There are some days in life that the English language just fails to express what we are feeling. That's when the Germans comes to our rescue with a plethora of un-translatable words to help us zero in on some specific emotions. The reason for this is simple. Thanks to its lifelong love affair with compound nouns, the German language has smashed all manner of words together to form new, unique vocabulary. While a complete English sentence might just give us the same results, it's always fun when you can express something in one perfect word, isn't it? This is exactly the reason why many German words such as wanderlust have found their way into the English language. There is, however, many more German words waiting to be discovered that can enrich our lives in many ways. Here are some of the most entertaining examples we could fine, to add to your daily vocab.
1. Kummerspeck: Grief Bacon
If you find your self impulsively ordering that hot chocolate fudge today, you are probably indulging in“Kummerspeck.” While there’s no direct German-to-English translation, the word roughly translates to "grief bacon" or “sorrow fat.” This fascinating term refers to the emotional eating (and the probable weight gain) after a painful event, like a breakup, difficult time with friends, family or at the workplace.
2. Ohrwurm: Earworm
Have you ever listened to a song on the radio while driving to work only to find yourself still humming the same tune by lunch? Congratulations, you’ve had an earworm. The beautiful German word Ohrwurm describes the fact of having a song stuck in your head as if it wriggled itself into your brain through your ear.
3. Fernweh: Distance pain
This gem describes the feeling of wanting to be somewhere else. It’s kind of like a reverse homesickness, a longing for a place that isn’t where you are right now. Seems like a good enough reason to plan a holiday, doesn’t it?
4. Innerer Schweinehund : Inner pig dog
Can’t get up in the morning to be on time for work? Too lazy to go to the gym? Don’t worry; it’s not your fault. The blame lies with your inner pig dog, the tiny voice in the back of your head, which is trying to convince you to live a life of inertia and to not give a f*ck about being ambitious or goal oriented. We all have one, do we not?
5. Torschlusspanik: Closing-gate panic
We found this one as relatable AF. As people get older, some find themselves worrying about roads not taken or milestones they meant to achieve by a certain age. Torschlusspanik is the feeling of urgency to accomplish things before some imaginary gate closes and “it’s all too late.” It’s mostly used for those who sense their biological clock is running out and feel the need to settle with a partner or have children immediately
6. Treppenwitz: Staircase joke
Have you ever noticed how when you have a chance encounter with an attractive person of the opposite sex or get into an argument with someone, the best jokes, lines, and comebacks always occur to you afterwards? This delayed wit or intelligence is called Treppenwitz. It’s the joke that comes to your mind on the way down the stairs after talking to your neighbour in the hallway two floors up.
7. Weichei: Soft egg
No, we are not talking about how you like your breakfast here. A soft egg, in German, means someone who is weak and cowardly. The same is also conveyed by calling someone Würstchen, the diminutive of sausage. Apparently Germans like to name wimps after foodstuffs.
8. Backpfeifengesicht: Slap face
Have you ever heard the joke “Some people just need a high five – in the face – with a chair?” Backpfeifengesicht means exactly that. It describes someone who you feel needs a slap in the face. The next time someone annoys you, hold back your reaction and just remember this word, it should do the trick.
9. Dreikäsehoch: Three cheeses high
Though it sounds like a pizza, what it describes is a person who is vertically challenged, implying they’re only as tall as three wheels of cheese placed on top of each other. Usually this label is reserved for small children. Can we just say Aww, what a cute mental image!
10. Kuddelmuddel: An indescribable mess
Don’t even start guessing the English meaning of this one. Kuddelmuddel describes an unstructured mess, chaos, or hodgepodge. On days that everything seems to go wrong, this might just be the best word to sum it all up.
11. Lebensmüde : Life tired
This word literally means being tired of life and was used to describe the dramatic and soul-crushing emotional agony of young Romantic poets. Nowadays lebensmüde is what you call your friends when they are attempting something especially stupid and possibly life threatening.