Schlitzohr ("slit ear"): That's how Germans call a rascal or someone who is not trustworthy

Literally: “slit ear” / meaning: a person that is not trustworthy

Everyone knows that one guy you wouldn’t buy a used car from. I don’t mean like a convicted criminal. More like a Moe Szyslak type of person. A guy who constantly makes you feel like he’s up to no good. To describe this kind of person, the German language has brought up the term Schlitzohr.

It has been around since the 19th century. Regarding its origin, there is an unconfirmed but quite nifty theory. It says that in the past, craftsmen used to wear a golden earring with the coat of arms of their craft when they were on a journey. This would have served them as a nest egg in case they were in financial need. However, if the craftsman behaved dishonorably, his comrades would tear out his ring. He could then be easily recognized by the entire world as a Schlitzohr.

Fortunately, since I don’t wear an earring, I will be spared this ordeal. Still, I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy a used car from me.


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