Kotflügel

The word comes from a time when the Germans streets were still dominated by horse-drawn carriages – and the tons of excrements they left behind.

Staubsauger

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

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.

Klobrille

Klobrille: Germans call their toilet seats “loo glasses”

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

Kirschgrün

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

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.

Kabelsalat

Kabelsalat: When your wires are all tangled and cluttered, Germans will say you have “cable salad”

The German word Salat is a tricky one, as it refers both to a salad and the typical ingredients a salad is usually made of, i.e. lettuce. It also conveys a connotation of chaos or disorder, like in this case.

Klammeraffe

Klammeraffe ("spider monkey"): That’s how Germans used to call the @-sign and I really wonder why no one uses this adorable name anymore

In the late 90s, the @ sign was virtually emblematic of the Internet boom. Today, we use it primarily to tag someone in a WhatsApp chat.

Erdmöbel

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

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.”

Fahrstuhl

Fahrstuhl: An elevator is called a “drive chair” in German,though I have never seenanyone sitting in there

I have witnessed people doing the weirdest stuff inside an elevator. Sitting on the floor and taking a rest is not one of them.

Ladenhüter

Ladenhüter (“shop guard”): That‘s how Germans refer to a product that sells very poorly

What do Lady Gaga’s Artpop album, Windows Vista and Chrystal Pepsi have in common? They were all gathering dust on the retail shelves without many people taking any interest in them.

Handschuh

Handschuh: A glove is simply called a “hand shoe” in German and I think every other language in the world should steal this concept

Why on earth would anyone bother creating an extra name for this clothing item without the ingenious shoe reference?