illustrations: Berk Karaoglu

It’s the first thing someone wants to know when finding out about a new language: before learning how to say hi, or or how to introduce yourself, you want to learn how to curse. I’m sure there is a sociological angle to it, but science aside, swearwords are just amusing. Looking into the magnificent world of German swearwords, one isn’t at all surprised with the creativity levels the country of Goethe and Schiller has. We’ve collected some of the most noteworthy examples, that will have you regret every time you’ve called someone an idiot instead of an ass violin.

Arschgeige

[‘ass fiddle’]

Yes, you heard me. What don’t you understand? An ass violin. Clearly my personal favourite, because what better way to insult somebody than compare them with a music instrument played by one’s glutei maximi. Would you have thought of that on your most creative day? I don’t think so.

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Backpfeifengesicht

[‘slap face’]

A face that inspires slaps. Maybe the one that makes the most sense out of this list, a slap face inspires one to hit it either by the stupid things that come out of its mouth or merely by the way it looks (in which case you have anger problems). In either case, feel free to abuse someone with using this lovely, impossible-to-articulate gem.

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Vollpfosten

[‘total pole’]

Okay so first of all you are a pole, and not a simple one at that. A total one. Or, it could be interpreted, that you are full of poles. (?) Vollposten making no sense, I asked a German friend: “Basically idiot. It refers to the pole of a fence; and you are as dull.” This is actually hilarious.

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Weichei

[‘soft egg’]

Cause everybody knows the hard egg is the compliment, so soft egg is the insult right? I don’t know on what level to approach this one- does being an egg is already bad so a soft one is awful? Is the soft part the problem? I might never know. It kinda sounds cute though, “Weichei”.

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Stinkstiefel

[‘smelly boot’]

Fabulous Germans did it again; coming up with a term that is less in your face than you would think it is, Stinkstiefel can be used for someone who’s often in a foul mood, grumpy even. How that relates to bad odor and boots is anyone’s guess, but it’s certainly creative.

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Arschgesicht

[‘ass face’]

A cross-cultural classic, ass face must have more translations than Harry Potter. There’s something with people comparing someone’s face to someone’s buttocks that’s supposed to be insulting, even though usually the butt consists a quite attractive and desirable human body part. I think it’s maybe poopies coming from it that makes an ass insulting. And hilarious.

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Armleuchter

[‘chandelier’]

We enter the Twilight zone here, where house objects now consist offensive vocabulary.  You’re such a chair, you door knob, etc. So, again, in loss of words: Bright as a chandelier? heavy as a chandelier? Environmentally unfriendly because of how much electricity they consume? Germans, I am confused.

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Warmduscher

[‘one who takes warm showers’]

Okay, Warmduscher is one of German language’s most innovative ones. It really had me wondering until a German friend explained, it’s the equivalent of “p*ssy”- you’re not brave enough to shower cold, not enough of a “man”. Again, being really offensive but totally passive aggressive about it, German at its finest.

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Klugscheißer

[‘smart shitter’]

Someone who shits smart should be admired rather than ridiculed really, given the constipation problems inflicting more and more people. Probably meaning smarty pants, a Klugscheisser is a know-it-all who feels like every opinion of his, on any topic, should be agreed with and celebrated.  That person needs all the swearwords he can get. I hate those people (probably because I am one of them).

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Hackfresse

[‘ground meat face’]

Sounding like a dish I would order in a German restaurant without knowing what it means, Hackfresse fights for a top 3 positions of the least sense making words. Is the face so ugly that it looks like minced meat? Is the face so yummy that it looks like minced meat? Because personally I love minced meat and all its derivatives- it’s hard to insult using delicious stuff. Ah Germans.

illustrations: Berk Karaoglu

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