Sunday, May 8, 2011

Willkommen bei Fröhlichen

Those Germans, eh? I always thought German was a rather unpleasant-sounding language, but it sure does make up for its lack of auditory appeal by having some awesome words - particularly words for quite specific things for which there is no equivalent word in English. 

We're all familiar with the wonderful  Schadenfreude, meaning to take pleasure in the misfortunes of others (it translates literally as 'damage joy'), and perhaps Weltschmertz (broadly meaning world weary), but they are just the tip of the German awesome word iceberg.  

Here's some more, which I gleaned from Adam Jacot de Boinod's I Never Knew There Was A Word For It.


Backpreifengesicht: a face that cries out for a fist in it.

Krawattenmuffel: one who doesn't like wearing ties.

Geisterfahrer: a person driving on the wrong side of the road.

Putzfimmel: a mania for cleaning.

Gruebelsucht: an obesession in which even the simplest facts are compulsively queried.

Korinthenkacker: one who is overly concerned with trivial details.

Fisselig: flustered to the point of incompetence.

Drachenfutter: the peace offerings that guilty husbands offer their wives (literally, dragon fodder!).

Urlaubsmuffel: a worker who is against taking vacations.

Torschlusspanik: the fear of diminishing opportunities as one gets older (often used in relation to women worried about getting too old to have kids).

Finally, one of my favourites, Katzenjammer, which I've blogged before. It means a very severe hangover. Not only is this a fantastic sounding word, but its literal meaning is hilarious - the noise made by extremely miserable cats! 

Those Germans, eh?  Oh, one more thing. In German, 'snap, crackle, pop'  is 'knisper, knasper, knusper'!

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