Willkommen! Welcome, all German learners, to this ultimate rundown of German swear words.
Today, we will explain why you should learn German curse words and how best to go about this task. Then, we will provide a list of some of the most popular expletives and imaginative insults.
Not only will this help you to develop your colloquial German vocabulary, but it will also expose you to some new fun German words that you can use in daily life.
By the end of this guide to swear words in German, you will be well-equipped with slang words and phrases to win any argument in Germany!
Why You Should Learn German Curse Words
Before we dive into our top picks of German swear words, let's talk about why you should bother to learn these words and phrases.
Learning colloquial and rude German words is actually an important part of learning the language. If you want to be able to socialize with native German speakers and keep up with casual conversations, being able to understand and use these phrases is very useful.
You will sound more like a local and have a stronger command of the German language if you can use colloquialisms and hold your ground in a confrontation.
Moreover, a lot of German swear words can be used in fun, lighthearted and silly situations with friends as well as in a disagreement. So, they can help you to bond with the locals in Germany.
You will also be able to understand TV shows, movies, music, podcasts, and social situations better when you can pick up German swear words and common insults. This will make your trips to Germany more fulfilling and German content more accessible.
So, that being said, how can learners develop their understanding of German swear words?
How to Learn German Swear Words
Now that you understand why knowing curses and common insults in German is an important part of your learning journey, let's look at different ways to develop your curse word vocabulary.
Watch German TV and Movies
One of the best - and most fun! - ways to learn slang and curse words is to watch German TV shows and movies.
Being exposed to native speakers' usage of German slang, swear words and silly insults is the best way to naturally acquire this language.
German TV does not often censor bad words, so watching popular television shows is a great way to immerse yourself in the language and develop your colloquial language.
If you are not sure where to find German TV shows and movies, you can check out Lingopie. This is a streaming service that is designed specifically to teach people any one of 8 popular languages.
On Lingopie, you can watch hours of great German content, hand-picked for learners, and enjoy their dual subtitles feature, as well as interactive transcripts, digital flashcards, and quizzes. These features are particularly useful for visual and active learners.
Listen to German Music and Podcasts
Another awesome approach to picking up new slang and swear words naturally is to listen to German music, podcasts, radio shows, and so on.
Auditory learners will benefit from exposure to German vocabulary in this way. Hearing natives sing or speak German will help you with pronunciation and allow you to build your vocabulary while engaged in the content.
Because music has rhythm and rhyme, it is often used as a learning tool. When you love a song, you naturally learn the words, and this task is made easier when they are set to a catchy tune.
Listening to podcasts is also a great way to encourage you to start speaking German. You will immerse yourself in conversations and build an understanding of small talk, thinking words, and casual sayings.
Both music and podcasts in German will heavily feature colloquialisms and swear words as this is a normal part of popular culture.
So, choose your favorite shows, movies, music, and podcasts in German and start learning today!
Below, you will find a list of the most common and fun insults from Germany to get the ball rolling.
German Swear Words: A Rundown
Let's start with some classic German words and phrases that can be used to indicate distaste. Most of these have a fairly straightforward equivalent in English, so you will be able to learn them and use them without much trouble.
- Das ist mir scheißegal! - I don't give a shit!
- Was zur Hölle? - What the hell?
- Geh zum Teufel! - Go to hell!
- Fick dich - Fuck you
- Mist - Crap/ shit
This swear word alone carries a fairly mild meaning, but when used in compound words it can become harsher. For instance, So ein Misthaufen! means "what a pile of crap!" and Miststück can be used to say "bastard" or "bitch".
- Mistkerl - Dirty swine/ bastard
- Hör auf so ein Depp zu sein! - Stop being such an idiot!
- Drecksau - Dirty pig
- Du Bastard! - You bastard!
- Du Hurensohn - You son of a bitch
- Sohn einer Hündin! - Son of a bitch!
- Verpiss dich! - Piss off!
By now, you have learned quite a few ways to put people in their place in German, from dismissing someone's words as ein Misthaufen!, or "a pile of crap", to being able to say Verpiss dich, du Hurensohn, "piss off, you son of a bitch", your argumentative skills are coming along nicely.
The Word Arsch
The word Arsch, which means "ass" in American English, or "arse", in British English, is often used in German swear words.
- Arschloch - Asshole
- Arschgeige - Idiot
This lighthearted insult is a mix of Arsch ("ass") and geige ("fiddle"). The literal translation of this expression is "ass violin", but it is used in Germany as a way of calling someone a "stupid bastard".
- Arschkriecher - Ass kisser
There are also fun slang sayings in German using Arsch.
- Leck mich (am Arsch) - Lick me (on the ass)
- Küss meinen Arsch - Kiss my ass
- Am Arsch der Welt - In the middle of nowhere
This expression's literal translation is "on the ass of the world" which is a bit like the American English saying "in buttfuck nowhere".
- Den Arsch in Bewegung setzen - Get your ass moving/ get your ass in motion
The British English equivalent of suggesting one should get one's ass moving would be "get your arse in gear".
- Das geht mir am Arsch vorbei - I don't give a damn
Finally, this funny saying literally translates as "that passes me by the ass". The implication is that whatever has happened does not concern you one bit. It is a bit like saying "I couldn't give a flying shit".
Now that you have the basics, you will want to learn some more colorful and silly insults from Germany. Some of these have the same energy as English "your mama" jokes.
Just as with those English equivalents, you should only use these sayings with close friends with whom you can joke in this way!
- Deine Mutter geht in der Stadt huren - Your mother goes to town (as a prostitute)
- Deine Mutter schwitzt beim Kacken - Your mother sweats when she shits
- Deine Mudda ist so dick, dass wenn sie sich wiegt, auf der Waage ihre Handynummer steht - Your mama is so fat that when she stands on the scales, it shows her phone number
- Deine Oma masturbiert im Stehen - Your grandma masturbates standing up
As you can see, these insults are incredibly silly and could be very offensive when said at the wrong moment! Proceed with caution.
Lastly, we have...
- Bananenbieger - Banana bender
Yes, you read that right! If you call someone a banana bender, you are suggesting that they have a useless job or that they are not going anywhere. Someone whose job it is to bend bananas has a meaningless occupation. It is the perfect word for someone who is wasting their time and not moving forward.
Mild Insults in German
Finally, we will leave you with some gentler swear words and phrases. These can be used a little more freely, but you should still be aware of your company before you throw them out casually in conversation.
- Halt die Klappe - Shut your trap (shut up)
- Quatsch! - Nonsense/ rubbish!
This German word alone is not terribly insulting, but it is a way of expressing disagreement with what someone is saying. You could say Quatsch! Nichts von dem, was du sagst, ist wahr, meaning “nonsense! None of what you're saying is true."
- Du Schweinehund - You pig dog
This funny swear word comes from Schwein, "pig", and Hund, "dog". German speakers also say wie ein Schweinehund weinen, which means "cry like a pig dog". This expression can be used to mock yourself or someone else for making a mountain out of a molehill.
- Du spinnst wohl - You must be crazy
- Der hat am Blitz geleckt - He is totally mental
The exact translation of this phrase is "he licked the lightning", which would obviously be a crazy thing to do!
- Depp - Idiot
Lastly, this short and sweet insult covers a range of similar insults in English, such as "dipshit" or "jackass". It is fairly mild and can be used casually with friends without causing offense.
If you look at someone and point your index finger towards your head, this is an expressive non-verbal way of letting them know that you think whatever they have done or said was stupid or insane.
Similarly, cupping your hand and waving it in front of your face is another manner of showing that you think someone or something is being silly or mad.
Finally, if you want to use some of your newly acquired insults and slang in Germany, but you want to make sure you will not cause offense, you can pull down your lower eyelid as you speak. This indicates that you are being sarcastic and not serious.
FAQs: Learning Swear Words From Germany
What is the most common German swear word?
When it comes to learning common and useful expletives in German, you cannot go wrong with fick dich ("fuck you"). For a slightly less harsh alternative, leck mich am Arsch ("lick me on the ass") will go a long way! Leck mich on its own is also a curse word. Finally, the German swear word Scheiße means "shit" and can be used to express distaste or frustration. This is probably the most well-known curse word in German.
Is it always appropriate to use German swear words?
You should always be aware of the context of a social situation before you start casually swearing in mixed company.
Particularly in the Bavarian Catholic areas, some curse words will be seen as inappropriate in certain circumstances. Always follow native speakers' cues and save the harsher language you have learned for your closest friends.
What is the proper way to learn the casual German language?
There is no one way to learn a language, but many of the traditional routes, such as classes and textbooks, will neglect to include swear words and colloquialisms.
The best ways to pick up expletives in German are to listen carefully to German content, like TV shows and movies, and to talk to native speakers.
How do you say "go to hell" in German?
There are several ways to say "go to hell" in German. We have already seen Geh zum Teufel, but you can also use Hol dich der Teufel!, Scher dich zum Teufel! and Fahr zur Hölle. Choose your favorite and have fun with it!
See also: A Guide to German Verbs for Beginners
Summing Up: Learning Curse Words in German
This has been a comprehensive guide to swearing and cursing in German. Now, you are equipped with a whole host of fun, imaginative and silly ways to express your distaste or have a laugh with your German friends.
Learning German insults and curse words is a great way to deepen your understanding of the vernacular, as well as keep up with social situations and get more out of German TV, music, and other content.
Watching TV shows and movies and listening to podcasts and music is an awesome way to develop your casual language acquisition, all while having fun.