Schnapsidee

Schnapsidee ("booze idea"): An idea so crazyyou can hardly imagine someone came up with it in a sober condition

If you ever texted your ex at 3 a.m. after you have just recovered from the breakup, you know that ideas you have under heavy alcohol influence are rarely worth imitating.

Jein

"Jein": German gives you the power to say yes and no at the same time with just four letters.

“Did you watch the German national team game yesterday” – “Jein. I left the TV on. But my Tinder date came to visit, so I didn’t catch that much of it.”

Wollmaus

Wollmaus: A dustball on the floor is called a “woolen mouse” in German

Germans spend around two and a half hours a week cleaning their homes. That doesn’t quite live up to their reputation as cleanliness fanatics.

Mahlzeit

Mahlzeit: To this day, there are people in Germany who greet around noon by shouting “meal” at each other

It’s an expression that I can hardly believe has survived into the present day because it sounds so utterly bizarre. Nevertheless, you still hear it from time to time, especially in larger companies.

Bergfest

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

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.

Glückspilz

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

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?

verschlimmbessern

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!

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.

Karteileiche

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

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.

Heimscheißer

Heimscheißer - German is Weird

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.

Arschbombe

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

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