Funny German Words

My Favorite German Words (Meine Lieblingswörter)

In honor of Oktoberfest this month, I thought I
would put together a list of my favorite German words.  These are my
favorite words for two reasons: 1.The Germans have one word that takes a whole
sentence to explain what it means. 2. The word makes more sense than our
English equivalent.  And most of them are fun to say as well!

Words that come with a long explanation:

Drachenfutter – Translation: ‘dragon food’.  What it
 the gift that you bought your significant other when you’ve
done something wrong.  You are literally feeding “The Dragon”.
 Be sure to NOT mention the fact that the gift is drachenfutter in front
of the dragon. 

yes, this is a REAL candybar that can be purchased!

Kummerspeck – Translation: ‘grief bacon’.  What it means: it
is the weight that you’ve gained after emotional stress eating.  

are you an emotional overeater gaining kummerspeck? 

Torschlusspanik – Translation: ‘door close panic’.  What
it means
: It is that feeling you get when it occurs to you that you’re
getting older and haven’t accomplished what you meant to in your life.

Treppenwitz – Literally ‘stair joke’.  What it means: It
is that witty remark you think of as soon as you leave the room or a few hours
later and you wish you could’ve thought of it earlier! 

Wish I would’ve thought of that earlier!!

Schadenfreude. Literally “harm joy”. What it
: having pleasure from the misfortune of others.  Why I like
They have a word that means you laugh at things that shouldn’t be
funny. Here’s an example: when someone falls down or runs into a door, you
laugh.  Yeah, I heard you laughing when I fell. Thanks. 

Falling is always funny

Ohrwurm. Literally “ear worm”.  What it means: a
song that gets stuck in your head.  Why I like it: having a
song that’s stuck in your head would be like having a worm stuck in your ear!

Wanderlust: literally “enjoyment of hiking”. What it means:
well, it’s also an English word.  The desire to travel/wander. 

Backpfeifengesicht – Literally “back whistling face” What
it means
: A face that begs to be slapped.

slap his face

 Klugscheißer literally “clever shitter” What
it means: 
a person that consistently corrects other peoples’ mistakes
in writing, speaking, etc. aka “a wise ass”. Why I like it: well,
I had to include a word on this list that used the “ß”, so I thought this word was perfect.

shitting cleverness

Verbs and miscellaneous
words I wish we had:

Umsteigen literally “to change buses/cars/planes/trains” or other
modes of transportation. Why I like it: We don’t have an exact
equivalent in English.  In English we have to say, we will take the yellow
line to stop 3 and then g
et off and switch to the red line and get off at stop 6.  In German you could just say yellow line to stop 3 and umsteigen to red line and get off at stop 6. 

umsteigen from the green to the red line here.

Vorgestern – literally “the day before yesterday”.  Why
I like it
: Because they have one word to describe the day before yesterday.
Way more efficient.

Übermorgen – literally the day after tomorrow. Why I like it: Just
like vorgestern, it’s the day after tomorrow… but in one word.

Gondolierenliterally to ride a gondola. Why
I like it
: In English we have to say “we took a gondola ride in
Venice.”  In German, you can just say “we gondola-d in
Venice”. See? Way better.

we gondola=d in Venice!

übernachtenliterally to stay overnight.  Why I like it: Instead
of saying “We stayed overnight in Triberg” you can say “We
overnight’d in Triberg”.  

I’ve uebernachted at this hotel… it was nice!

Fun Words

Leckerschmecker. Literally: “yum yum”. What it means: the
literal translation is pretty self-explanatory.  They are tasty
treats. Why I like it: This is my favorite word. Say it super
fast. It’s fun!

goats think anything is tasty

Krankenwagen. Literally “sick wagon”.  What
it means: 
an ambulance.  But what does ‘ambulance’ even mean? I’d
rather ride in a sick wagon than an ambulance. 

I’d rather take a sick wagon to the hospital

Handschuhe. Literally “Hand shoes”. What
it means: 
gloves! But aren’t hand shoes the perfect way to describe
what gloves really are? They’re shoes for your hand! Possibly one of the cutest
German words there is.

my hands have shoes

Kindergarten Literally “Children’s Garden”. What it
: well, it’s actually an English word too.  Except we spell it
“Kindergarden”. Why I like it: you send your children to
the garden(aka school) to let them grow. 

Baumschule: literally “tree school”. What
it means:
 nursery.  It’s funny because trees go to school and
children go to the garden. I guess it’s because you train your trees to grow,
but the children grow in school. 

Liebling literally “darling or favorite”. Why
I like it:
 because if you add an ‘s’ at the end of the word, you can
put it in front of any word if it’s your favorite. Also, it’s one of the
sweeter terms of endearment in German.  Examples: Is that your
favorite handschuh? Ja, that is my lieblingshandschuh. Bonus, you get to say
another favorite word again. Example 2: WHOA they have lederhosen here? Those
are my favorite! now, with liebling: Whoa die haben lederhosen hier? Das it
mein lieblingslederhosen! 

Doch: literally nevertheless, still, yet. What
it means: 
well, there’s not an *exact* English translation which is
one reason why this word is so good. We could use it! I can’t really explain
it, other than it’s pretty much the perfect retort to everything.
Check out this long post that explains it.

Regenschirm literally “rain shield”. What
it means: 
umbrella. Rain shield makes way more sense than an umbrella.
I vote we switch our words.

rain shield keeps you dry

Schmetterling literally “something that gets
smashed”. What it means: butterfly! I think this word is
funny because Schmetterling sounds so angry (but it’s fun to say) to describe a
beautiful butterfly.  

Kartoffelpuffer literally “potato puffs”. What
it means: potato pancakes. Why I like it: Because it’s fun to say! And I
loooove Kartoffelpuffer! 

Mein lieblingspotato!

Pfeffernüsse. Literally “pepper nuts”. What
it means: 
spice cookies.  These are the little spice cookies that
are frequently seen around Christmas time.

I confess, I don’t like these cookies but they’re fun to say!

Eichhörnchen literally “little oak horn”. What
it means
: squirrel!  This word is just fun. To think that squirrels
are little oak horns is kind of funny

i have a funny name

Schneeeule literally ‘snowy owl’. Why I like it: there are 3 e’s in a row.

I have 3 e’s in my name

Ausfahrt: literally ‘to drive off’. What
it means:
 to exit (for cars). Why I like it: because
it’s fun to say! Do you know what “entrance” is? Einfahrt! bahaha.

let’s ausfahrt right here

einfahrting is forbidden 

Geschwindigkeitsbegrezung: meaning speed limit. Why
I like it:
 well, I don’t. Must 
this word
be so long?

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmütze meaning the Danube steamboat shipping company’s Captain’s
hat. Why I like it? This is one of those great German compound
words where you can keep adding things onto the word.  And, there’s a set
of 3 ‘f’s in a row. 

check out my hat!

What’s your favorite German word? Leave a comment!

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  1. September 27, 2014 / 12:16 am

    Haha love this. My brother-in-law told me the german word for bra is schtupemfromfluppen

    • Anonymous
      July 8, 2015 / 2:00 am

      The german word for bra is either BH or Buestenhalter (ue instead of the u with dots on top because I moved to Australia) which means Bust Holder.

      Your brother is lying to you Simone haha

  2. July 4, 2016 / 7:49 pm

    Yes BH or Buestenhalter is the correct German word for a bra.