Life & Leisure
When the care label of your slip is showing, Germans will say you are “receiving an ass fax”

Arschfax

It’s every foreign intern’s nemesis in Germany: this old-fashioned communication device that looks like a discarded push-button telephone has banged a printer.

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Schnapszahl ("booze number"): This is what Germans call a number that is composed of a sequence of identical digits.

Schnapszahl

You know why Schnapszahl is something like the perfect German word? Because it combines two of German’s greatest passions: the passion for booze… and the passion for order. 

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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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When you can’t remember what happened last night because you were too wasted, Germans will say you have a “film tear”

Filmriss

It’s important to know your limit so that exactly something like a Filmriss never happens. It’s not remotely pleasant to text your friends the next day in a panic to ask what on earth you’ve been up to.

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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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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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