Six Unusual German Words You Should Know

by July Mayer

German is a highly popular foreign language that many students try to master nowadays; it is the language of Germany, a trading and business partner of many other states, and mastery of this language opens many career paths to specialists in many areas. Thus, thousands of people take online German classes and polish their proficiency in speaking, writing, and reading.

Learning German, as any other language, is hard work. But shouldn’t there be time for some fun? Here are some fancy German words that you might enjoy learning; they are unusual and sophisticated, so knowing them will definitely take you one step closer to sounding like a native speaker!


If translated literally, this word means “an ear worm.” No matter what association it arises, it means a sticky song that you may listen on the radio and then spend an entire day murmuring it to yourself or hearing it in your mind.


Ending a relationship is sad and often traumatic for individuals, and some of them (especially women) start to eat more in an unconscious effort to cope with emotions. The result of such over-eating is what Germans call Kummerspeck – a funny word meaning an extra pound or two that you may gain as a result of that over-eating. Literally translated as “grief bacon,” it reveals the fabulous sense of German humor!


Literally meaning “world pain,” this word is a wonderfully captured concept of general feeling of the blues that we often experience not because something exactly goes wrong in our lives or some person abuses us, but simply because the world is not ideal. That comprehension of the non-ideal world and our place in it may turn us down for some time with no evident cause, which Germans call Weltschmerz.


Another perfect observation of Germans that found its shape in the word Schadenfreude is a strange human trait of deriving pleasure and fun from other people’s mistakes, embarrassments, and even pain. We all have laughed at TV series with characters (or even real people) getting into ridiculous situations even though we understand that such a funny situation might have caused serious discomfort to its heroes.


What makes you feel cozy and comfortable? A cup of tea on the warm, soft sofa at the end of the hard working day? Or a friend’s hug next to the welcoming fireplace? That feeling is individual, but for Germans, it is something really special, something they call Gemütlichkeit. An entire world comes in that word – the feeling of physical comfort, with a cup of hot coffee in your arms, sitting on a soft sofa under a warm blanket and being in the warm atmosphere of the family home. Anything that makes you happy and content, feeling warm and secure, whether it is inside or outside, is Gemütlichkeit.


Have you captured the meaning of words we discussed above? Got their sense and understood the contexts in which they will be best used? Then you are on the path of developing Sprachgefühl – it’s a unique German term describing the intuitive, natural feel of a foreign language that gives you the command like that of a native speaker. Good luck in polishing your Sprachgefühl to perfection!

As you can see, German may be quite an interesting language to study, as Germans have captured some states, feelings, and situations much better than other nations do. So, studying German may be not only hard, but also fun, especially if you are guided by an experienced tutor!


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