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  • Leo

    have you heard of the “Wutbürger” (Wut = rage Bürger = citizen) that describes angry citizens who demonstrate against everything wihtout agreeing to discuss the problem.
    Best example: The planned contruction of the railroadstation Stuttgart 21
    btw: railroadstation is translated to “Bahnhof” (Bahn = Train and Hof = yard) :>

    another funny thing: Schneebesen (schnee = snow / besen = broom) means egg wisk/ egg beater =D

  • Gunnar

    By the way … “Wutbürger” is a serious thing! I just wanted to say that.

  • I just found a very cool sounding, yet hardly useful German word. I give this to the collective: Waldeinsamkeit: The feeling of being alone in the woods.

  • Krustus

    Hi, its been a time since the last comment but i want to share some German words and phrases with you.
    First i apologize for any mistakes in my English Language – its been awhile since i used my english.
    Im from North germany and this whole “most liked german word” discussion is very interesting.

    here are some phrases that are used:
    Ich glaub´ich steh im Wald! – I think i stand in the Forest!
    This phrase is well known and used often. It´s used when you are upset about something. For example your child paint the Walls, you see it and say: Ich glaub´ ich steh im Wald! It also means that you are really surprised about something. If a German ever see an UFO/Alien ship the chances are high, that he say first: ich glaub ich steh im Wald 🙂

    Another Phrase with exactly the same sense is: Spielst du jetzt Arschloch hoch Amerika? (Do you Play Asshole up America?) Its used when someone behave really bad.
    Its not so well known in Germany but some of the elder Germans are still using it.

    Another “Oldschool” Phrase is: Hier sieht es aus wie bei Hempels unterm Sofa. (It looks like under the couch of the Hempels) ((Sorry i cant translate this well)).
    It means a dirty room like an dirty child room. I like this phrase a lot 🙂

    ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift (I think my pig whistles). Its basically the same as Ich glaub ich steh im Wald and is used in the same oppurtunities.

    Du kannst mir den Buckel runterrutschen (You can slide down my back). Its the old fashioned way to say someone you hate him.

    Du hast doch den Arsch offen (You have the Ass open) – Its used when someone did something crazy or risky. For example Jump from a driving car.
    It is also used if you dont believe someone. When you think someone is lying to you then you say Du hast doch den Arsch offen. Its a offensive way to tell it.

    So enough phrase here are some words i like a lot.

    LeidensgenoÃ?e – Leidens (suffering) genoÃ?e (comrade).
    Its someone who suffering for the same reason like you. For example you are sick and your girlfriend too then she is your LeidensgenoÃ?e.

    Schmarotzer (freeloader, parasite) Someone who lives on your costs. For example your friend lived in your apartement but paid nothing for the rent or for food. He is a Schmarotzer.

    Mors (ass) Not more. Not less. Just ass 🙂 Leck mich am Mors – Lick my ass.

    Gedankenwelt – Gedanken (thoughts) welt (world). The world of your mind. simply it means the world in your head when you are thinking. Its hard to descripe. If you think about something you are in your Gedankenwelt.

    Trantüte, Trantuete . Tran (fish oil) tüte, tuete (bag). It means a Person which is very slow or lazy. Someone who is not motivated to do anything.

    Speichellecker – Speichel (saliva) lecker (licker).
    Du bist ein Speichellecker – You are a saliva licker. Means someone who kiss asses. A person who do everything for his Boss in example or for something other higher ranked Person. Someone who kiss asses for an advantage.

    And my beloved tongue Breaker (a word or phrase which is very hard to speak)
    Wenn man gegen ein Minimum Aluminium immun ist hat man eine Aluminiumminimumimmunität 🙂
    If you are immune against a minimum of aluminium you have a aluminiumminimumimmunity. try to speak this so fast and often you can. It fun 🙂

    There are so much more words that are very cool but for now its enough. I doubt that someone will read this after this time – but it was fun to share my “geistigen DünnschiÃ?” (mind diarrhea) with you guys.

    see you 🙂

    • Wow thanks for this enormen Beitrag (hope that was right, I used Google translate). A list of Top 10 German idioms might be in there! My favorite is “Hier sieht es aus wie bei Hempels unterm Sofa.” Those poor Hempels, they were so messy they can never live it down. In my neighborhood they are probably saying Hier sieht es aus wie bei Bennetts unterm Sofa.” 🙂

  • Ed Roberts

    Someone told that there is a German word “To want something specific but you don’t know what it is.” Any ideas? 🙂

    • Loki


      Do you mean “Dingsbums”? I using it a lot, when i am working in the garden or d.i.y. You say: “Gib mir mal den Dingsbums…na, den Dings….den Spaten halt. (Handle me the….the…., the spade).

      For all:
      My favorite German word: Viertopfzerknalltreibling. I am working as a “Beamter” (civil servant) and in the old days there were a lot of different languages used by some professions like in the justice or in the bureaucracy.
      The german bureaucracy tried to speak very technically and so they dont used the word “Motor(Engine)”, they used “Verbrennungsmaschine(burning machine)”. Some comedians and for jokes they invented new alteration like “Vier/topf/zerknall/treibling = four/pot/bursting/propellant
      You still know PKW/car or LKW/truck? LKW = Lastkraftwagen = loadpowervehicle


  • In Austria we have prolonged the Donaudampfschifffahrtskapitänswitwenrente to
    Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenskajuetenbett. The translation is: The bed in the room of the captain of a boat travelling on the Danube. Try to top that!

    • Impressive! Thanks for sharing it – I’m visiting Germany in July and will see if I can get someone to pronounce that for me 🙂

  • Outlier

    My favorite German word, one that should be included in every top ten word list, is “schlimmbesserung”–an improvement that makes things worse. I get to use it at least a few times a week when dealing with government programs…

  • Glen

    Hello everyone
    A German word i also like, thanks to the Belgian comedian Alex Agnew (I’m Belgian too), is schmetterling, which means butterfly.
    I especially like the contrast with other languages, in which butterfly sounds graceful and elegant-ish.
    French: Papillon, Dutch: Vlinder and then you have German…

    • Schmettern means ‘dash’ or ‘throw violently’ which is sort of how I would describe butterfly flight patterns if I was terrified of them. Perhaps the first German to see a butterfly was a lepidopterophobe. Interesting contrast that the German word for spider is Spinne (spinner), which makes them sound like graceful artists instead of creepy crawlies.

      • Danny

        Maybe it’s because I’m German, but I don’t think Schmetterling does sound that angry.
        Of course, if I try to sound angry it sounds pretty aggressive, but you can shout butterfly pretty agressively, too.

        Also, Schmetterling doesn’t come from “schmettern” but from “Schmetten” which seems to be a loanwoard from the czech word for cream. In folk believe, Schmetterlinge (and witches transfigured as butterflies) were believed to steal cream and other dairy products (that belief also the origin for >butter<fly, I believe).

        • Interesting, thanks for sharing! (Although I’m a little disappointed my theory about the German lepidopterophobe didn’t pan out.) Always wondered why butterflies were called butterfly in English, too, so thanks again!

  • “Donau dampfschiffahrts elektrizitäten hauptbetriebswerk bauunterbeamten gesellschaft”
    is the longest german word I know. The Donau is a river in Germany though. The rest in english? Google it 😉

  • Kat

    awsome post. i had a lot of fun reading it, especially because i am german.
    its amazing reading about your own language from a different point of view
    I have to admit i love Fleisch 😀 its great, especially Fleischsalat (cut up sausage with pickles mayonaise and some other stuff)
    I do have a complete different understanding of Weltschmerz tho. its not that you look at the state of the world in general its more about your emotional state
    lets say its one of those days where everything goes wrong and you cant really see the joy in anything and all you wanna do is hide under ur blanket then you have Weltschmerz
    all the best, kat

  • Elle

    The greatest german word is: Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterlattengitterkotterbeutelrattenattentater

    • Which means?

      • Viennese style

        “Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterlattengitterkotterbeutelrattenattentater” doesn’t make any sense, it’s just a bunch of words that have “tt” in them stacked together (Hottentotten, Stotter, Trottel, Mutter, Latte, Gitter, Beutelratte, Attentäter.)

        Another aspect of the German language that has not been mentioned yet is the importance of upper and lower case:

        Die Spinnen (The spiders)
        Die spinnen (They are mad)

        Warum sind füllige Frauen gut zu Vögeln? (Why do corpulent women treat birds good?)
        Warum sind füllige Frauen gut zu vögeln? (Why are corpulent women a good lay?)

        Er hat liebe Genossen. (He has dear comrades)
        Er hat Liebe genossen. (He had enjoyed love)

        Wäre er doch nur Dichter! (If only he was a poet)
        Wäre er doch nur dichter! (If only he was more sane)

        Sich brüsten und anderem zuwenden. (To gloat over sth. and turn towards something else)
        Sich Brüsten und anderem zuwenden. (To turn towards breasts and other things)

        Sie konnte geschickt Blasen und Glieder behandeln. (She was skilled in treating blisters and limbs)
        Sie konnte geschickt blasen und Glieder behandeln. (She was skilled in giving blow jobs and treating limbs. Glieder can also be translated to members which would refer to penis)

        Der gefangene Floh. (The catched flea)
        Der Gefangene floh. (The prisoner fled)

        Helft den armen Vögeln. (Help poor birds)
        Helft den Armen vögeln. (Help poor people getting laid)

        Granted, you don’t often come across sentences like these, but they still show using upper or lower case can change the meaning dramatically 🙂

  • Schmetterling

    Tolle Idea hattest du, gefällt mir deine Seite!!!!

  • Astrid

    Did you know that in one case, the English language has a compund noun where German doesn’t? Fenster – window. The German Fenster is from latin fenestra. The English window is actually a wind-eye. Because ow = eye in the etymologic roots of the word. I like wind-eye better than Fenster.

    Other than that I totally adore all the German compound nound mage with “Zeug” = stuff/equipment.
    Zeughaus (equipment house), Fahrzeug (vehicle/ stuff that rolls), Flugzeug (airplane/ stuff that flies), Feuerzeug (a lighter/ fire equipment), Werkzeug (tools / work stuff) .

    I also have a question. Is there any english word to accurately translate the German verb “fahren” or the noun “Fahrt”.
    Because “fahren” is used as “to drive” (Auto fahren) , “to ride a train” (Zug fahren), “to ride a hot air-balloon” (Ballon fahren), “to travel on a ship” (Schiff fahren) or “to go on vacation” (In den Urlaub fahren).
    And “Fahrt” is used to describe any journey “Wallfahrt” for example is a pilgrimage, and “Kaperfahrt” (= hijack journey) is the venture of a pirate crew looking for loot.

    However my all-time favorite German word is “Wasserstoff” (water-material) for hydrogen.

    • Yet the English word for being thrown out of a window is ‘defenestration’ – interesting…

      Regarding your question about “fahren” – the English word navigate works in all of your examples except the last one – where “embark” might be a good English equivalent.

  • Ellie

    Here in England, we use the word “schadenfreude” (I thought it was schadenfreunde [shadow friend] at first and thought that it sounded quite sweet for what it meant). My favourite German word is still “Naturwissenschaften” [science] because it was the first ‘long’ German word I learnt at school. I also like the word “Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän” which I learnt at school.

    • Martin

      Sorry, but that was not correct translated.

      Schadenfreude(gloating, mischievousness) should be damage happiness / harm delight.

      Shadow friend would be Schattenfreund, a guy who hates the pure sun or loves the shady spots – you’re not a vampire, are you?!

      I found a nice joke and it fits perfect to the reply of Viennese:
      Wenn ich von Gleichgeschlechtlicher Liebe rede, wissen sicher alle was ich meine, denn wer von uns kann es schon abwarten, und so ist Liebe eigentlich immer gleich geschlechtlich… .
      Talking about same sex love – all of you kown what i mean. Who can wait for it and so the love is always sex immediately….

      • Schattenfreund would be an excellent last name for a character in a vampire book or movie!

  • Lisa

    Talking german all day, I usually don’t really think about what a beautiful language it really is. 🙂
    Two of my favourite words are probably “Sommersprossen” and “Tohuwabohu”.
    I like speaking english too. Some of my favourite words are “gorgeous” and “shiver”.
    I think it is amazing how much work you put into finding out all those translations and learning more about the language. I really like this site!

  • Kim

    Actually I never heard the word ‘Weltschmerz’ before. But I think even children know what Schadenfreude is. There is even a proverb for that: Wer den Schaden hat braucht für den Spott nicht zu sorgen. translates this as ‘The laugh is always with the loser’ and I think that’s quit near at the meaning. I just think that it’s sad that so many people think that Schadenfreude and sadism is the same… I mean there’s a huge difference between those words.
    I had to laugh at the long words. I don’t think that people who speak german really use them. Usually you just hear them when you’re playing hangman and then it’s quit fun to make up really really long words.
    I also had to think about your rant about ‘Speck’. As a native speaker I can tell you that you don’t really think about that stuff. Sure we call the fat (Speck) on our body and our food the same but you don’t realize it at all. And Fleisch is just Fleisch. Where’s the difference between the Fleisch on my body and the Fleisch I eat? It’s just from different animals (or humans xD) but after all it’s still the same. But maybe that’s just how we germans think ^^
    But if you ask me there are a lot of times where I like english more than german. There are some things in our language that sound much better in english (especially sexual stuff… you complained about our words for nipple. There are things that are worse. The penis is also called penis in german but there are other english words like ‘dick’ and in german there’s the word ‘Schwanz’. It literally means tail…

  • Sarah

    Have you ever heard of (excuse my spelling, I’ve never seen it spelled out just heard it) poutchen soup? My mom taught me how to add these home made noodles to beef and veg soup. They are made with the soup broth an egg salt n pepper and flour. You roll them out n cut into 1″ squares then add to boiling soup? It it German? Thanks

  • Jim

    I posted a few of my own, plus one I’m looking for:

  • tinadazzle741

    Sir, I have found a nice tool namely to find favorite words. Its a free tool, lacks some features since it’s still in beta. I’m sure anyone using this tool will love it and find it extremely useful.