Life & Leisure
Schnitzeljagd ("hunt for Schnitzels"): That’s what Germans call a game of treasure hunt.

Schnitzeljagd

I remember birthday parties where we had to walk through our town and follow clues to find a treasure. I also remember my birthdays being in February and everyone having a cold the next day 😉

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Scheißtage: During the "crap days", German workers had to work for free to compensate for the time they have on the toilet the months before.

Scheißtage

There are memorial days for pretty much every kind of nonsense – from “International Lost Socks Memorial Day” or “Wiggle Your Toes Day.” However, the “Crap Days” in Germany were a real thing, and pretty severe for the ones they affected.

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Klobrille: Germans call their toilet seats “loo glasses”

Klobrille

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

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"Eierlegende Wollmilchsau" translates to "egg-laying wooly dairy pig". The term is used in German language to describe an all-in-one solution.

Eierlegende Wollmilchsau

This beautiful German term that is used for persons, devices and anything else that is required (or advertised) to serve an unrealistic number of purposes in a perfect way.

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

Kirschgrün

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.

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There is no doubt that “news greed” is the simplest and coolest way to translate curiosity

Neugier

The word does not only describe snooping behavior, but also factors such as a thirst for knowledge and the desire to explore new subjects.

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Arschgeweih: A lower back tattoo is literally called "ass antlers" in German

Arschgeweih

The term Arschgeweih has been part of popular culture in the early 2000s – there was even an election for “Miss Arschgeweih” conducted by Germany’s biggest daily newspaper “Bild“. 

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sturmfrei (“storm-free”): The state where no parents are at home and kids are free to do whatever they want.

sturmfrei

Sturmfrei is one of these German terms for which dictionaries do not even offer a vague equivalent. It does not only describe a certain state, but a special feeling where you really intend to use this temporary freedom.

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Leichenschmaus: A funeral reception is called a “corpse feast” in German

Leichenschmaus

I remember finding the word Leichenschmaus extremely off-putting when I was a kid and could not believe that a concept like this even existed. But it does indeed, and no, it is not linked to cannibalism…

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Trostpflaster ("patch of solace"): A small, usually insignificant compensation for a great disappointment.

Trostpflaster

The term is also frequently used in sports: For example, soccer fans often refer to the entire Europa League as a “Trostpflaster” for clubs that did’t make it to the Champions League. 

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Fingerspitzengefühl ("finger-tip feeling"): A fine sense of how to act in delicate situations

Fingerspitzengefühl

The word describes a mixture of empathy, psychological sensitivity, politeness, and eloquence that is needed unless you want to create an awkward atmosphere.

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Pustekuchen: When a German shouts “blowcake” at you, it means they don’t agree in the slightest with what you just said

Pustekuchen!

“Dieses Jahr wird Bayern München die Meisterschaft verpassen”—„Pustekuchen! Das wird nicht passieren” (“This year, Bayern Munich will miss the championship”—“Blowcake! That’s not gonna happen”).

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

Schnapsidee

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.

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

Jein

“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.”

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

Wollmaus

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.

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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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