Dictionary of Weirdness
Muskelkater: When your body feels all stiff and sore after you have worked out, Germans will say you have a terrible “muscle tomcat”

Muskelkater

More than 10 million Germans are members of a fitness club. Many of them demonstrate an iron German discipline, never leaving the gym until they have completed their third set of selfies.

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Mutterkuchen: The German word for placenta literally traslates to “mother‘s cake”

Mutterkuchen

The word generously ignores the fact that the placenta actually bears more resemblance to a steak tartare. Interestingly, the word “placenta” itself is cognate to German “Plätzchen”, meaning small biscuits.

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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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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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Nonnenfürzle: There is a traditional southern German carnival pastry whose name translates to “a nun‘s little farts”

Nonnenfürzle

Granted, not everyone in Germany knows this sweet dish – at least if they live north of Swabia where Nonnenfürzle originated from. However, its hilarious name and backstory make it just to good not mention. 

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Nullachtfünfzehn: When something is very average and not worth talking about, Germans say it's “zero eight fifteen”

Nullachtfünfzehn

Germans use this word to describe something that is downright boring due to its plainness and really doesn’t lure anyone out from behind the stove.

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Die Nutella vs. Das Nutella

Nutella

Although Nutella is not a German product, many of my compatriots have an almost cult-like devotion to the spread. It even has a tradition of causing emotional fights at the breakfast table about its true gender.

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Pariser

Clichés are very unfairly distributed. While the world sees us Germans as rather humourless organizational talents, the fine sense for physical pleasures is mainly attributed to the French.

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Pustekuchen: When a German shouts “blowcake” at you, it means they don’t agree in the slightest with what you just said

Pustekuchen!

“Dieses Jahr wird Bayern München die Meisterschaft verpassen”—„Pustekuchen! Das wird nicht passieren” (“This year, Bayern Munich will miss the championship”—“Blowcake! That’s not gonna happen”).

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Räuberleiter: When you give someone a leg up, Germans will say you are “building a robber‘s ladder”

Räuberleiter

The term probably goes back to the fact that in the past, robbers often used this method to try and reach low openings in buildings, such as windows.

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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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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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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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Schadenfreude: The feeling of joy over other peoples' mishaps

Schadenfreude

You know that situation when the bully gets his butt kicked for once? Or when the glamour boy arrives at school with a giant ugly zit on his nose? This is the point where Schadenfreude kicks in.

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Scheibenkleister! ("pane paste!") is what Germans say when „Scheiße“ happens but they try not to be vulgar

Scheibenkleister

These kind of euphemistic mispronunciations are present in other languages as well—just think of English “shoot!” or “sugar!”

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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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Schenkelklopfer: A joke that will make you laugh so hard you'll slap your thighs

Schenkelklopfer

Germany has a difficult relationship with humor. Nevertheless there is a bewilderingly large number of words for a joke: Witz, Scherz, Ulk, Jux, Flachs, and Kalauer are just 6 of the many examples.

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Schlitzohr ("slit ear"): That's how Germans call a rascal or someone who is not trustworthy

Schlitzohr

Everyone knows that one guy you wouldn’t buy a used car from. I don’t mean like a convicted criminal. More that Moe Szyslak type of person. That’s what Germans like to call a “Schlitzohr”.

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Schluckspecht: When you drink unreasonable amounts of alcohol, Germans will call you a “swallowing woodpecker”

Schluckspecht

According to the most recent studies, you can basically think of Germany as an all-year Oktoberfest with 83 million daily visitors.

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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"

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