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

literally: “hand shoe” / meaning: glove

There are some German word creations that seem so obvious and self-explanatory that it’s almost inconceivable to me how any other language would go with another concept. Handschuh is a perfect example.

It precisely describes what it refers to: a shoe for your hands. Why on earth would anyone bother creating an extra name for this clothing item without the ingenious shoe reference? Except, that’s exactly what most languages actually do. English “glove,” French “gaunt,” Spanish “guante” or Russian “перчатка” are not shoey at all. A friend of mine even had the brilliant idea to call cloth gloves “hand socks” and leather gloves “hand shoes,” which would take German preciseness to the next level. 

In this context, I have to bring up the fact that the word Handschuhfach (“glove box”) is misleading in both German and English alike. No one ever puts gloves there—I usually only find broken CDs and expired candy bars when I open it once every year.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

German Is Weird: Crazy Words von Arschkarte bis Zielwasser - from "ass card" to "aiming water"

For more language weirdness, check the brand new “German is weird” book. 

Related Weirdness

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!

Weirdest Articles