Untranslatable German Words

Engelsgeduld: (lit.: angel’s patience) great amount of patience
Feierabend: (lit.: party-evening) the rest of the day that remains after work
Fernweh: the desire/longing to travel to faraway places/ foreign countries
Fingerspitzengefühl: (lit.: fingertips-feeling) good skill in handling things/ sensitivity and empathy
Fremdschämen: (lit.: foreign shame) shame that arises from the compassion with someone who made a fool of himself
Geborgenheit: more than safety, protection and invulnerability, it symbolises peace, warmth and calm you feel especially when you’re with the people you’re close to (e.g. family, friends)
Gemütlichkeit: feeling of comfort
Habseligkeiten: valuable and personally important possessions
Innerer Schweinehund: (lit.: inner pig-dog = weaker self) the part of a person that they have to overcome to be productive
Kitsch: objects with superficial beauty that are actually useless but are appreciated nonetheless
Konfliktfähigkeit: (lit.: conflict ability/skill) ability to deal with conflict / ability to constructively solve interpersonal conflicts
Kummerspeck: (lit.: grief/sorrow bacon (fat)) gained weight from emotional overeating (especially after a breakup)
Lebenslüge: (lit.: life’s lie) a lie that you tell yourself to make life more bearable
Mitdenken: (lit.: with-thinking) ability to think for yourself and do more than what you were demanded to do / trying to find a conceptional solution to a problem together with other people
Sehnsucht: intense inner longing for somebody, something or a place
Schnapsidee: (lit.: schnapps idea) a ridiculous and crazy plan/idea you have while you are drunk
Sprachgefühl: (lit.: language feeling) feeling/sense of language, instinctive feel for a certain language / intuitive feeling of what is linguistically appropriate
Stehaufmännchen: (lit.: little stand up man) someone who doesn’t give up and begins anew
Torschlusspanik: (lit.: gate-closing-panic) the fear of missing something important / not being able to do some things (because you’re too old)
Verschlimmbessern: (lit.: verschlimmern=exasperate, verbessern=improve) improve something for the worse / make something worse but with having had the intention of improving it
Vorführeffekt: (lit.: demo effect) the effect that something you’re actually able to do doesn’t work when you want to demonstrate it to other people
Waldeinsamkeit: (lit.: forest loneliness/solitude) the seclusion/solitude of the forest
Warmduscher: (lit.: warm showerer/ somebody who showers with warm water) a wimp / a person that doesn’t like to leave their comfort zone
Weltschmerz: (lit.: world pain (world weariness)) gratuitous melancholia / kind of feeling experienced by someone who believes that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind / the feeling of anxiety caused by the ills of the world
Zeitgeist: (lit.: time-spirit, spirit of the time ) the dominant set of ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of the members of a society in a particular period in time

What’s your favorite swear word?


“Du blöde Pissnelke”, probably. It roughly translates to “you stupid carnation” and yeah, german makes no sense. A close runner up is the more recent “Schnieptröte” which is utterly intranslatable (seriously, I wouldn’t even know where to start – Tröte is a derogatory word for a flute and Schniep isn’t even a word but it’s hilarious, and it’s based on this exellent comic: https://erzaehlmirnix.wordpress.com/)

German insults are the bestest! I call my family members pig-dog (not even the German version, just English) all the time. It usually gets a laugh.

Now… I don’t actually speak German, but my family has passed down a lot of Pennsylvania Dutch English type sayings, phrases, and words. Also the sentence structure, but we’ll not speak of that right now 😛

My family passed down other things that I have since found out weren’t even close to right, including what we’ve always called children’s pacifiers – German slang for penis. Yeah, I hope nobody heard us saying that :-O

Anyway, these might not be right, but they’re used by my family.

speichellecker – spit licker
kotzbrocken – pile of puke
hosenscheisser – pants/jeans shitter
dummkopf – idiot (that one is the most frequently used)
and in my family hossenfeffer is a stupid insult meant to make everyone laugh even though all it is is a rabbit dish 😀

Oh, and if you were wondering, my favorite swear word is fan-fucking-tasting. I love mashing words together!




Sometimes I look at German and think “Are you guys okay??” Like when I learned that the word “morgue” in German is “Leichenschauhaus”. THAT LITERALLY TRANSLATES TO “CORPSE VIEWING HOUSE”. I know German is a very logical language but that’s taking it a tad too far guys

Do you know about “Leichenschmaus” yet?


For everyone who doesn’t know (I had to look it up myself), this is the word for a wake or funeral reception THAT LITERALLY TRANSLATES TO CORPSE FEAST


Tbh the idea that German is an angry or ugly language is just French propoganda to divert attention away from the fact that French sounds exactly like when your dog is choking on some plastic wrapper he found somehow