When it comes to linguistics, the Germans have got efficiency pretty much nailed. Whilst English-speakers the world over are using lengthy sentences to explain their situations, German-speakers have most likely got one dedicated word to cover it. How many of these apply to you?
Meaning: Glove snowball thrower.
Have you ever tried to throw a snowball without gloves on? It’s pretty cold and painful. Those who choose to remain glove-less are very brave indeed, which is exactly why a ‘handschuhschneeballwerfer’ is the perfect term for a wimp or coward.
Meaning: Having the whole house to yourself when your parents are away
Nothing feels better than having the house all to yourself, right? When you live with your parents, alone time can be particularly hard to come by, which is why the Germans came up with ‘sturmfrei’, a word that explains the great feeling of having free reign over the house.
Meaning: Someone who is very detail-orientated and control-obsessed
No one’s perfect but there are some people out there who will certainly try their hardest to be. The word Erbsenzähler literally translates to ‘peas tally’ (so, someone who counts their peas) and is the German equivalent of a control-freak.
Meaning: Taking pleasure in someone else’s misfortune
Have you ever watched the Oscars on TV and secretly loved the moment a celebrity messes their speech up? Or how about seeing someone running for the train as it pulls away from the station, whilst you’re perfectly comfortable in your window seat? That feeling of enjoying someone’s misfortune is what the Germans call ‘schadenfreude’.
Meaning: Weight gain caused by emotional overeating
Yep, we’ve all been here. Your emotions are running high because of a stressful day at work or a bad break-up and a pint of ice cream or an entire XL pizza (or both!) is your only comfort. Of course, the Germans figured that a situation this common ought to have its own word, hence ‘kummerspeck’ or ‘sorrow bacon’ was born.
And if there’s a word for it then eating a family-sized chocolate bar in one sitting is totally normal, right?
Meaning: Worrying that time is running out and life’s opportunities are passing you by
It’s human nature to worry about how much life we have left to live, but in Germany, the phrase Torschlusspanik sums up the whole feeling of getting older and fretting about time.
So, if you’re still living at home whilst your friends are all getting married and having kids, the German language has got your back.
Meaning: Distance pain
Basically, the opposite feeling of homesickness – instead, you want to leave your own environment and escape to somewhere else (preferably with plenty of sun).
Meaning: Inner pig dog
Unless you’re one of the lucky few who genuinely love going to the gym, chances are you experience your innerer schweinehund on a regular basis. This phrase literally translates to ‘inner pig dog’ and describes the little voice that tells you to be lazy and skip working out.
Meaning: A man who acts macho around his friends, but his wife wears the pants at home
This phrase actually translates to ‘slipper hero’. It may not be the most politically correct term in the German language, but it serves its purpose!
Meaning: Anxiety, apathy or depression caused by the current state of the world
Whether you’re feeling weltschmerz over climate change, animal rights, politics or finances, it’s likely you’ll experience it at some point. So, next time you’re down about global warming and how you can’t adopt every single stray dog, you have the exact word to describe what you’re feeling.
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