The greatest words in the German language.
Just my humble opinion, naturally, but these are some of the most entertaining words I've come across in any language, never mind this one.
Kummerspeck - literally 'grief bacon', this is the weight one gains when depressed or otherwise emotional.
Erklärungsnot - imagine you're caught doing something that you really, really shouldn't be, and need an excuse immediately. This is the 'explanation emergency'.
Glühbirne - something as simple as a lightbulb made into a thing of beauty with a change of name. In this case, it's a 'glow-pear'.
Do any of you have any particular favourites- or, if you happen to be German, are there any especially entertaining English words? My boss from Niedersachsen is particularly fond of 'vixen', for obvious reasons. :)
Snort. I think we use that one in English too. Though possibly without the -ish element.
VerschlimmbesserEN- When you try to make something better, but end up making it even worse.
VerschlimmbesserUNG- The screw-up you make when you were trying to fix something.
I also like "kaputt."
Ooh, I like those. All three of them describe my troubleshooting efforts with my laptop lately.
(The -e- of the infinitive ending -en is usually cast out after -er and -el: ändern, verbessern, googeln, nörgeln.)
"Eierlegende Wollmilchsau", an egg-laying wool-milk-pig, i.e. something, which covers all angles. N.B.: Doesn't exist in the real world.
My favorite is Staubsauger for vacuum cleaner. When I would knock on my German landlord's door to borrow the vacuum cleaner, I could never remember the word and always ended up imitating the sound and motion of using a vacuum cleaner, and laughing so hard in the process. What sweet memories!
My favourite word to say in German at the moment is Kartoffel, because it just sounds funny to say.
I like potatoes... I want to learn how to say potato in as many languages as possible. That way, I'll never starve!
In France and in Austria they are also called "earth apples", i.e. "pommes de terre" and "Erdäpfel" respectively. In parts of South West Germany they are often called "Grumbeere", which comes from "Grund Birne", i.e. "ground pear". A similar word exists in Luxembourg, where they are called "Grompere".
Thanks a lot to both of you! May your dreams be filled with many potatoes (or earth apples/pears)!
I never heard "Grumbeere" before. :D I say to the potatoes in my swiss german dialect "Härdöpfel". ;-) In high german would this be called "Herdapfel". Or in englisch: Stove apple. Other friends in Switzerland say to the potatoes only "Hörpfel". ;-)
I think the "Härd" also comes from "Erde" and not from "Herd" (stove). Here is the wikipedia article in Alemannisch, which is similar to your Swiss German dialect. The variants of Grum-/Grombeere are "Rheinfränkisch", i.e. the Palatinate (Pfalz), Saarland and Northern Baden. In Southern Baden, closer to Switzerland, they are "Herdöpfel".
@Frosch0066: I understand the most of the article in your dialect. :-) But a text to read is mostly simpler as to hear. :-)
Vielleicht besser: "Ich esse gern Kartoffeln" oder "Ich mag Kartoffeln zu essen".
That would be the limit of the maximum speed. Geschwindigkeitsbeschränkung, Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung and (erlaubte) Höchstgeschwindigkeit are common words for speed limit/allowed maximum speed.
What makes these words long, is not the number of words, which the word contains like in "Fuß-boden-schleif-maschinen-verleih"(5) and "Donau-dampf-schiff-fahrt-s-gesellschaft-s-kapitän"(6), but the leingth of only two words "Geschwindigkeit" (speed) and "Gegrenzung" (limitation, if this word exists)
"Bedürfnisanstalt" is an old-fashioned word for "public toilet". It translates roughly to "necessity institution". Today it sounds even funny for Germans (like me).
Since we are on the topic, there is the German word "Durchfall", which is much more desciptive than the English name for the same condition.
More favourites: anything ending in '-zeug'.
'Flugzeug', 'Fahrzeug' and 'Spielzeug'- literally 'fly-thing', 'drive-thing' and 'play-thing'.
"-zeug" does not directly translate to "-thing". Instead it is related to the English word "toy". Both are derived from a proto-Germanic root, which meant sth. like "what has been taken/drawn/tugged" (yes, "tug" is also derived from a similar word).
In English the meaning of "toy" was sheared to a "playing-device" only.
Well I actually laughed out loud when I learned the word Handschuh. Brought a funny image to my head.
Another good one along these lines is 'Dachboden'- in Germany, your attic is the 'roof-floor'.
Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft: Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical service
Inhale big before you give it a go!
In Germany we have either nuclear power plants (Atomkraftwerk) or hydro power plants (Wasserkraftwerk) but not really a combination of the two.
Swedish has this too, and I'm rather fond of the word riksdagsmannautskottssuppleantbostadsstäderskevikariebarnbarnsbyxor: Trousers of the grandchild(ren) of the substitute cleaner of the house of a Member of Parliament who is a deputy in a parliament committee. (invented by the comedian author Falstaff, fakir.)
Ja, det är jag. (Jag håller på att ta mig igenom svenskakursen mest för skojs skull.)
Despite that most of my ancestors were German, I sometimes have a little trouble taking the German language seriously. I find it very amusing that if you're in Berlin and you're feeling very sick (krank) then you might have a serious medical crisis and you may end up riding to the Krankenhaus in a Krankenwagen, but hopefully you will have good Krankenversicherung to help cover the medical bills. Perhaps there's a kind of genius behind all this. After all, words beginning with a "k" are deemed to be funny, and laughter is said to be the best medicine.
Another "sick" word that I kind of like is "Arbeitsunfähigkeitbescheinigung". (at least I think that's how it's spelled!) Literally it means something like "work disability certificate". (Arbeits = work, (un)fähigkeit = (dis)ability, bescheinigung = certificate) Not sure if it is used frequently, but I still like it!
The word inspired someone to create the new word "Arbeitsunlustbescheinigung", which became a running gag when stating "officially" that you're not in the mood for work today. For an example see http://www.chip.de/ii/3/0/1/7/7/4/8/963f3531b34a1cdb.jpg
Arbeitsunfähigkeitsbescheinigung, I think, with another buffer -s- in there (Arbeit + Unfähigkeit + Bescheinigung -- the "s" does not belong to "Arbeit" but is a sound added during the process of combining the words).
Used frequently enough when talking about the object it refers to, though it's also often simply called "der gelbe Schein" (the yellow slip) after its colour.
Thanks for the correction. That 's' is easy to lose in the stream of letters. I'm somewhat impressed you spotted it!
I have troubles to understand what you mean. Can you please explain? Do you refer to the situation in English, were one has totally different words for these things (e.g. "hospital", "ambulance", "insurance")?
Oh c'mon, don't let yourself be put off by the prospect of riding in a "sickmobile." After all, we only live once! : o
A Krakenwagen is an "octopusmobile"! (Note typo in the original comment turning the ambulance into something rather more ominous.)
Oops, good catch on the misspelling (missing "n"). Thanks for the heads up; I'll fix it. Further, you're also correct in noting that a sea-monster-mobile would be much worse! : O
"Teigmantel" is not exactly a bread or pizza crust, but more like a batter. It refers to something, usually meat or fish, being cooked coated in dough. A pizza or bread crust would simply be "Kruste".
Fat on your body that you got from eating a lot because you were feeling sad.
Also fun is the plural "Umgebungen", because it looks like a past participle "umgebungen", presumably from a verb "umbingen". "Ich binge es um, ich bang es um, ich habe es umgebungen."
But to say it more clearly: This verb does not exist. What exists is the verb "umbringen" "ich bringe um, ich brachte um, ich habe umgebracht (sometimes as a joke "umgebrungen")" which means "to kill".
Das Drachenfutter: "Dragon Food". (or dragon-fodder)
When you realize you're in deep trouble with a significant other because you said or did something wrong, this is the present you give them in hopes that they will forgive you. (Candy, flowers, etc).
I never heard this word before. And I am from the german part in Switzerland. But it's funny. :D
My favorite is "Streichholzschächtelchen" (Small box of matches). Used in a sentence: Sie Stellt Tschechisches Streichholzschächtelchen am Tisch.
I just heard "Zebrastreifen" ("crosswalk") courtesy of Vlog Dave. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnZ0C4deOyB_TUFSJK3L4lg Is it due to the stripes painted on the road?
The UK has a number of other funny animal crossings as well, such as a toucan crossing (where "two can cross"), a pelican crossing (PEdestrian LIght-CONtrolled crossing, I think), and a puffin crossing.
kuschelig! (comfy, cozy etc) hehe I was taught this at a festival when cuddled in a van during a storm... nothing like being super kuschelig!!
My favorite word is "der Stubentiger." It literally means room tiger and is used to refer to a house cat. A must-know for any cat-lover!
Treppenwitz - To have thought of a joke or rebuttal after the situation has passed... Literally "Stair-Joke"
And I would gladly give it to you! :-) Seriously, the winter in New England was horrible last year and by February I was wondering if I would ever see green grass and green leaves again.
There is another emotion which has no direct English translation: "sich fremdschämen" - feeling embarrassed on behalf of someone else.
Yes, it's a relatively new one but so apt. In English perhaps "cringe de la cringe"
Interesting that english doesn't have that word. Certainly I'm frequently so afflicted when watching very much TV.
In German I love these two words because they are so much a part of human nature - Weltschmerz - literally an ache of the world and Schadenfreude- again a dark word meaning ( in my opinion) rejoicing in someone else's bad luck!
'soupcon' (Fr)- trace, hint, small amount, little suspicion what are the other Glühbirne?
1.) Zeitgeist (wurde zum geflügelten Wort und stammt vom Dichter Johann Gottfried Herder) 2.) Weltschmerz ( stammt vom deutschen Dichter Jean Paul) 3.) Fremdschämen ( siehe Wikipedia Donald Trump) 4.) Backpfeifengesicht (siehe Wikipedia Donald Trump) und Schnapsidee dürfte hier wohl auch passen. 5.) Treppenwitz (Friedrich Nitzsche, Denis Diderot und William Lewis Hertslet) Das Buch "Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte" wird seit 1822 Jahr für Jahr bis heute in einer aktualisierten Fassung aufgelegt. (siehe Wikipedia Donald Trump) 6.) Torschlusspanik ( in deutschen Städten wurden im Mittelalter abends die Tore verschlossen. In Hamburg sogar bis zum Jahre 1860 ) 7.) Oberlichte (Weil Deutsche diese Fensterform Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts in Frankreich entdeckten und diese dort "Le Vasistas" - in Anlehnung an den deutschen Satz "Was ist das?" heißen. Mutterseelenallein ist auch so ein Wort, das sich die Berliner den Hugenotten (französischen Flüchtlingen) abgeschaut haben. unn natürlich Fingerspitzengefühl, Luftschloss, Kopfkino, Dunkelziffer, Dornröschenschlaf, Putzfimmel, Frühjahrsmüdigkeit und Dünnhäutigkeit.
Das schönste deutsche Wort: begreifen! Es bringt auf wunderbare Art das abstrakte Denken und das sinnliche Erfassen in einem Wort zusammen.