Cursing Abroad: German Insults To Round Out Your Studies

German food may not be spicy, but German insults certainly are.
one seal barking at another

Maybe it’s just the way the German language sounds to a native English speaker’s ears, but there’s something particularly satisfying about the way German insults roll off one’s tongue. The bluntness of the delivery does not, in any way, soften the rough edges of the content within. If anything, the mix of subtle humor and brutality combine to create a potent elixir you can use to verbally smite your enemies (or your friends, provided they have a good sense of humor) as you learn German.

So how does one smite as a German smites? You probably won’t encounter nearly as many sexually charged profanities in Germany, where attitudes toward sex and nudity are pretty relaxed. However, German insults tend to fixate instead on casual poop slang and butt humor (no really, the first three words on this list begin with “ass”). However, most of these terms are considered as harmless as “darn it.”

Here are a few of our favorite German insults for the next time you feel like mouthing off.

Arschgeige — Literally “butt violin.” One would imagine that having a violin for a butt would be fairly inefficient, and that using your butt to play a violin would not a symphony make (but we won’t stop you if you really want to try). Anyway, call someone an arschgeige if you want to convey the fact that they just can’t do anything right.

Arschloch — “Asshole.” No frills, but it gets the job done, and it’s one of those German insults that’s fairly versatile.

Arsch mit Ohren — “Ass with ears.” This is a colorful way of calling someone a total moron or a stupid jackass.

Blockflötengesicht — Remember playing the recorder? In Germany, you can keep the spirit alive by calling someone a “recorder face,” which is to say “punctuated by openings that emit nothing but hot air and discordant noises.”

Diskopumper — This is basically the word for a DJ, but it’s also a word you can use to call someone out for missing leg day.

Du hast nicht mehr alle Tassen im Schrank — This is sort of like the German version of “missing a few buttons from your remote control.” It literally translates to “you don’t have all the cups in your cupboard.”

Evolutionsbremse — “Evolutionary brake” sounds a little clumsy in its English translation, but in German, you can level this at someone who is so stupid that they’re actually holding back the rest of the human race.

Hackfresse — “A face like ground meat.” Ouch.

Jeansbügler — The most uptight among us shouldn’t protest too much if someone accuses us of “ironing our jeans.”

Korinthenkacker — This literally translates to “currant pooper” (or “raisin pooper”). It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to get that this specifically refers to someone who’s petty or overly fixated on trivial details (anal-retentive, in so many words).

Schleimscheißer — Depending on the context, a “slime shitter” might not have a particular agenda, but if you hear someone leveling this word at you, you can be pretty sure that they’re calling you a sycophant.

Spargeltarzan — What is an “asparagus Tarzan,” exactly? Someone who’s so skinny and gangly that their wispy vegetable stalks could dangle from the trees (but perhaps not with a great amount of upper body strength).

Spaßbremse — Another of the German insults that uses bremse, or “brake.” A “fun brake” is perhaps a more mechanical twist on “party pooper” or “killjoy.”

Vollidiot — “Full idiot.” Not a half idiot — a full idiot.

Warmduscher — This is one of those German insults that can be a little “old-school masculinity” for some, but you’re basically calling someone out for taking warm showers (and essentially implying that they’re a wimp).

Learn more German for polite circumstances.
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