15 German Words That Make Everyone Say “WTF Is Wrong With That Language???”


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The German word "verlegen" has 3 different meanings:

1. to put something somewhere and not being able to find it anymore
2. to publish something, e. g. a book (which is actually putting something where EVERYONE is able to find it)
3. feeling embarrassed

Enjoy our language!


The German word "abgefahren" has 2 meanings:
– departed
– wicked

The German word "angesagt" also has 2 meanings:
– announced
– hip

So "Der angesagte Zug ist abgefahren." translates as:
– "The announced train has departed."
– "The hip train is wicked."

Enjoy our language!


The German word "Fahne" means
– flag
– smelly breath ("Alkoholfahne" = breath smells of alcohol)

So, when someone says "Heute haben alle eine Fahne", not everyone's carrying flags but stinking like drunkheads (unless it's the World Cup, then we do both).

Enjoy our language!


The German reflexive verb "sich anstellen" can have 2 meanings:
– to queue
– to make a fuss

So, if you want someone to wait in line and not to be a chicken about it you tell him to do one thing – and the exact opposite:

"Stell dich nicht an, stell dich an!"

Enjoy our language!


The German word "Hochzeit" means
– wedding (with short-spoken "o")
– heyday. golden age (long "o")

So, when you read about the "Hochzeit des Punks" it refers to the golden era of the Sex Pistols – or it means that Punk's not dead but finally getting married.

Enjoy our language!


The German word "ausbauen" can have 2 meanings:
– to disassemble
– to enlarge

So if your German hosts say: "Wir haben unsere Küche ausgebaut" it can mean they have a bigger kitchen now – or none at all.

You better ask before you make any plans for dinner.

Enjoy our language!


In German, the word "modern" has 2 meanings:
– modern (pronounced "modérn")
– to rot ("módern")

So, "modern modern" could describe an avant-garde style of decay.
And someone writing "Ich bevorzuge modern" probably likes it modern – or maybe prefers to rot…

Enjoy our language!


The German word "Führer" can describe
– the insane leader of the 3rd Reich
– a travel guide
So, if you meet a group of Germans crying "Wir haben unseren Führer verloren", they are probably NOT mourning that Nazi-asshole but that their tour guide went missing!

Enjoy our language!


The German word "angeben" can mean
– to state
– to brag
The German word "Schimmel" can mean
– mould
– white horse(s)
So, the sentence "Er gab an, er habe Schimmel zuhause", can mean
"He bragged he had white horses at home"
"He stated he had mould at home"

Enjoy our language!


The word "Hamburger" in German describes
– a hamburger
– someone from Hamburg
The word "Frankfurter" in German describes
– a typical sausage
– someone from Frankfurt
(same with Wiener/Vienna)

So yes, you might get the impression, we're cannibals. We're not.

Enjoy our language!


The German word "eintreten" has 2 meanings:
– to enter (e.g. a room)
– to kick in (e.g. a door)

So, if your German host welcomes you in front of his house, points at the closed door and says: "Tretet ein!" you're NOT supposed to open the door with your feet!

Enjoy our language!


The German word "auseinandersetzen" can mean:

– to sit or be seated separately
– to discuss

So if someone says "Wir sollten uns auseinandersetzen" you never know if he wants to talk – or rather not sit next to you at all.

Enjoy our language!


The German word "Einstellung" means
– setting
– attitude

So, it doesn't matter if you want a misbehaving person to change his/her attitude or a malfunctioning robot to adjust its settings. In both cases you'd say: "Du musst deine Einstellung ändern."

Enjoy our language!


The German word "Stollen" describes
– a mining tunnel
– a stud on a football shoe
– a German fruitcake served in Christmas season

That's about the broadest variety of meanings I can think of.

Anyway, whatever kind of Stollen you prefer:

Enjoy Christmas – and our language! 🎄


The German word "Montage" means "Mondays".
The French word "Montage" means "installation" and is used in German, too.

So, the German translation of the Boomtown Rats' "I don't like Mondays" ("Ich mag Montage nicht") could read as "I don't like installation".

Enjoy our language!

H/T to Jens Clasen!

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Post Author: martin

Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of BriefNews.eu and PCHealthBoost.info Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

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