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

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Nacktschnecke: A slug is simply called a “naked snail” in Germany

Nacktschnecke

Have you ever heard the cliché of Germans being somewhat uptight? Well, that’s not true across the board. Especially, when it comes to nudity, Germans are stunningly open-minded.

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Reliefpfeiler

Reliefpfeiler

German palindromes range from given names (Anna, Otto) to animals (Reittier – “mount”, Uhu – “eagle owl”) to objects (Lagerregal – “Storage rack”, Rotor – “Rotor”) and everything in between.

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Stuhlgang: The act of having a poop is formally called “chair walk” in German and I’m not really sure if I think that’s beautiful

Stuhlgang

There is that bar in Berlin called Das Klo (“the loo”). Given the name, it’s not hard to imagine what it is: a toilet-themed drinking location where you sit on an actual water closet while enjoying your pilsner.

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Karteileiche ("file corpse"): A member who is registered but inactive

Karteileiche

I still get mail once a year from the dental clinic I last visited about 10 years ago. For this doctor’s office, I am a typical Karteileiche today.

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Geheimratsecken: When your hairline recedes above your temples, Germans will say you are getting “secret council corners”

Geheimratsecken

Nature is very unjust when it comes to hair loss. Some guys will still look like a Monchichi in their 60s. Others get close to baldness even before their Abitur.

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Kummerspeck ("sorrow bacon"): German has an extra word for the weight you gain when you are feeling down

Kummerspeck

I am sure we have all had our fair share of painful breakups. More often than not, the grief is so strong that it moves from the soul into the body and becomes apparent in the form of drastic weight changes.

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Heimscheißer - German is Weird

Heimscheißer

For such a precise-sounding term, the word Heimscheißer is remarkably versatile. On the most basic level, it simply describes what it says: a person who prefers to do their number 2’s at home.

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Erdbeerwoche "strawberry week": A very creative way to refer to menstruation in German

Erdbeerwoche

Erdbeerwoche is a undeniably awesome euphemism for that time of the month. There are even more hilarious expressions for mother nature’s gift.

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Saulkaue: When your handwriting is so bad that it looks like a pig wrote it, Germans will say you have a “sow hoof”

Sauklaue

Nearly nine in ten educators say that students’ handwriting has become worse in recent years. Or in other words: more and more students have a real Sauklaue.

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Speckgürtel ("bacon belt"): That’s how Germans refer to the rings of wealthy suburbs around their cities

Speckgürtel

The “Speckgürtel” of Frankfurt for instance is known to be home to some of Germany’s richest municipalities, the likes of Königstein or Kronberg.

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Arschbombe: A cannonball jump is called an "ass bomb" in German

Arschbombe

Cannonball jump: the diving style that gives chubby people some bragging rights during summer season.

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Schwalbe: When a soccer player pretends to have been fouled, Germans will shout, "swallow"

Schwalbe!

or other nations, soccer is a game of physical elegance and athletic artistry. For Germans, Fußball is basically 22 men working their butts off.

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Erdmöbel ("earth furniture"): A charmingly bureaucratic word for “casket” that originated in communist East Germany

Erdmöbel

The GDR existed for 40 years. Long enough to leave traces in language. Probably the best-known example is the “anti-fascist protective wall” – a.k.a. “Die Mauer.”

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Fremdenverkehr ("strangers' traffic): That’s the formal German word for tourism and I don’t think it sounds very inviting

Fremdenverkehr

If there was just one German word that should be stripped from all dictionaries rather sooner than later: “Fremdenverkehr” should be the one.

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ß: This letter does not exist in any other language but German. It is even a bit too German for the Swiss, so they never use it ;)

Fußball, Weißwurst, Scheiße: ß is seen in some of the most internationally renowned German words out there.

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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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