“blitzkrieg”

The “i” in the first syllable is pronounced like the “i” in “bit”, “pit”, and “hit”. The two vowels in the second syllable sound like the “ee” in “fee”, “see”, and “knee”. The “z” is like the “s” in “sit”, “sip”, and “sin”. The main stress is on the first syllable. In German, “blitz” means lightning or flash, and “kreig” means war.

“Blitzkrieg” refers to an intensive military operation which catches the enemy by surprise. The aim of such a ferocious attack is to subdue the enemy very quickly. “Blitzkrieg” is a word the world became familiar with during the Second World War.

Initially, the word was only used in military contexts. But nowadays, the word is beginning to be used in general contexts as well. The constant ferocious attacks that we sometimes see in newspapers against an individual or a political party can also be called a “blitzkrieg”. So can an advertising campaign for the launching of a new product. It is from “blitzkrieg” that we get the word “blitz”.

The Hindu- ‘Know Your English’ Series, September 20, 2004

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