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

Erdmöbel

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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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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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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Handschuh: A glove is simply called a “hand shoe” in German and I think every other language in the world should steal this concept

Handschuh

Why on earth would anyone bother creating an extra name for this clothing item without the ingenious shoe reference?

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Staubsauger: A vacuum cleaner is called a “dust sucker” in German and without any doubt that‘s an objectively better name

Staubsauger

Just to get that right out of the way: “vacuum cleaner” is a crappy term, as my new Dyson does not clean vacuums, but carpets. In contrast, the German counterpart Staubsauger scores with perfect simplicity.

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Kotflügel: The fender of a car is literally called a “poop wing” in German

Kotflügel

The word comes from a time when the Germans streets were still dominated by horse-drawn carriages – and the tons of excrements they left behind.

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Feuerzeug: A cigarette lighter is simply called a "fire thing" in German

Feuerzeug

The German language seems to have an obscure obsession with “things”. You can describe virtually any type of device by combine the word Zeug (“thing”) with the actual purpose of the object.

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Kabelsalat: When your wires are all tangled and cluttered, Germans will say you have “cable salad”

Kabelsalat

The German word Salat is a tricky one, as it refers both to a salad and the typical ingredients a salad is usually made of, i.e. lettuce. It also conveys a connotation of chaos or disorder, like in this case.

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Klobrille: The German word for toilet seat literally translates to "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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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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