Another sentence from Donna Leon's Acqua Alta:

Nachdem Flavia an diesem Nachmittag türenschlagend die Wohnung verlassen hatte, saß Brett da und starrte auf die Notizen, die sie vor sich auf dem Schreibtisch liegen hatte.

I do not understand the meaning of "türenschlagend" here. BTW, this word is in no online resource.

Google translates this as,

That afternoon, after Flavia left the apartment knocking on the door, Brett sat staring at the notes she had on the desk in front of her.

But the Google translation makes little sense. First, why would Flavia knock on a door when she is leaving? The story does not make this sensible in any way. Second, the "türen" part of the word is plural, so the translation should be "knocking on the doors" anyway, tho that makes even less sense.

So here is a word for which there is no authoritative reference, the Google translation is nonsensical, the context does not appear to provide any hints about meaning, and, to top it off, one part is a word with a profusion of possible meanings: schlagen. I do not see how to fathom this.


First of all, scratch the Google translation.

This is a present particle of a verb, recognisable by the ending "-end". The verb "türenschlagen" is composed of "Türen" (doors) and "schlagen" (punch, knock, strike, ...). So this literally translates to door punching.

A different way to phrase it would be

türenzuschlagend (slaming/banging doors shut)

For me as a native speaker, it becomes clear that this is meant from context, although the little word "zu" (indicating closing) is missing. As noted by tohuwawohu in the comments, this is a highly unused word, so better stick to the aforementioned phrasing.

Thus, the whole sentence means, she left the appartment building while slamming doors shut that she encountered on the way out.

  • 1
    Yes, that makes sense and is very helpful. It is particularly helpful to have access to insights regarding the path a native speaker follows to arrive at the meaning in this case. Vielen Dank.
    – user44591
    Aug 1 '20 at 0:54
  • 4
    I don't agree with "better phrased". While "türenschlagend" is in fact rare, "türenzuschlagend" is completely uncommon. Google Books has three hits für "türenzuschlagend", but more than 400 für "türenschlagend".
    – tohuwawohu
    Aug 1 '20 at 7:05
  • Uncommon or not, it precisely describes what's happening. Und man schlägt nunmal eine Tür zu. Man kann eine Tür auch nur schlagen, aber das tut auf Dauer den Händen weh ;) Aug 1 '20 at 11:10
  • yes, the "zu" is more like closing the door and without the "zu" it can be to open the door with violence ...
    – user5715
    Aug 2 '20 at 3:41

German language is known to just glue together words to create new ones (cf. "Handschuh" or "Schildkröte" or "Staubsauger" in general usage, but sometimes also ad hoc, and native German speakers get the meaning without even thinking about it). Literally, "türenschlagend" is "door-hitting". In this sentence it is used as adverb to describe the manner in which Flavia left the flat: by slamming the door close (so probably Flavia was angry)

  • 3
    At least in my experience, the phrase "eine Tür schlägt" describes that a door is closed forcefully and with a loud bang. The cause may be a gust of wind. So, in sentence in question, Flavia on her way out is handling the doors so forcefully that the doors slam shut loudly. She doesn't neccessarily close them herself all the way, but she gives them enough impulse so they close "by themselves". Aug 1 '20 at 10:47

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