Me: I accidently hit on the right verb in German class – wegwerfen – to throw away.
Manfredas: Well done!
Me: My initial thought was “auswerfen” – to throw out – but I thought, “No, German… It has to be something else.”
Manfredas: See? You’re getting better and better. “Auswerfen” is also a verb though. It means “to output”. “Rauswerfen” is to throw out, like to throw someone out of a bar.
Me: Huh. That will probably come in handy. Is “einwerfen” possible?
Manfredas: Yep, to throw in. Like to throw a coin into a machine.
Me: Oh yeah! That’s on the washing machines downstairs. Choose the programme before throwing in the coin. Can I throw in my clothes after I throw in the coin?
Manfredas: NEIN! That would be “hineinwerfen.”
Me: (Sigh) OK. Abwerfen?
Manfredas: Yep, if you’re thrown off a horse, for example.
Manfredas: Yep, to start something up. Like a machine.
Me: Can I anwerfen the kettle?
Manfredas: Yep. To reject or discard something.
Me: Zuwerfen? I’m sure this isn’t annoying for you at all…
Manfredas: Zuwerfen? Yep, it means “to toss.”
Me: Can I zuwerfen a salad?
Manfredas: NEIN! Geht gar nicht.
Me: How do I toss a salad then?
Manfredas: You don’t.
Manfredas: Before you ask, no, you can’t use it for “toss off” either.
Me: I’m offended. I would never ask something so crass…
Manfredas: Yep, to accuse or blame someone.
Manfredas: Yes, to pelt.
Manfredas: Yep, to subdue.
Me: Bet you wish you could unterwerfen me but I’m going to keep going. Hinwerfen?
Manfredas: To throw something down.
Manfredas: Yes. To reflect or echo.
Me: Huh. I think I’m out.
Manfredas: (runs for the door)
A few days later, I was with a student. I like to share the misery around so…
Me: I’ve been having great fun with “werfen” this week.
Me: You know – abwerfen, auswerfen, einwerfen, hinwerfen, verwerfen, wegwerfen…
Gundula: Ha, oh right. Yeah, Germans never really think about that. Do you have “entwerfen”?
Me: NEIN! What does that mean?
Gundula: To draft something.
Me: Man, is there anything werfen can’t do?
Anyway, I will never throw in the towel when it comes to this language. Incidentally, that also works – das Handtuch werfen.
And now I’m off to toss a salad. So there, Manfredas.