Best German Words

Best German Words: German is an interesting language

One of the many great things about the German language is that some words are put together to provide you with a literal meaning. Take ‘auf Wiedersehen’, for example. It literally means ‘until we see each other again’. Many people say that the German language is difficult (and who could blame them? It really is), but there are many words that just make you feel fond of this language. Some others, however, epitomise the difficulty of the German language. Here are some examples of some of the best German words – the good, the bad, and the just impossible


Shoes for the hands. If you think about it, it makes a lot more sense than calling them ‘gloves’. Isn’t this just the best German word ever?


Under way. If you’re the appointed beer-getter at a party and people are waiting for you with thirst and they call you to express their impatience, simply say ‘unterwegs’. Simple. Late to meet a friend and when she calls you want to lie and say that you’re on the train when you’re actually still at home? ‘Unterwegs’. Not a lie per se. Not as big a lie as saying you’re on the train, anyway. Surely one of the most useful, and best German words.


Now this one doesn’t exactly have a literal meaning. Literally, it would be ‘little Earth man’. What is actually means is ‘meerkat’. You can add ‘chen’ to a word to give a diminutive aspect to it. The sweet term ‘Erdmännchen’ is quite suitable for these little guys.


This one might just put you off your breakfast, so don’t say we didn’t warn you – keep reading at your own risk. Hafer = oats, schleim = slime. Have you got it yet? Haferschleim is what you fondly know as oatmeal, or porridge. Hmm. You’ll never look at your porridge the same way again, but you’ve got to admit how funny-in-a-gross-way, yet strangely appropriate, this German word is.


Feier = celebration = party, Abend = evening, so calling the end of the working day ‘Feierabend’ is the perfect way to describe what it is: a celebration of the end of the working day. Bring on the beer!


Although kind of funny, this word is actually quite malicious. Who hasn’t felt a tinge of joy upon seeing something bad happen to someone they don’t really like? And who can say that they’ve never gloated, for any reason, ever? Schadenfreude is just that. Schaden = damage, Freude = pleasure. This word is hilarious if you have a sense of humour, not to mention incredibly useful and straight to the point.


You know that friend who always has the answer to everything? They know it all, and love to point it out at every opportunity, sometimes even embarrassing you in front of people because they just know so much more than you and must, *add pretentious voice here* ipso facto, make you – and everyone else – aware of it. Well, the Germans have a word for that person. He, or she, is a Klugscheißer. That’s right. Is this one of the best German words or what?


Literally, this word means ‘distant ache’. That’s a pretty gut hint as to what it actually means – aching to be somewhere far away. The English version of this word, Wanderlust, is pretty German too. Next time you’re in the office, looking out of the window, seeing rain, and you start daydreaming about sunbathing and sipping coconut water on a Caribbean beach, feel free to use one of the best German words and say that you have fernweh.


Yeah. It’s not always pretty in the German dictionary. If you don’t believe this word exists, just Google it and you will come across the Wikipedia article. True story.

Now that you know some of the best German words, feel free to make up your own! Grab a few words and put them together to form a super cool, thirty letter long (bonus points for several consonants together) German word that provides literal meaning, or just plain old confusion to tourists, and headaches to students of the German language.