I recently received a friendly e-mail. It reads:
ich habe einen Vorschlag für ein zumindest vom Englischen ins Deutsche umständlich zu übersetzendes Verb:
And indeed, Felix is right. German has the thing with which to floss, they call it “Zahnseide”, and Spanish has “hilo dental”. But the corresponding verb is not evident to me: Neither *zahnseiden (ich *zahnseide, du *zahnseidest, er *zahnseidet…) nor any Spanish equivalent are accepted terms, even though they could be understood with some good will (yo *hilodentaleo, tu *hilodentaleas…). Then to floss becomes “to use dental floss”. And I cannot think of something better or more accurate.
By the way: I could not have said to floss in my childhood, as the noun was known since 1759, according to Merriam-Webster, but the verb was nor coined until 1974. If English could add this word to its vocabulary, so might German and Spanish, if the speakers of these languages so want.
Oh my God! Flossing does not work! It is useless! Can I consider the problem solved because irrelevant?