German is weird: A blog about the curiosities of the German language

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

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Seitensprung ("side jump"): That‘s how Germans refer to an affair, and I think it sounds more like an Olympic discipline than a romantic adventure

Seitensprung

In Germany, women are the ones who are in the lead when it comes to cheating. At least, that’s what a representative study from 2020 suggests.

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Muskelkater: When your body feels all stiff and sore after you have worked out, Germans will say you have a terrible “muscle tomcat”

Muskelkater

More than 10 million Germans are members of a fitness club. Many of them demonstrate an iron German discipline, never leaving the gym until they have completed their third set of selfies.

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Fahrstuhl: An elevator is called a “drive chair” in German,though I have never seenanyone sitting in there

Fahrstuhl

I have witnessed people doing the weirdest stuff inside an elevator. Sitting on the floor and taking a rest is not one of them.

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Mitesser ("eating companion"): That‘s how Germans refer to a blackhead and I think it‘s...quite a disgusting idea actually

Mitesser

The term “Mitesser” first appeared in a dictionary at the end of the 17th century. The expression refers to the widespread belief at the time that diseases were mainly due to parasites.

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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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Spargeltarzen ("asparagus Tarzan"): That‘s how Germans refer to an extremely skinny man

Spargeltarzan

It might be true that skinny shaming is just as bad as fat shaming. But still: men who don’t have an ounce of fat on their ribs always look a bit dorky to me.

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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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Segelohren ("sail ears"): That‘s how Germans call it when someone has protruding auricles

Segelohren

They are not viewed as negative as you might think. Take, for example, celebrities like Will Smith, Christiano Ronaldo, Kate Hudson and Daniel Craig. They all don’t hide their Segelohren.

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Ladenhüter (“shop guard”): That‘s how Germans refer to a product that sells very poorly

Ladenhüter

What do Lady Gaga’s Artpop album, Windows Vista and Chrystal Pepsi have in common? They were all gathering dust on the retail shelves without many people taking any interest in them.

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Eisprung: When a woman ovulates, Germans will say she has her “egg jump.” It’s not some slang word, it’s how you actually call it!

Eisprung

Non-native-speaking women in Germany should not be surprised if they are asked questions like “when did you have your last egg jump” at the gynecologist.

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Extrawurst: When someone receives special treatment, Germans will say they “get an extra sausage”

Extrawurst

We always talk about an Extrawurst when someone demands—or actually receives—an inappropriate privilege.

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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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Blümchensex ("flowerlet sex"): A way of making love that focuses on tenderness and romance without too many experiments

Blümchensex

What’s going on in German bedrooms? Well, nothing too exciting, apparently. According to a survey by the market research company YouGov, Germans largely prefer the missionary position.

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Wonneproppen (roughly: “bliss plug”): That‘s how Germans often refer to a littlechild who is chubbyin a cute way

Wonneproppen

A toddler needs a little bit of puppy fat to really appear adorable. This sparks a feeling in us of wanting to pinch his well-fed cheek and say, “Was für ein Wonneproppen!“

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Gänsefüßchen ("little goose feet"): I‘m pretty sure that‘s the most adorable word for “quotation marks” in any language

Gänsefüßchen

You won’t believe how complex the topic of quotation marks is until you do what I am doing in this very moment: write a text in a language other than your own.

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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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