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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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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Sesselfurzer ("armchair farter“): Someone who has a well-paid office job and hardly ever moves during work

Sesselfurzer

About 14,8 million Germans work in offices. That’s more than a third of all Germans who have a job. That’s one of reasons why many Germans already have quite a pronounced backside in their 30s. 

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Bäuerchen (“little farmer”): That‘s how Germans colloquially refer to a burp,especially one from a little child

Bäuerchen

In Germany, there is only one situation in which there is applause for a burp: when a mother pats her baby on the back—and he properly does his “Bäuerchen”. 

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Muffensausen: The anxiety that you feel before a challenging situation—like a date or an exam

Muffensausen

Imagine you have a very promising date—but instead of being full of anticipation, you feel strangely stressed, almost paralyzed. That’s the kind of anxiety that Germans call “Muffensausen”

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Scheibenkleister! ("pane paste!") is what Germans say when „Scheiße“ happens but they try not to be vulgar

Scheibenkleister

These kind of euphemistic mispronunciations are present in other languages as well—just think of English “shoot!” or “sugar!”

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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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