macht - "Werkzeug" ist "Werkzeug". Nur der Sportler und Bürohengst (vgl. "Büromaterial") versteht unter "Material" sein Handwerkszeug. – tofro May 25 '18 at 19:11
  • @tofro Willst du den ländlichen Werktätigen, denen ich hier lausche, sagen, dass ihr Deutsch falsch und ihr Umgang mit dem Lexikon liederlich sei? Das kannst du gerne machen. Allein, es ändert ihre Praxis nicht. – Christian Geiselmann May 25 '18 at 20:14

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