08/15 (idiom)

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08/15 (pronounced "zero eight fifteen", also "zero eight fifteen") is a slang expression and is used disparagingly.

The expression is common in Germany , Austria , Switzerland and South Tyrol and can be understood or understood without judgment or pejorative . The term is used in the sense of “very common”, “not particularly”, “average”, “mediocre” or “not worth mentioning”. Under Duden.de “devoid of any originality, personal touch; fixed to a pattern that has become commonplace and therefore causes boredom or weariness ”. This idiom is used to indicate things that are out of date or inferior. This includes the reference to "cheap" if the standard or ordinary is to be expressed. It is used as an "indeclinable adjective" and the expression has no form of augmentation.


MG 08/15

There are two explanations for the origin of the phrase, both of which are related to the 08/15 machine gun . 08/15 stands for the year of introduction of the original MG 08 model, 1908, and for 1915, the year of further development. These numbers were hammered into arms.

  1. The first approach traces the phrase back to the fact that during the First World War the German soldiers had to undergo lengthy and monotonous training with this machine gun every day. So at some point the term 08/15 stood for boring routine among the soldiers , which they had long since grown tired of.
  2. Another explanation goes back to the length of the First World War and has to do with the quality of the weapons. From the time MG 08/15 was introduced, the quality of the material decreased and the frequency of errors increased. With statements such as “The weapon is run-of-the-mill!”, The soldiers would have coined the meaning “of poor quality”.

It is possible that both aspects played a role in the creation of the phrase.



Web links

Wiktionary: zero eight fifteen  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c duden.de
  2. Information on the Highscreen 08/15-Series trademark  in the register of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA)
  3. Where does the term “08/15” come from? Easily explained. In: Focus. Online from November 24, 2017.
  4. BUWOG trial: Karin's account according to witnesses from Plech orf.at, November 22, 2019, accessed November 22, 2019.