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

Bergfest

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.

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

Glückspilz

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?

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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!

verschlimmbessern

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.

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

Karteileiche

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.

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Heimscheißer - German is Weird

Heimscheißer

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.

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

Arschbombe

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

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Schwalbe: When a soccer player pretends to have been fouled, Germans will shout, "swallow"

Schwalbe!

or other nations, soccer is a game of physical elegance and athletic artistry. For Germans, Fußball is basically 22 men working their butts off.

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Fremdenverkehr ("strangers' traffic): That’s the formal German word for tourism and I don’t think it sounds very inviting

Fremdenverkehr

If there was just one German word that should be stripped from all dictionaries rather sooner than later: “Fremdenverkehr” should be the one.

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Klugscheißer ("wise shitter"): That’s how Germans refer to a know-it-all. And believe me, you will find a good amount of them in Germany ;)

Klugscheißer

Klugscheißen is a true national sport in Germany. To be honest, it is hard to have a conversation with a German without them correcting you every 10 seconds.

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Spendierhosen: When you are in a generous mood, Germans will sayyou are wearing your “spending pants”

Spendierhosen

The expression is born of a joking idea that generosity is not a matter of character, but of the pants you are wearing and the tailor who created them.

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Feierabend ("celebration evening"): That’s the German word for the end of the work day. Who said that Germans aren't party animals?

Feierabend

To many people, Germany is synonymous with diligence and productivity. Yet we don’t work any more than other Europeans—at least when calculated by time.

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Elefantenrennen: That's how Germans refer to a lengthy overtaking maneuver of two trucks on the Autobahn

Elefantenrennen

German LKW just don’t look as badass as American trucks. Plus, they tend to block the roads with lengthy and completely out-of-place overtaking maneuvers just when I want to get home quickly because I have Flitzkacke. 

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"Gemütlichkeit" has been voted “most beautiful German word” by foreigners in a recent survey. It describes an atmosphere of comfort, peace and acceptance.

Gemütlichkeit

Don’t be fooled by dictionaries that try to tell you that Gemütlichkeit is merely a translation of the English word “coziness.” There’s much more to it than sitting on the sofa in your comfy clothes.

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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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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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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!

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