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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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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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


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”


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


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


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


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.


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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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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