111 funny German words, phrases and facts to make you LOL

Is it true that Germans aren’t funny or does the rest of the world just not get the German sense of humor? Now we might be biased, but as Germans, we personally think we’re hilarious. So maybe the issue is something else entirely.

Consider that jokes heavily rely on puns, ambiguity and playing with language - and German is a pretty difficult language to play with.

If you’re taking a German class, you already know how long it can take to properly explain some German grammar structures and peculiarities of the language - and the truth is: If it takes 20 minutes to explain a joke, it simply isn’t funny anymore.

On top of that, Germans tend to be direct and literal, and also very politically correct. Maybe that is what’s misinterpreted as humorless by the rest of the world.

Luckily, at least the German language can be pretty funny - often unintentionally so.

All in all, your best chance to understand just how funny Germans can be is to learn German, including some of these funny German words and phrases.

Take a break from your German lessons and try our LOL German quiz!

Funny German words and phrases spoken at a dinner party.

Funny German vocab

We already covered a number of beautifully weird and quirky words in German but the list just goes on and on. Some are hilariously long, some may seem impossible to pronounce, and all of them are fun to say. Try it for yourself. Repeat after me “Klackermatsch”.

Funny German words

How many words do you know that rhyme with themselves? Meet “Larifari” “Tohuwabohu” and “Holterdiepolter”.

German IPAActual meaning
Purzelbaum[ˈpʊʁt͡sl̩ˌbaʊ̯m]Somersault
Papperlapapp[ˌpapɐlaˈpap]Hogwash
Wonneproppen[ˈvɔnəˌpʁɔpn̩]Bundle of joy, used for babies
Kaffeeklatsch[ˈkafeˌklat͡ʃ]Meeting for coffee and chit chat
Schnickschnack[ˈʃnɪkˌʃnak]Frills
Holterdiepolter[ˌhɔltɐdiːˈpɔltɐ]Helter-skelter
Faxen[ˈfaksn̩]Pranks
Fisimatenten[ˌfizimaˈtɛntn̩]Shenanigans
Schmock[ʃmɔk]Shmock, dirt
Dudelsack[ˈduːdl̩ˌzak]Yodel sack
Brimborium[bʁɪmˈboːʁiʊm]Fuss
Kaulquappe[ˈkaʊ̯lˌkvapə]Pollywog
Anhängsel[ˈanˌhɛŋzl̩]Appendage
Quietscheentchen[ˈkviːt͡ʃəˌʔɛntçən]Rubber duck
Wackeldackel[ˈvakl̩ˌdakl̩]Bobblehead
Blubberwasser[ˈblʊbɐˈvasɐ]Fizzy water
Tohuwabohu[ˌtoːhuvaˈboːhu]Hubbub
Firlefanz[ˈfɪʁləˌfant͡s]Frippery
Kinkerlitzchen[ˈkɪŋkɐˌlɪt͡sçn̩]Knick-knacks
Lappalie[laˈpaːli̯ə]Trifle
Mumpitz[ˈmʊmˌpɪt͡s]Balderdash
Sammelsurium[zaml̩ˈzuːʁiʊm]Hodgepodge
Schlamassel[ʃlaˈmasl̩]Mess
Larifari[laʁiˈfaːʁi]Airy-fairy
Gedöns[ɡəˈdøːns]Thingies
Jungspund[ˈjʊŋʃpʊnt]Youngster
Kauderwelsch[ˈkaʊ̯dɐˌvɛlʃ]Gibberish
Klackermatsch[ˈklakɐmat͡ʃ]Mudd
Schlafittchen[ʃlaˈfɪtçən]Scruff of one’s neck
Schlawiner[ʃlaˈviːnɐ]Rogue
Unfug[ˈʊnfuːk]Mischief
Sich beömmeln[zɪç bəˈʔœml̩n]To laugh out loud
Mit Schmackes[mɪt ˈʃmakəs]Energetically
Pudelnärrisch[ˈpuːdl̩ˈnɛʁɪʃ]Droll
Possierlich[pɔˈsiːɐ̯lɪç]Cute
Meschugge[meˈʃʊɡə]Bonkers
Zuzuzurren[ˈt͡suːt͡suˌt͡sʊʁən]To bind together

Funny German phrases and things to say in German

Idiomatic language can be a lot of fun - from “the very first cream” to “the very last thing”.

Das ist allererste Sahne translates to that's fantastic in German.
German IPALiteral meaningActual meaning
Das ist allererste Sahne[das ɪst ˈalɐˈeːɐ̯stə ˈzaːnə]That’s the very first creamThat’s fantastic
Klar wie Kloßbrühe[klaːɐ̯ viː ˈkloːsˌbʁyːə]Clear as dumpling-brothCrystal clear
Dumm wie Bonenstroh[ˈdʊm viː ˈboːnənˌʃtʁoː]Dumb as bean-strawDumb as a stump
Als Versuchskaninchen dienen[als fɛɐ̯ˈzuːxskaˌniːnçən ˈdinən]To serve as try-bunnyTo act as a guinea pig
Kleinvieh macht auch Mist[ˈklaɪ̯nˌfiː maxt aʊ̯x ˈmɪst]Small livestock craps, tooA penny saved is a penny got
Um den heißen Brei herumreden[ʊm deːn ˈhaɪ̯sn̩ ˈbʁaɪ̯ hɛˈʁʊmˌʁeːdn̩]To talk around the hot pulpTo beat around the bush
Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof[das ˈleːbn̩ ʔɪst ˌkaɪ̯n ˈpɔniˌhoːf]Life is not a pony farmLife isn’t always easy
Was ist denn das hier für ein Saftladen?[vas ɪst dɛn das hi:ɐ̯ fy:ɐ̯ aɪ̯n ˈzaftˌlaːdn̩]What kind of juice shop is this?Why is this business run so poorly?
Hast du einen an der Waffel?[hast du: aɪ̯nən an de:ɐ̯ ˈvafl̩]Do you have one at the waffle?Are you crazy?
Lügen haben kurze Beine[ˈlyːɡn̩ ˌhaːbn̩ ˈkʊʁt͡sə ˈbaɪ̯nə]Lies have short legsLies don’t travel far
Halt die Ohren steif[ˈhalt diː ˈoːʁən ˈʃtaɪ̯f]Hold the ears stiffKeep your chin up
Da schaust du dumm aus der Wäsche[da: ʃaʊ̯st du: dʊm aʊ̯s de:ɐ̯ ˈvɛʃə]There you look stupid out of your laundryNow you look stupid
Das bringt mich auf die Palme[das bʁɪŋt mɪç ʔaʊ̯f diː ˈpalmə]That brings me on top of the palmThat drives me nuts
Das ist mir schnurzpiepegal[das ɪst miːɐ̯ˌʃnʊʁt͡sˈpiːpʔeˈɡaːl]I don’t schnurz-peep careI couldn’t care less
Das ist kein Zuckerschlecken[das ɪst kaɪ̯n ˈt͡sʊkɐˌʃlɛkn̩]That’s no sugar lickingThat’s not easy
Das ist das allerletzte[das ɪst das ˈalɐˌlɛt͡stə]That’s the very last thingThat’s the worst
Schwamm drüber[ʃvam ˈdʁyːbɐ]Sponge on top of it itForget it, no hard feelings
Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen[ˈfʁiːdə ˈfʁɔɪ̯də ˈaɪ̯ɐˌkuːxn̩]Love, peace, pancakeLove, peace, and harmony
Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei[ˈaləs hat aɪ̯n ˈɛndə nuːɐ̯ diː vʊʁst hat t͡svaɪ̯]Everything has an end, only the sausage has twoAll good things come to an end

Free and fun quiz to make you laugh out loud!

Download this free quiz and try to guess the funny German words and phrases. Once you've completed the quiz, scan the QR code... you'll be amazed at the answers!

Free funny German words and phrases quiz.

Funny German slang

If you’ve read our article about the 180 best German slang expressions, you’re already a pro when it comes to German slang, but in case you just can’t get enough, here are a few more funny German slang expressions for you.

Woman reading funny German slang on her mobile phone.

German IPALiteral meaningActual meaning
Dreikäsehoch[dʁaɪ̯ˈkɛːzəhoːx]Three-cheeses-highA small child
Rampensau[ˈʁampn̩ˌzaʊ̯]Ramp-pigStage-hog
Pantoffelheld[panˈtɔfəlˌhɛlt]Slipper-heroA henpecked man
Hanswurst[ˈhansˌvʊʁst]Hans-sausageBuffon
Kabelsalat[ˈkaːbl̩zaˌlaːt]Cable saladA jumble of cables
Backpfeifengesicht[ˈbakp͡faɪ̯fn̩ɡəˌzɪçt]A slap faceA punchable face
Spaßvogel[ˈʃpaːsˌfoːɡl̩]Fun-birdJokester
Affenkram[ˈafn̩kʁaːm]Monkey-stuffSilly behavior
Gurkentruppe[ˈɡʊʁkn̩ˌtʁʊpə]Cucumber troupA bunch of newbies
Fressalien[fʁɛˈsaːli̯ən]MunchablesFood
Schnabulieren[ʃnabuˈliːʁən]To beak-ulateTo nibble
Waschbrettbauch[ˈvaʃbʁɛtˌbaʊ̯x]Washboard stomachSix-pack
Putzwunderlich[pʊt͡sˈvʊndɐlɪç]Clean-wonderlyWonderful
Sturmfrei[ˈʃtʊʁmˌfʁaɪ̯]Storm-freeTo have a place for oneself when the parents or roomates are gone
Goldig[ˈɡɔldɪç]GoldySweet
Splitterfasernackt[ˌʃplɪtɐfaːzɐˈnakt]splinter-fiber-nakedCompletely naked
Mucksmäuschenstill[ˈmʊksˌmɔɪ̯sçənʃtɪl]Mouse-peep-quietCompletely quiet

Funny German insults

What better language than German to insult someone? With the right pronunciation, these German insults may sound really mean, but in reality they’re all very tame.

German IPALiteral meaningActual meaning
Weichei[ˈvaɪ̯çʔaɪ̯]Soft-eggWeakling
Schattenparker[ˈʃatn̩ˈpaʁkɐ]Shadow-parkerWeakling
Warmduscher[ˈvaʁmˌdʊʃɐ]Warm-showererWeakling
Sitzpinkler[ˈzɪt͡sˌpɪŋklɐ]Someone who sits down peeingWeakling
Quatschkopf[ˈkvat͡ʃˌkɔp͡f]Nonsense-headBlatherer
Trantüte[ˈtʁaːnˌtyːtə]Bag of fish oilSlow mover
Schnarchnase[ˈʃnaʁçˌnaːzə]Snore-noseSlow mover
Miesepeter[ˈmiːzəˌpeːtɐ]Lousy PeterSomeone who is always in a bad mood
Stinkstiefel[ˈʃtɪŋkˌʃtiːfl̩]Smelly bootRude man
Tollpatsch[ˈtɔlpat͡ʃ]Great-touchKlutz
Labertasche[ˈlaːbɐˌtaʃə]Babble-bagChatterbox
Blödian[ˈbløːdi̯aːn]Dumb-ianIdiot
Rotzlöffel[ˈʁɔt͡sˌlœfl̩]A spoon of snotA brat, cheeky child

Funny German exclamations and interjections

In English, too, interjections can be pretty funny - from “Boo-yah” to “Holy mackerel”, they convey a certain level of absurdity.

In German, exclamations like “Heiliger Muckefuck” might sound harsher than they truly are. That holy “Muckefuck” is just a caffeine-free coffee alternative. Why, did you think it meant something else?

Couple enjoying some fun facts about German.

German IPALiteral meaningActual meaning
Pustekuchen[ˈpuːstəˌkuːxn̩]Blow-cakeNot a bit of it/ But it wasn’t the case
Ätsch[ɛːt͡ʃ]Tee-heeThat serves you right
Pfui Spinne[p͡fʊɪ̯ ˈʃpɪnə]Urgh spiderUgh
Donnerwetter[ˈdɔnɐˌvɛtɐ]ThunderwatherGosh
Kuckuck[ˈkʊkʊk]CuckooPeekaboo
Mannomann[manoːman]Man oh manOh boy
Heiliger Muckefuck[ˈhaɪ̯lɪɡɐ ˈmʊkəˌfʊk]Holy coffee substituteOh my
Ei der Daus[aɪ̯ deːɐ̯ daʊ̯s]Egg the aceOh my
Alter Schwede[ˈaltɐˈʃveːdə]Old SwedeOh my
Heiliger Strohsack[ˈhaɪ̯lɪɡɐ ˈʃtʁoːˌzak]Holy straw bagOh my
Holler die Waldfee[ˈhɔlɐ diː valtfeː]Holler the woodferryOh my
Ach du dickes Ei[ax duː ˈdɪkəs aɪ̯]Alas, you fat eggOh my
Heiliger Bimbam[ˈhaɪ̯lɪɡɐ bɪmba:m]Holy bimbamOh my
Mein lieber Herr Gesangverein[maɪ̯n ˈliːbɐ hɛɐ̯ ɡəˈzaŋsfɛɐ̯ˌʔaɪ̯n]My dear mister choir clubOh my
Mein lieber Schwan[maɪ̯n ˈliːbɐ ʃvaːn]My dear swanOh my
Potz Blitz[pɔt͡s blɪt͡s]-Oh my
Igitt Igitt[iˈɡɪt iˈɡɪt]-Yuck
Boah[bɔːɐ̯]-Wow
Schwuppdiwupp[ˈʃvʊpdɪˌvʊp]-Bada bing
Husch[hʊʃ]-Shoo
Kabumm[kabʊm]-Kaboom

Four fun facts about the German language

In case you’re not impressed yet, here are four fun facts about the German that will make you shake your head:

1. Somehow it’s all about the sausage.

Whether you’re “playing the insulted liver-sausage” (die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen), asking for an “extra sausage” (Extrawurst) or “throwing the ham at the sausage” (mit der Wurst nach dem Schinken werfen), there are more than 30 German expressions that include a sausage.

2. There are 5 different ways to ask why and they’re all interchangeable.

Wieso? Weshalb? Warum? Wozu? Wofür?

3. There are 5 major meanings of the word “Bitte”.

It simultaneously means “Please”, “You’re welcome”, “Here you go”, “Go ahead” and “Pardon?”

4. “Umfahren” is the exact opposite of “umfahren”.

Don’t see the difference? Yeah, the only difference is the emphasis. When you stress the first syllable (um), the word means “to drive by”. When you stress the second syllable (fahr), the word suddenly means “to run over”.

The importance of German capitalization

Just like the subtle differences in stress and pronunciation, capitalization can also have a massive effect on the meaning of a word.

In German, nouns are always capitalized. So when you see a capitalized word in the middle of a sentence, you automatically know it’s a noun. Sometimes this small detail changes the meaning of an entire sentence. Watch how these translations change just because of the capitalization.

  • Die Spinnen
  • Die spinnen
  • The spiders
  • They’re crazy
  • Der gefangene Floh
  • Der Gefangene floh
  • The captured flea
  • The prisoner escaped
  • Wäre er doch nur Dichter
  • Wäre er doch nur dichter
  • If only he was a poet
  • If only he was more drunk
  • Wir haben in Berlin liebe Genossen
  • Wir haben in Berlin Liebe genossen
  • We have nice comrades in Berlin
  • We enjoyed love in Berlin
  • Vor dem Fenster sah sie den geliebten Rasen
  • Vor dem Fenster sah sie den Geliebten rasen
  • In front of the window she saw the beloved lawn
  • In front of the window she saw her lover racing
  • Der Junge sieht dir ungeheuer ähnlich
  • Der Junge sieht dir Ungeheuer ähnlich
  • The boy resembles you enormously
  • The boy resembles you, you monster

Guess the meaning of these German words

Christoph Waltz Gives Jimmy Fallon a German Words Quiz

Guess the meaning of these funny German words with Jimmy Fallon and the Austrian actor and two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz. If you paid attention, you already know a couple of them!

Everything has an end

…only the sausage has two. So we’ll just say one last thing. The German word for “funny” is “komisch”, a word that also means “weird” (talk about ambivalence). So what does that say about the German sense of humor? Maybe the German idea of funny includes everything that’s a little weird and special. That would make German the funniest language in the world, don’t you think?

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