I always felt very comfortable with speaking with the natives during my trips to Germany. Not just because I was confident with my German speaking skills, but I was also sure that if I got confused, then I would most certainly run into a German who knew how to speak English. Most of the confusion I experienced was mainly caused by German words that had no English translations. Their language, which clearly reflected their culture and habitat, required words and expressions for things that didn’t really exsist or wasn’t a major concern for the English speaking cultures. Here’s a list of my 6 favorite German words that don’t really have an English equivalent!!
This word is finding humour in the misfortunes of other. It pretty much sums up German humor overall!
The fear of missing opportunities as you age. The words together literally mean “Gate Closing Panic.”
It’s a word to describe feeling someone else’s embarrasment. It’s like that feeling you get watching every Zach Galafinakis film ever. You just feel your face grow red as he makes his “wolf-pack” speech in The Hangover and you cringe at every moment in Due Date. Yes, it’s hilarious, but it makes you go “Yikes! Glad it’s not me!”
The first time I heard this word I loved it! In fact, it was a word that I based my college application essay on! It’s a word to describe that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you’re comfy. Just imagine wearing a pair of footy pajamas, and cuddling on the couch under a blanket with some jalepano poppers and watching your favorite episode of the Regular Show. Yes. That’s Gemutlichkeit for me!
It literally translates into “Grief bacon (or fat)”, but it’s used to describe the weight that is gained from an excessive amount of emotional overeating. Kummerspeck is what happens after seeking consolation in an entire tub of Hagen Daz ice cream! We’ve all been there.
The word refers to making an improvement that actually makes things worse. Kind of like trying to clean up a stain but instead, your efforts leave behind a smear.
Bonus Word: Antivereinigtenstaatenskonstitutionsverbesserungsspirituosenwarenhaendler
I don’t know what it is with Germans and creating outrageously long compounded words. To describe something in a specific manner, Germans love to take words that already exist and smash them together to create one extremely long word. This word in particular can be summed up as just “Bootlegger” in English. From what I can make out, the word can be literally translated to “Anti United States constitutions improvement liquor products merchant”. Yeah – I can see bootlegger in that meaning.