German words to know: Die Streicheleinheit

German words to know Die Streicheleinheit

This feminine name is made up of the verb “streicheln”, meaning “to stroke” or “to stroke” – usually referring to an animal – and “Einheit”, meaning a single unit or, more precisely in this context, a session.

Taken together, ‘Streicheleinheit’ means ‘a hugging or caressing session’. It primarily refers to a physical act, but can involve any manifestation of affection, including words of affirmation and affection.

Imagine coming home from a long day at work, setting your cat up on your lap and patting her head and back while she purrs softly. This activity helps produce stress-releasing hormones and makes you feel more relaxed and at ease – and your cat is likely to be practically ecstatic, too. It is the archetypal image of the Streicheleinheit.

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Although it is generally used in the context of animals, especially pets, you can also offer a petting session to your human friends. Here that means something akin to TLC – loving, loving care – the perfect remedy for a stressful day, and a great way to show care to those closest to you.

READ ALSO: German words to know: Der Stubentiger

You may be more used to hugging or kissing your loved ones when you greet them than petting them, but if your friend tells you that he needs some Streicheleinheiten, in practice it usually means slowly stroke them along the arm or back. .

This type of physical ailment has been shown to be effective in relieving stress for both donor and recipient: it reduces the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, and increases oxytocin levels, which helps in maintain emotional and mental well-being.

However, it doesn’t have to be just a physical activity – you can also experience a Streicheleinheit ‘für die Seele’ (for the soul) by treating yourself to something, for example a vacation or a trip to the spa, which will make you feel better: just like in English, we could call a vacation or time spent with family “good for the soul”.

But the main purpose of a Streicheleinheit is that it is given as an expression of love and care – it is not something that can be paid for, but it is something that is freely given. It can be reciprocal, but it is not conditional.


Everyone needs her hugs from time to time.

Everyone needs TLC from time to time.

You can expect a lot of hugs from real friends.

Real friends, you can expect a lot from TLC.

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