Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


From Wurst (sausage), thus originally “to make sausages” (compare wursten), and then figuratively in the sense of “to meddle, to tamper”.

In Low German areas the verb is likely to have been secondarily associated with an unrelated verb meaning “to wrestle, to struggle”, attested in Middle Low German worsteln and cognate with English wrestle and Dutch worstelen. Some senses and particularly the derivative sich durch etwas durchwursteln (to struggle through sth.) are most readily explained as being linked to this Low German verb.


  • IPA(key): /ˈvʊʁstəln/, [ˈvʊʁstəln], [ˈvʊʁstl̩n], [ˈvʊɐ̯stəln], [ˈvʊɐ̯stl̩n]
  • (file)


wursteln (third-person singular simple present wurstelt, past tense wurstelte, past participle gewurstelt, auxiliary haben)

  1. to meddle; to tamper
    Statt immer am Radio zu wursteln, solltest du es mal zur Reparatur bringen.
    Instead of always tampering with the radio, you should just have it repaired.
  2. to potter; to be busy with minor works and tasks (e.g. about the house)
    Der Peter wurstelt heute den ganzen Tag im Schuppen.
    Peter has been pottering about in the shed all day.
  3. to struggle with everyday problems; to eke out a living
    Als alleinerziehende Mutter muss ich ziemlich wursteln, um über den Monat zu kommen.
    Being a single mum, I have to struggle to make ends meet.


Derived terms[edit]