German is weird: A blog about the curiosities of the German language

German Is Weird: Crazy Words von Arschkarte bis Zielwasser - from "ass card" to "aiming water"

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Staubsauger: "A vacuum cleaner is called a “dust sucker” in German, and without any doubt, that’s an objectively better name."

Staubsauger

Just to get that right out of the way: “vacuum cleaner” is a crappy term, as my new Dyson does not clean vacuums, but carpets. In contrast, the German counterpart Staubsauger scores with perfect simplicity.

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Bauchpinseln: When you flatter someone to get in their favor, Germans will say you are “belly-brushing” that person

Bauchpinseln

A German proverb says: “Not complaining is enough praise.” We are truly not the masters of lavishing compliments. However, the concept of using feigned compliments as a weapon to win someone’s favor isn’t beyond a German’s reach.

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Wirtschaft: You know that a language is awesome when the word for ‘economy’ can also mean ‘pub’

Wirtschaft

Back in the days, when I watched my father reading the Wirtschaftsnachrichten („economy news“), I honestly thought he was trying to get informed about new restaurants in town.

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Brustwarze

Granted, the English equivalent “nipple” is not a happy choice either. But at least, it does not sound like something that you would immediately run to a dermatologist with. 

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Saftladen: When a business is poorly run, Germans like to say it's a "juice shop"

Saftladen

Oddly enough, a company does not need to be a shop nor particularly “juicy” in order to be called this way. The term just refers to any company that appears poorly organized or unpleasant in any other way. 

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Schnitzeljagd ("hunt for Schnitzels"): That’s what Germans call a game of treasure hunt.

Schnitzeljagd

I remember birthday parties where we had to walk through our town and follow clues to find a treasure. I also remember my birthdays being in February and everyone having a cold the next day 😉

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Scheißtage: During the "crap days", German workers had to work for free to compensate for the time they have on the toilet the months before.

Scheißtage

There are memorial days for pretty much every kind of nonsense – from “International Lost Socks Memorial Day” or “Wiggle Your Toes Day.” However, the “Crap Days” in Germany were a real thing, and pretty severe for the ones they affected.

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Klobrille: Germans call their toilet seats “loo glasses”

Klobrille

Despite the creative and somewhat funny name for our favorite thrones, the actual toilet design in Germany is usually pretty straightforward.

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Antibabypille ("anti baby pill"): That’s the actual German word for the birth control pill

Antibabypille

Is Germany a child-friendly nation? Well, not really, some might argue. In our country, children are held to the same standards as if they were under-grown adults.

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Hüftgold ("hip gold"): That’s how Germans refer to the excess fat around their waists

Hüftgold

“A man without a belly is a cripple”. That’s what my grandma used to say when I refused to eat. When it comes to justifying the excess pounds, we Germans are overwhelmingly creative.

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Inselbegabung: If you have great abilities in a specific area while your other skills are poor, Germans will say you have an"island gift"

Inselbegabung

Imagine being able to play Beethoven’s 9th Symphony flawlessly on the piano after hearing it only once, yet the concept of assembling an IKEA rack seems like rocket science to you.

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Maybe the most poetic word for a squint that any language in the world has to offer

Silberblick

The word refers to a slight squint that, depending on the beholder’s preferences, may well be considered to be kind of sexy and mysterious.

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"Eierlegende Wollmilchsau" translates to "egg-laying wooly dairy pig". The term is used in German language to describe an all-in-one solution.

Eierlegende Wollmilchsau

This beautiful German term that is used for persons, devices and anything else that is required (or advertised) to serve an unrealistic number of purposes in a perfect way.

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Flitzekacke: If it's too boring for you to say diarrhea in Germany, you can also say "speedy poop"

Flitzekacke

Disclaimer: Better not read this before lunch. To all of you who are still with me, I will take you on a journey to the wonderful world of German diarrhea…

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Kirschgrün: When they pass a traffic light just after it turned red, Germans like to defend themselves by saying it was “cherry green”

Kirschgrün

We’ve all been there. Approaching a traffic light, seeing it change from green to yellow, and then, just as you’re about to pass through, it flicks to red.

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There is no doubt that “news greed” is the simplest and coolest way to translate curiosity

Neugier

The word does not only describe snooping behavior, but also factors such as a thirst for knowledge and the desire to explore new subjects.

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German is weird: Fun Facts and Trivia about the German language

This blog is a love letter to the curiosities of the German language that give it its poetic and, at times, oddly humorous qualities.

German Is Weird: Crazy Words von Arschkarte bis Zielwasser - from "ass card" to "aiming water"

The “German Is Weird” book is now available: order here!

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