Crucial German Phrases for the Distinguished Traveler

By Rachael Funk

Ever at a loss to say exactly what you’re thinking? Do you long for a no-frills way to express yourself? Germany did too, and what they’ve come up with is the best thing since the printing press. Before you beeline for Bavaria or set a course for Cologne, brush up on these linguistic gems.

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Word: Kummerspeck

Translation: Grief bacon

What it means: Weight gained from emotional overeating

Word: Schnapsidee

Translation: Schnapps idea

What it means: Similar to the popular North American phenomenon, “shower thoughts,” schnapsidee is a great idea you get while drunk and will likely regret.

Word: Backpfeifengesicht

Translation: A face in need of a fist

What it means: This is so precisely what it sounds like, it’s practically an onomatopoeia. Another way to translate this is “a face in need of a slap.”

Word: Futterneid

Translation: Feed envy

What it means: Feeling regret and jealousy when the waiter brings out someone else’s food and it looks better than what you ordered.

Word: Bewegungslegastheniker

Translation: Movement Dyslexic

What it means: A person who is hopelessly clumsy

Word: Kampfdackel

Translation: Combat dachshund

What it means: A small dog who thinks he’s bigger than he is; a tiny dog that acts tough

Word: Zweisamkeit

Translation: People-ness

What it means: The feeling of closeness between two people; the opposite of loneliness

Word: Fremdschämen

Translation: Strange shame

What it means: Similar to secondhand embarrassment, this word describes being embarrassed from someone else embarrassing themselves.

Extra sausage!

Not only is the German language filled with fun words, it’s also filled with snacks! Here are some sausage-related idioms you should also probably know.

Expression: Das ist mir Wurst

Translation: It’s sausage to me

What it means: I don’t care; it’s all the same to me

Expression: Jetzt geht um die Wurst

Translation: Now it’s all about the sausage

What it means: Something is very important; an all-or-nothing situation; now or never

Expression: Die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen

Translation: To act like an offended sausage

What it means: Someone who is being melodramatic; a drama queen

Expression: Du armes Würstchen!

Translation: You poor little sausage

What it means: A patronizing way to say “you poor thing” while not truly sympathizing

Expression: Er glaubt, er bekommt eine Extrawurst

Translation: He thinks he gets an extra sausage

What it means: Someone is acting entitled or expecting special treatment

Expression: Mit dem Schinken nach der Wurst werfen

Translation: To throw ham after sausage

What it means: To downgrade; to be taken advantage of

Expression: Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei

Translation: Everything has an end, only sausage has two

What is means: Everything must come to an end

Expression: Senf dazugeben

Translation: To add mustard

What it means: To put in your two cents; volunteering opinions whether or not they are requested

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