I was reading an article and came about this phrase: ”Verschweißter Salat”. I googled the phrase but the results are not very straightforward. It seems like „Verschweißter Salat” just means „Fertigsalat”, which means the kind of salad you buy in a box at the supermarket, but i'm not sure. If it's right, is „Salat” the only kind of food that adds „verschweißen” to mean ”boxed”?

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    Are you sure it was "verschweißter Salat"? Normally you would use the adjective "eingeschweißt" for products which are packed in plastic, so to me "eingeschweißter Salat" sounds like the phrase you are looking for. Jul 5 '19 at 13:49
  • eingeschweißt ←→ shrink-wrapped
    – Janka
    Jul 5 '19 at 14:05
  • @jonathan.scholbach I think you're right, the word should have been "eingeschweißt". However, I checked the article again it did read ”Verschweißter Salat”. Since the article is from Zeit Online, I didn't question the word choice. Is it possible that it's just a weirder word choice, or is it that the author just used the wrong word?
    – Chen Jesse
    Jul 5 '19 at 14:10

Quote: [...] It seems like „Verschweißter Salat” just means „Fertigsalat” [...]

Verschweißen ≠ einschweißen

Let's clarify terms first:

  • verschweißen: to fuse something by welding
  • einschweißen: to wrap something into foil and seal the foil by welding

From this, it follows that the phrase verschweißter Salat is sloppy use of language, for not the salad is verschweißt, but the foil is. The proper phrase is eingeschweißter Salat.

Indeed, I found 163 hits for "eingeschweißter Salat" but only 3 hits for "verschweißter Salat" at Google (05.07.2019, 17:36 UTC+01:00). Searching at ZEIT Online, I found only one reference to this article.

Eingeschweißter Salat ≠ Fertigsalat

  • Fertigsalat: salad that is ready to be eaten

When mere, unprepared lattuce leafs are put into foil that is being welded afterwards, then the result is eingeschweißter Salat. However, it is not a Fertigsalat. Thus, your claim is disproved by a straightforward counter-example.

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    There's lots of hits for in Folie verschweißt plus a noun. If you leave out in Folie, you get verschweißt plus a noun. Verschweißte Gurken, Bücher does get a reasonable number of hits.
    – David Vogt
    Jul 5 '19 at 18:38
  1. Normally (see my comments in 5, though) you would use the adjective eingeschweißt (shrink-wrapped) to indicate that a product is packed in plastic. This comes from the verb schweißen which translates into to weld. einschweißen is a somewhat metaphorical extension of the verb, I guess it stems from the fact, that plastic packages have (or at least used to have) a seam where the plastic foil has been closed by melting, so this forms a seam very analogue to a weldseam. The adjective eingeschweißt is so common nowadays, that I would qualify this as a "dead metaphor", i.e. a metaphor which is usually not recognised as a metaphor any more, but just used with its fixed meaning packed in plastic, boxed.

  2. The verb verschweißen exists as well and is just a synonym of schweißen, in the sense of close something by welding it .

  3. The term verschweißter Salat is either unconsciously mixing up the two words einschweißen and verschweißen, or it is a creative use of language. Since this appeared in Zeit Online, I would assume the latter. This is of course very opinion-based. Online News Sites, such as Zeit Online, are known for a quick production and publication of articles, where proofreading very often takes place only after the publication. However, the error of mixing up the two verbs seems so unnatural to me, that I have hard times to believe that this was just a slip of the pen.

  4. That raises the question, which intention does this creative use have, which associations shall be invoked by putting focus on the literal meaning of the verb schweißen again? I would interpret the use of the verb verschweißen as an attempt to reanimate the dead metaphor of to weld, thus emphasising technical and "unnatural" associations and contrasting it with "Salat" (lettuce), which would raise associations in the semantic field of "plant" and "nature". Just from the title (and partly from the source Zeit Online) I would assume that this was an article critisising the use of plastic package for packaging or boxing salad. If this is the focus of the article, it makes totally sense to not use the term Fertigsalat because this gives raise to totally different conceptual metaphors, emphasising the convenience of plastic packed lettuce.


  1. I just learned from googling that the use verschweißter Salat does not seem to be as uncommon as I thought; actually now it seems to me as if there is a very wide use of the phrase verschweißter Salat (and of the adjective verschweißt with the meaning shrink-wrapped in general) which I was just not aware of; maybe this is a regiolectal or sociolectal phenomenon.

  2. This makes my above hypothesis of the reanimated dead metaphor very improbable.

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    I have to strongly disagree with point 3. Since it appeared in Zeit Online, I am quite sure that it is just a careless mixup.
    – hajef
    Jul 5 '19 at 14:28
  • @hajef This is of course a very opinion-based discussion. I have added the argument why I would tend to believe that the use of verschweißt has higher probability to reflect intentional use instead of a slip of the pen. Jul 5 '19 at 14:33
  • The original sentence is as follows: "Wer den Ekoplaza-Supermarkt betritt, der findet in der Auslage zwar verschweißten Salat, Fleisch in kleinen Schälchen und Kilosäcke mit Möhren." So I think it's probably not a word play, just an expression that I haven't came across :p
    – Chen Jesse
    Jul 5 '19 at 14:42
  • Ich halte auch "eingeschweißt" für den besseren Begriff, aber oft nimmt ja die wesentliche Komponente für das Ganze und sagt beispielsweise: "Ich kauf mir einen Salat" satt "Ich kauf mir eine Packung Salat". Daher bin ich im Zweifel, ob "verschweißter Salat" falsch ist. Ad hoc fällt mir aber kein Beispiel ähnlicher Bildung mit "ver-" ein. Jul 5 '19 at 17:13
  • @userunknown, ich kann Ihnen ein Gegenbeispiel liefern: Wenn ich einen Gegenstand im Zimmer einschließe, indem ich die Tür verschließe, dann wird er zu einem eingeschlossenen Gegenstand, nicht aber zu einem verschlossenen Gegenstand. Jul 5 '19 at 20:33

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