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

literally: “dog weather” / meaning: bad weather

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. When dogs are used in proverbial expressions, it is almost exclusively in connection with something unpleasant. When someone is being nasty to you, they act hundsgemein (“as mean as a dog”). Etwas verhunzen (“roughly: to dog something”) means to completely ruin it. And, of course, when your phone’s home screen displays a dark cloud with three thick blue strokes, you know that it’s Hundewetter outside.

The expression originated from a time before Snoopy or Bolt, when dogs were regarded as something inferior or worthless by many. It is also known in many other languages, for instance as “temps de chien” in French, “hondenweer” in Dutch, and “собачья погода” in Russian. Good to know for the next time you have to make awkward small talk about the weather when you’re abroad.

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
Instagram Feed