10 Funny & Cool German Words – You’ll Love Them

Is there anything more fascinating than languages? Each one has a significant number of words with unique and sometimes hilarious meanings.

Believe me or not, but this also goes for German.

It often seems impossible to translate those funny German expressions into English.

But I’ve tried in order to share them with you.

This article will provide you with a list of the coolest German words I could think of.


The Ultimate List of Cool German Words

  1. Bierernst
  2. Ohrwurm
  3. Eselsbrücke 
  4. Dreikäsehoch
  5. Warmduscher
  6. Glückspilz
  7. Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän
  8. Fingerspitzengefühl
  9. Sitzfleisch
  10. Schnapsidee

Are you feeling confused?

Let’s take a look at these words. Especially number 7….

1. Bierernst (beer serious)

Germans don’t joke when it comes to beer!

Bierernst is mainly used as an adjective. It can either refer to someone who’s dead severe or to a very grave situation.

The word is closely related to “bitterernst”, which is more common and basically means the same thing.

Even though “bierernst” isn’t used a lot, I think it’s hilarious that such a word exists in the German language. 

You can find out more about German beer culture in this article.

2. Ohrwurm (earworm)

I’m not talking about the insect that crawls into your ear at night and eats your brain. 

I’m just kidding – earwigs only eat plant lice and fruits. That’s just a strange folk tale that my mean older brother told me when I was little.

I’m actually talking about a highly catchy song, which is also called “Ohrwurm” in German. 

Some of you might even know the English equivalent earworm. It refers to a song that you just can’t get out of your head and keep singing for days.

That’s really annoying sometimes, isn’t it? What was your last Ohrwurm?

3. Eselsbrücke (donkey bridge)

Any idea what this cool German word could mean? I can assure you that it’s got nothing to do with donkeys and bridges. 

Have you ever had to memorize an insane number of facts for an exam?

Coming up with a funny “Eselsbrücken” can make studying much more straightforward and even funny. 

Can you now guess what it means? Excellent! 

Eselsbrücke is the German word for a mnemonic aid. This can either be a rhyme or a mental image that helps you remember complicated words, phrases, or grammar rules.

They can be handy if you want to learn German by yourself

4. Dreikäsehoch (three cheese high)

As you certainly won’t guess what this one means, I’ll tell you right away.

“Dreikäsehoch” is a noun and refers to a cheeky little child. Although the child is only as tall as three piled cheese loaves, he or she already has a huge mouth.

Doesn’t it make much sense to you? 

Well, to me, neither.

5. Warmduscher (warm shower lover) 

Calling somebody a “Warmduscher” is not a very nice thing to do. So please be careful if you’re planning to use this word one day. 

It’s the German equivalent for wimp or coward. Germans mainly use this word for men who aren’t very courageous or always take the easy way out.   

I don’t know about you – but I think there’s nothing more relaxing than a nice warm shower after a busy day at work.

6. Glückspilz (lucky mushroom)

A fortunate person is often called a “Glückspilz” in German. It’s pretty much the same thing as a lucky dog or lucky devil in English.

Mushrooms are considered to bring good luck in German-speaking cultures. 

That’s why we exchange mushroom-shaped candy along with tiny horseshoes, four-leaf-clovers, and sugar pigs on New Year’s Eve.

Are there any similar good luck traditions in your country?

7. Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän (?!?)

As you can see, German-speaking people are genius at creating insanely long compound words. 

This one is actually a professional title that you can find in German dictionaries. For a whole while, it was considered the longest word in our language. 

If you’d like to know, “Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän” is the captain of a Danube steamship company. 

You’ve probably noticed the fff in “Schifffahrt”. This sometimes happens when you combine two nouns in German. Another example is “Balletttänzerin” (ballet dancer).

This is something you should keep in mind when you’re learning German. There are some common language mistakes in German you might want to avoid.

8. Fingerspitzengefühl (fingertip sensitivity)

Are you a good negotiator? Then you probably know that this requires a lot of “Fingerspitzengefühl”

Do you have any idea what this German word could mean? 

Yes? No? 

I’ll tell you. 

It refers to the amount of sensitivity and tact you need when you’re dealing with other people or difficult situations.

I personally have a great talent for putting my foot in it… Can you relate?

9. Sitzfleisch (sit meat)

It’s definitely one of my favorites in this list of interesting German words.

And no, it’s not a meat dish my grandma used to cook for me as a child.    

“Sitzfleisch” is a noun with two meanings. On the one hand, it’s another word for a person’s buttocks.

But its second meaning is far more exciting and quite challenging to explain to non-German speakers.  

“Sitzfleisch” also refers to the endurance or stamina you need when you have to sit still for a very long time.

For example, when you have to sit through a boring conference. Or when you have to sit in a doctor’s waiting room for what feels like an eternity.  

You won’t need any more “Sitzfleisch” for this article, as we are about to reach the last cool expression.

10. Schnapsidee (liquor idea)

Did you know that Germans drink around 12 liters (3 gallons) of pure alcohol a year?

That’s a whole lot, isn’t it? No wonder that there are words like “bierernst” and “Schnapsidee” in the German language.

Can you guess its meaning? It shouldn’t be too hard.

We all know that people tend to do idiotic things when they are drunk. That’s why “Schnapsidee” is used for foolish and crazy ideas in German. 

You might have had one or the other “Schnapsidee” in your life. At least I have…

But wanting to learn German is definitely not one of them!

I really hope you enjoyed this list of funny and cool German words.

Well, I have to admit that certain expressions don’t make much sense. But that’s what makes languages so awesome! 

And this is only one of many reasons why learning German is a great idea.

Keep up the great work!

Photo by Amir Ghoorchiani from Pexels

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Sandra Foessl

Sandra Foessl

Language lover and bookworm. Lives in Austria and has been teaching English, French and German for more than a decade.

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