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


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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Erdmöbel ("earth furniture"): A charmingly bureaucratic word for “casket” that originated in communist East Germany


The GDR existed for 40 years. Long enough to leave traces in language. Probably the best-known example is the “anti-fascist protective wall” – a.k.a. “Die Mauer.”

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


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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ß: This letter does not exist in any other language but German. It is even a bit too German for the Swiss, so they never use it ;)

Fußball, Weißwurst, Scheiße: ß is seen in some of the most internationally renowned German words out there.

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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 ;)


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”


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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Gell: One simple German word replaces any tag question like “isn’t it...”, “haven’t you...” or “weren’t they.”


Many Germans don’t even mind pronouncing the “ll,” smearing the word into something like “ge’” or “ge’ah.”

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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?


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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Bierernst: When you have a humorless attitude towards something, Germans will say you are taking it “beer serious”


Whenever someone approaches a matter with an inappropriate amount of seriousness, this is the perfect word of choice. Like German carnival sessions, for instance.

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Schluckspecht: When you drink unreasonable amounts of alcohol, Germans will call you a “swallowing woodpecker”


According to the most recent studies, you can basically think of Germany as an all-year Oktoberfest with 83 million daily visitors.

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Betthupferl ("little bed jumper"): That's how Germans refer to a small piece of candy that you eat right before bed time


It’s best to think of the word Betthupferl as “a little treat that makes you jump into bed more happily because you are full and satisfied.”

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Milchmädchenrechnung: That‘s how Germans refer to an assumption that makes sense only at first glance but turns out to be a naive fallacy


There are people out there who drive 120 kilometers from Berlin across the Polish border because Pjotr gives them a trendy bob haircut super cheap. A classic example for a “Milchmädchenrechnung”

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Gericht: Am I the only one who finds it strange that Germans use the same word for “dish” as for “law court?”


The German language offers a good amount of word pairs that seem completely unrelated to each other but spell exactly the same. “Gericht” is a classic example.

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Lizenzieren (“to license”): The most commonly misspelled word in the German language


We all agree that German grammar was made by the devil himself—and he was not in a good mood. When it comes to spelling, however, the language is far less diabolic. Except for some cases….

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Sommersprossen ("summer sprouts"): That‘s how Germans refer to freckles, and I think they look cute at any time of the year


Some might see them as a beauty flaw. Others, however, believe they look pretty cute on the faces of celebrities like Emma Watson, Dakota Fanning or Emily Ratajkowski.

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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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