100 Favourite German Words

100 of our readers’ favourite German words – translated and visualised…

100 STB Words Final

Abschlepplok tow / haul engine

Arsch mit Ohren idiot, dumbass

Arschgeweih large, antlers-like tattoo on lower back (usu. female)

Ausländerbehörde Immigration and Visa Office

Bammel funk, panic, being scared shitless

Bedürfnisse needs, cravings (dringendes Bedürfnis = nature´s call)

Begeisterung delight, enthusiasm

beratungsresistent counselling resistant / not responding to counselling

Bestuhlung providing with seats, putting seats in place

betriebsblind stuck in a rut, blinkered concerning their job/business

Brathering fried herring

Briefgeheimnis the secrecy of correspondence

Brustwarze nipple

Dingsbums whatnot, thingummy, thingummyjig

doch but yes!

Donnerschlag thunderclap

Dudelsack bagpipes

Eichhörnchen squirrel

Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher “egg shell pre-determined breaking point causer” or that dingsbums for making a hole in your boiled egg

Etepetete lah-di-dah, prim, prissy

Fernweh wanderlust, itchy feet

Fingerspitzengefühl tact, sensitivity, finesse

Fisematente hoodwinking, tricks or excuses

Flusspferd hippopotamus

Freibier free beer

Fremdschämen emphatic embarrassment, cringing on sb else´s behalf

Funkloch skip zone / lack of communication / an acid hole in the conversation

Fussbodenschleifmaschine(-nverleih) a floor grinder (floor grinder hire/rental)

Gebäck bakery products (bread, bread-rolls, pastry, biscuits)

Gebärmutter uterus

Gehwegschaden pavement / sidewalk damage

geradeaus straight ahead

Geschlechtsverkehr intercourse

Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung speed limit

gezwungenermaßen willy-nilly, inevitably, perforce

Glotze goggle-box, TV set

Glühwürmchen firefly, lightning bug

Habseligkeiten bits and bobs, those few belongings

Heimat fatherland/motherland, home

herzallerliebst dearest, darling

Hexenschuss lumbago (lit. witch kick/shot)

Hubschrauber helicopter

Hüftgold love handles, the soft “upholstery” around the middle

Jodeldiplom yodelling diploma

Kaffeeklatsch bit of chit-chat over coffee and cake

Kartenabgabeschlitz slit in a box for submitting (membership) cards or casting a ballot

Kartoffelpuffer potato pancakes, potato fritters, latkes

Kaufrausch shopping frenzy

Knutschen canoodling, smooching or making out, snogging

Knutschfleck hickie, love bite

Leichenschmaus wake, funeral feast (lit. corpse feast)

Memme pantywaist

mucksmäuschenstill quiet like a lamb, dead quiet

mürrisch crabby, grumpy

mutterseelenallein all alone, abandoned by all

Nachtschwärmer late-night reveller, bar fly

Nagelknipser nail clipper

neunmalklug smart alec, smarty pants

nichtsdestotrotz notwithstanding

Panzerschlacht armoured clash, tank clash

Papierkram paperwork, bumf

Pendelverkehr shuttle traffic / transport

Pfifferlinge golden chanterelle mushrooms (aka “egg chanterelle)

Plötze common roach or colloquial name for Plötzensee Prison in Berlin

Pümpel plunger

Quarkkeulchen small, round, deep-fried cakes made of mashed potatoes and soft curd cheese called quark, served sprinkled with icing sugar

Quatsch rubbish, tosh, nonsense or teasing, banter

Radiergummi (India) rubber, eraser

Sandkastenfreund childhood friend (lit. a sandbox friend)

Schadenfreude gloating

Schäfchenwolke little fluffy / fleecy cloud

Schaufensterbummel window-shopping

Schmetterling butterfly

Schnappfisch snapper

Schnapsidee barmy/crazy idea (one you´d get after one Schnaps too many)

Schneeballschlacht snowball fight

Schnickschnack knick-knacks or frills

Schnucki(-putzi) pet, love, ducky

schwabbeln wobble

Seelenklempner shrink (lit. “soul plumber”)

Sehnsucht longing, yearning, nostalgia

Semmelbrösel breadcrumbs

Sitzfleisch bum, buttocks or ability to sit still and work

Spargelzeit asparagus season

Stadtbummel city stroll/amble (often combined with a bit of shopping)

Stau gridlock

Sterneküche 1st-class / award winning cuisine

Streichholzschachtel matchbox

Streuobstwiese meadow orchard

Strohwitwer grass widower

Strumpfhose tights

Teelöffel teaspoon

Torschlusspanik the feeling of panic that the ‘door is about to close’, usually later in life and in terms of relationships, marriage etc.

Tratschtante busybody, gossip

Vergangenheitsbewältigung coming to terms with the past

Verschlimmbessern to spoil while trying to do exactly the opposite

Wahnsinn madness, insanity or used as expression of one´s astonishment or one´s Begeisterung

Wanderlust wanderlust itchy feet

Weltschmerz world-weariness, melancholy

Wunderkerze sparkler

Wüstenspringmaus gerbil

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