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A slap is a destructive criticism or review , which is often formulated with the means of irony or polemics and sees the subject of a discussion as failed in the essential parts of its implementation and objectives. Works of the visual arts , the performing arts , music or literature are particularly “panned” in the features section . In addition verreißen critics of other departments or media z. B. scientific work , court rulings , the performance of restaurants or personalities such as politicians , managers , trainers , quiz masters or bloggers .

Word origin and usage

To tear something , according to the Grimm or German dictionary, under the keyword verreiszen, meant “in pieces reiszen, tearing” that was completely displaced from the written language at the time and was only used in dialect. Examples include: defoliate a flower, pull out hair or shred clothes, fabrics, but also the transferred meanings: "get out of hand, quarrel", the Viennese used "a trifle, hold for the best" as well as a "praised or porked, deflorata gloria ".

Ursula Rohr commented on this explanation of the word Verriss , which is still limited in the German dictionary : “The corresponding volume of the DWb. appeared in 1947, and it is inexplicable how a word so frequently used in the press and daily newspapers could escape attention. "

According to Ursula Rohr - who also quotes all subsequent authors in her reference work Der Theaterjargon (1952) - verreißen was first mentioned in 1885 by Daniel Sanders with the meaning "someone ver-r., Down-r.,-Making"; then with Weigand: "tear down: put it down in the criticism, popular around 1885". Otto Ladendorf explains the latter in turn as follows: "Tearing was the slanderous word of partisan and malicious criticism, as a result of which the new rising generation of poets tried to meet their opponents of the press in the 1880s ( Bleibtreu- megalomania, Bierbaum- Stilpe)." Rohr concludes From this: "Through this generation of poets, who were closely connected to the theater and whose plays enforced naturalism in the theater, the word may have entered the language of actors."

In addition, Rohr says: “In addition to this original meaning, 'Verriß', ' verreißen' has recently been applied in theater jargon to every bad criticism, even to a just and objective criticism, so that the formulation 'just verriß' is also used. If the sloping utterance of criticism is kept in a benevolent tone, then it is a 'mild tear' ”.

In the current Duden (2007) Verriss is defined as follows: “Ver | riss, der; -es, -e [to → tear down]: very harsh, devastating → criticism: a V. about a book, ... "


Journalism textbooks warn beginners in particular against slipping, says Walther von La Roche : “But with arrogant top-down slips, which beginners can easily get from the pen, you won't have the desired success for long. Because such critics do not bother to go into the relationship between artistic potential and presented result. "


Professionally publishing critics write a slap not least when works of art and especially their creators promise a certain amount of fall .

The basis of a review of artistic work can be the critic's disappointed or undercut expectations of the possibilities of an artist or a work of art. Thematically content-related triggers for a slipping can u. a. also the violation of a taboo or even just the treatment of taboo topics . Sometimes arguments are also made with the love of the respective art form, which not only suggests factual but also more emotional, subjective motives related to one's own taste and does not always exclude personal animosity with the artist criticized in this way.

In the sense of professional criticism, an inadmissible motivation for criticism can be political and ideological backgrounds, which can also lead to crossing the line between destructive criticism of a work and agitation aimed at destroying the person of its author.


The reception of the audience depends on the discussed object and the level of awareness of its creator.

  • If an artist has previously found recognition for his work, his followers will usually keep their interest in him even after a new work has been demolished. Insofar as the range of reviews includes not only panned but also reviews with undecided and praiseworthy assessments, the pavements are accepted by artists as they may help increase public interest and sales figures.
  • If the first work by an unknown artist is reviewed by only a few critics and panned throughout, the piling can damage the author's reputation for good.

Artists affected by a draft often see themselves personally attacked and for their part seek to discredit the author of a draft or to emphasize his assessments as irrelevant.

The reception of the draft by other critics can, depending on the reputation of the author, lead to the acceptance of his opinion or even more provoke opposition.

Well-known examples

A small selection in the feature pages of published, acclaimed bad reviews to works:

From the literature:

From the music:

From the theater:

From the painting:

“For the work of the two women mentioned, the vocabulary of a clean language is not enough and we do not want to borrow from an unclean language. Had such an ability in the musical or mimic field had the nerve to venture into the concert hall or on the stage, a storm of hissing and whistling would soon have put an end to the gross nonsense ... "


  • Marcel Reich-Ranicki: Lots of reviews. Critical examination of famous works. ISBN 978-3-423-11578-0
  • Ursula Rohr: Der Theaterjargon, Volume 56 of the Society for Theater History (self-published), Berlin 1952

Web links

Wiktionary: Verriss  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Cf. for example Monika Porrmann: You don't blog that, do you? ( Memento from June 12, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), in the Frankfurter Rundschau from March 23, 2005, online at
    Here it says about some criticism-worthy examples of pitting in the mass medium Internet : “We are publicly present in seconds with a merciless slap when the media, politicians, managers, quiz masters or even fellow bloggers make (real or supposed) missteps. "
  2. ↑ In German, the Latin deflorata gloria roughly corresponds to being deprived of fame or reputation
  3. verreiszen, verb. rice into pieces, tear apart. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 25 : V – Verzwunzen - (XII, 1st division). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1956, Sp. 1003 ( ).
  4. Ursula Rohr: The theater jargon. 1952, pp. 151-152.
  5. Ursula Rohr: The theater jargon. 1952, p. 151; According to Ursula Rohr,
    Ladendorf's article is supplemented in the ZfdW (8 p. 23); "Verreißen nach Ladendorf p. 324 a favorite word of the literary revolutionaries around 1885. The synonymous tearing down (originally apparently: a statue of the pedestal , or: the laurel from the forehead), Wit von Dörfing highlights in his political pocket book Jhg. 2 (1831), 141 the word as a literary terminus technicus by blocking printing . ”Even Benedix (I p. 23) and even Barnay (II p. 224) use this older tear down , while Thomas, who is six years older, is used than Barnay, already needed to tear it up . The word is then one of the most widely used in theater jargon; only it has increasingly lost the character of an insult, which Storfer emphasizes (words p. 37l): "Even with the critic who 'tears up' the work, the German language probably thinks of a wild animal gesture."
  6. a b Ursula Rohr: The theater jargon. 1952, p. 151.
  7. Source: Duden - German Universal Dictionary , 6th, revised edition. Mannheim, Leipzig, Vienna, Zurich: Dudenverlag 2007.
  8. Walther von La Roche : Introduction to practical journalism . 18th edition. Econ, Berlin 2008, p. 178 .
  9. For the expectations of the artist and the work of art, see the comments on: Intentio auctoris, Intentio lectoris and Intentio operis under Intentio (literature) .
  10. "There is a lot of hypocrisy" In: Focus No. 37/1995; Interview by Stephan Sattler with Marcel Reich-Ranicki and his (self-) assessment of the "media spectacle about the criticism of the novel Ein weites Feld "
  11. Richard Wagner claimed in Judaism in music , that "the Jew" is incapable of itself, "neither by his appearance, his language, least of all with his song, to us artistically be made known." In this way, the musical qualities of Jacques Offenbach are completely panned out by him.
  12. Joseph Goebbels wrote a full-page inflammatory article or slap in The Attack with the heading To the gallows against the satirist Walter Mehring
  13. ( Memento from March 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Stefan Neuhaus: Literature and literary criticism in Germany. A comedy in five acts. On the “propaganda effect” of increasing sales in the case of Günter Grass and his novel Ein Weites Feld; see section 4. Act. Appearance: The critics in media observations, editors Oliver Jahraus and Bernd Scheffer, both Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  14. Page no longer available , search in web archives: Journalistenhandwerk (1): Hellmuth Karasek - The criticism . Interview with Hellmuth Karasek - it says: "The recommendation and even the slap of a well-known critic is worth a lot of money." On the BR-alpha website on February 17, 2010.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  15. ^ Helmut Böttiger : Being offended in poetry format. On Günter Grass and his volume of poems Dummer August, which is a reaction to the reviews of his previous novel When Skinning the Onion and in which it is a.o. a. means: "He feels like a victim ..."; on Deutschlandradio on April 4, 2007
  16. On the reception of affected artists, see also Martin Walser in Death of a Critic , whose protagonist André Ehrl-Königs is clearly modeled on Marcel Reich-Ranicki.
  17. The wording of Marcel Reich-Ranicki's review of Ein Weites Feld by Günter Grass . In: Der Spiegel . No. 34 , 1995 ( online ).
  18. An example of an ideologically justified or enforced by Josef Stalin slavery is that in Pravda on Lady Macbeth of Mzensk by Dmitri Shostakovich and Alexander Germanowitsch Prize