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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Bergfest ("mountain celebration"): German has an extra word for “the chronological center of a stressful process”

Bergfest

For the Oktoberfest, Germans have to wait a whole year. So it helps a lot that there is a festivity that they can celebrate every week, all without being forced to wear Dirndl and Lederhosen.

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Glückspilz (“lucky mushroom”): That’s how Germans refer to a person who is always on the fortunate side

Glückspilz

What does a German actually need to be happy? According to a study from 2020, the job is the most important factor—how could it be any different?

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Tote Oma: There is a classic East German dish whose name translates to "dead grandma"

Tote Oma

This one is a real GDR classic. It dates back to socialist times when many products were scarce and housewives had to try to put something tasty on the table for their family with the means at hand.

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Verschlimmbessern: German has an extra word for “making something worse by trying to improve it,” and I think every language in the world needs something like this!

verschlimmbessern

If you haven’t had an idea of what “verschlimmbessern” means—just think about the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee in soccer that wiped out a lot of the emotions without really making the game any more fair after all.

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Hundewetter: When it's very unpleasant outside, Germans will say it's a "dog weather"

Hundewetter

The shepherd dog is emblematic of Germany in a way that otherwise only socks and sandals are. Without a doubt, Germans love their canine friends. So it comes as a great surprise that this love is not at all reflected in their 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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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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