17 Weird German Words You Won’t Believe Exist.

No other language beats German at having words for possibly every feeling and just plain everything. German’s shady technique of compounding nouns gave it a unique vocabulary that’s just a joy to use. This is why most of these words are hard to find in other languages and the best way to know what they mean is to translate them. But still, a lot of their meanings get lost in translation. While this is good for people who already speak German, it’s a pain in the neck for those trying to learn German as a second language. I could talk forever about German words and I won’t properly capture their peculiarity. So let’s look at some examples that truly show how weird and interesting some German words are. 


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12 thoughts on “17 Weird German Words You Won’t Believe Exist.”

    1. hahaha.. yes, some of the translations are off on a bit of a tangent… Not completely wrong (mostly) but … playful. E.g., you might only have been metaphorically intoxicated when you had that harebrained idea, your “Schnapsidee;” that forced decision might come as a result of being in a “Zugzwang” (tight spot) and so on… Some are just ‘off’ though: “Fernweh” is the same as “Wanderlust”, not ‘distance pain’…

  1. Schnapsidee hast the beforementioned background but it is also used for ideas that should only come up being drunk. So if you think someone’s idea is dumb, you can use that word too.

    Lebensabschnittspartner literally means partner of this part of life, not “for today”.

  2. May I add that Dreikäsehoch (number 8) is not used to measure something. It is a word used for a child who is kind of cheeky.

    1. Wikipedia
      Dreikäsehoch is a colloquial and joking name for a small (not tall) child. It is mostly used when the child is observed to be rebellious or impertinent.

  3. Not to be an Erbenszähler, but “Dreikäsehoch” is definitely not a real form of measurement by any means. It’s simply a figure of speech, usually used when talking about small children who behave particulary sassy/bratty.

  4. Great selection of words!
    But “Lebensabschnittspartner” does NOT mean “the partner I have today”! Please check your translations before publishing.

    1. “Der Lebensabschnittspartner (LAP)” implies that all good stories come to an end (sooner or later).

      There are no partnerships for life any longer.

      “Der Abschnitt” in this case means the opposite of “lifespan”.

  5. Eigentlich ein schöne Zusammenstellung, aber leider ist vieles nicht korrekt erklärt…
    Zum Beispiel “Dreikäsehoch”, ein kleiner, eventuell etwas vorwitziger, Junge — keine Maßeinheit oder Vergleich dieser Art.
    Der “Lebensabschnittpartner” geht über den Tag hinaus, eben ein Lebensabschnitt — mehrere Monate oder Jahre, meist ohne verheiratet zu sein.

  6. English has adopted Schadenfreude. The music “Avenue Q” even has a song devoted to it.

  7. “Erbsenzähler” seems analogous to the English “beancounter,” but is just applied a bit more generally.

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