Unique German Words

The German language has a word for almost everything. In German you can combine two or more words into one word. Sometimes you have real "monster-words" or words that don't have an equivalent in other languages.

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We will introduce some words to you that are special in German and cannot be translated easily:


An absurd idea that only drunk people could think of. You certainly must have come across an idiotic idea in your life that made you think, how many drinks did you have when you came up with this idea? And as a German you just say, that it is a "Schnapsidee" (schnapps-idea) and everyone knows what you think of it. 


This word describes people who seem to "do the right thing", they appear to be the good one. But looking closer you'll discover that they don't always have the best intentions in mind or sometimes even want to achieve the exact opposite of what they are saying openly. They "appear to be holy".





A word that a lot of languages would probably like to have. It means to feel ashamed for someone else. Have you ever been to a party where your friend has drunk too much and behaves so embarrassing that you feel ashamed for his or her sake? That's "Fremdschämen". It doesn't need to be for a person you know, you can feel ashamed for stars, politicians or actions of whole groups. 


To make use of "Brückentage" is a very common German habit. A "bridge day" is a working day between two work-free days, e.g. if a national holiday is on a Thursday, the Friday would be a single work day before the weekend. Taking a vacation day on that Friday gives you four free days in a row and makes your vacation day the so-called "Brückentag". Employees might even get into fights over those vacation days. 


This word is mostly used in a negative context, for example, numbers of crimes that are not reported but happen anyway. You can only guess how high the number really is, as there isn't any proof. So, the real number "lies in the dark" and you can only make an educated guess. 


People with "feeling in the finger tips" know how to behave in certain situations. The person knows how to handle difficult situations and people, is able to mediate between people or calm down angry people. He or she has a special feeling for topics and their environment and they know how to lead people or situations in a positive direction. 




Being home sick is known in many languages. You miss your own home and family. But there is also the longing for places far away, discovering new worlds. Especially, young people have that urge travel away from home and be somewhere else. So, in German you're "away-sick". 


This is one of the most beautiful German words that describes an equally beautiful feeling. It means security, love, affection and protection at the same time. Talking about "Geborgenheit" you think of parents holding their child giving him or her the feeling that nothing bad can happen. This feeling isn't just beautiful, but it is something priceless. A feeling that every human being desires. 

Of course, there are also fascinating words in other languages that are difficult to translate. More about it in our next article. 


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