30 Hilarious German Insults You Should Start Using Immediately

Someone engaged in a pointless task or without direction in life can be called a bananenbieger, or “banana bender.”
Someone engaged in a pointless task or without direction in life can be called a bananenbieger, or “banana bender.”
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If you’ve had your fill of German terms of endearment and want to learn how to insult someone instead, look no further. Some of these insults are amusingly innocent-sounding, while others are pretty devastating—so let’s hope you don’t wind up on the receiving end of one of those. Here are 30 of the best German insults we could find.

1. Arschgeige

Someone who doesn’t perform a particular task very well can be called a “butt violin,” or arschgeige.

2. Bananenbieger

Someone who’s engaged in a pointless task, who can't concentrate, or has no direction in life can be called a bananenbieger, or “banana bender.”

3. Erbsenzähler

A “pea counter” is a nitpicker who obsesses over the little details. Similarly, you can call an overly pedantic person who always plays by the rules an ameisentätowierer, or “ant tattooist.”

4. Lustmolch

This word literally translates to “pleasure newt,” which is what you’d call someone who is sex-crazed.

5. Arsch mit ohren

A "butt with ears"—or, put simply, a complete idiot.

6. Evolutionsbremse

An “evolutionary brake” is an unintelligent person whose very existence on Earth hinders the advancement of the human species, so to speak.

7. Einzeller

In a similar vein, this word means a “single-cell organism.”

8. Hosenscheißer

These “trouser-poopers” are cowards.

9. Dünnbrettbohrer

A “driller of thin planks” is someone who takes the easy way out and does the bare minimum.

10. Spargeltarzan

This imaginative insult translates to “asparagus Tarzan,” and describes someone who is thin and gangly.

11. Kotzbrocken

A "lump of puke."

12. Heißluftgebläse

A “hot air gun” is someone who talks too much, but about nothing. You can also call someone a labertasche, or “babble bag.”

13. Gehirnverweigerer

A “brain denier” is someone who doesn’t use their noggin often.

14. Teletubbyzurückwinker

This word, which means “someone who waves back at Teletubbies,” describes someone who isn’t too bright.

15. Schluckspecht

A boozer who hits the bottle too much can be called a “guzzling woodpecker.”

16. Stinkstiefel

A “smelly boot” is an especially grouchy person.

17. Tratschtante

A “gossip aunt” is someone who loves to spread rumors and talk about other people.

18. Rotzlöffel

A brat—literally, “snot spoon.”

19. Speichellecker

A “saliva licker,” or brown-noser.

20. Lackaffe

A “varnish monkey” is an overly flashy man who dresses garishly.

21. Schweinehund

In English, someone who behaves crassly (typically a man) can be called a “pig” or a “dog.” German combines both into schweinehund, meaning “pig dog.”

22. Trantüte

Here’s one for your morning commute: You can call the slowpoke in front of you a trantüte, or a “bag of whale blubber.”

23. Backpfeifengesicht

Backpfeife is a slap across the cheek, and gesicht is face. Put them together and you get “a face that invites a slap.”

24. Blockflötengesicht

Remember the recorder from your childhood music class? It has seven holes and blows hot air, just like a “recorder face,” or blockflötengesicht. (It refers to a person’s two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and mouth.) Basically, it means an idiot, or someone given to meaningless talk.

25. Socken-in-sandalen-träger

There are a few sock-oriented taunts in German. A socken-in-sandalen-träger, or “socks-in-sandals wearer,” is kind of a wimp. So is a sockenschläfer (someone who sleeps in socks) and a sockenfalter (a man who folds his socks).

26. Weichei

Likewise, “soft eggs” are weak or wimpy. This word (and the rest of the insults listed below) are part of a whole list of German synonyms for wimp called weicheiwörter, or "soft egg words."

27. Warmduscher

A warmduscher is a wuss who takes warm showers.

28. Jeansbügler

Someone who irons their jeans.

29. Tee-trinker

Someone who drinks tea—most likely when everyone else is drinking beer.

30. Schattenparker

Someone who parks in the shade.

The Ohio State University Is Trying to Trademark the ‘The’ in Its Name

As any good Ohioan knows, there’s a big difference between an Ohio state university and The Ohio State University. But with countless other public colleges across the state, including the similarly named Ohio University, it’s not hard for out-of-towners or prospective students to get confused. To further distinguish themselves from other institutions (and to capitalize on merchandise opportunities, no doubt), The Ohio State University is pursuing a trademark for the The in its name.

According to Smithsonian.com, trademark lawyer Josh Gerben first broke the news on Twitter, where he shared a short video that included the trademark application itself, as well as examples of how the university plans to use the word on apparel. One is a white hat emblazoned with a red THE, and the other is a red scoop-necked T-shirt with a white THE and the Ohio State logo beneath it. Gerben predicts that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will initially deny the trademark request on the basis that those examples aren’t sufficient trademark use, but the university would have an opportunity to try again.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that university spokesperson Chris Davey confirmed the trademark application, saying that “Ohio State works to vigorously protect the university’s brand and trademarks.” He’s not exaggerating; the university has secured trademarks for legendary coaches Urban Meyer and Woody Hayes, plus more than 150 trademarks and pending applications across an impressive 17 countries.

The school's 2017 request to trademark the initials "OSU" provoked an objection from Oklahoma State University, which is also known as OSU, but the two schools eventually decided that they could both use it, as long as each refrained from producing clothing or content that could cause confusion about which school was being referenced.

The Ohio State University, perhaps most famous for its marching band, public research endeavors, and legendary athletic teams, is not impervious to social media mockery, however.

Ohio University responded with this:

And the University of Michigan, OSU’s longtime sports rival, suggested that it should trademark of:

However bizarre this trademark may seem, it's far from the weirdest request th Patent and Trademark Office has ever received. Check out these colors and scents that are also trademarked.

[h/t Smithsonian.com]

Where Did the Term Brownie Points Come From?

bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images
bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

In a Los Angeles Times column published on March 15, 1951, writer Marvin Miles observed a peculiar phrase spreading throughout his circle of friends and the social scene at large. While standing in an elevator, he overheard the man next to him lamenting “lost brownie points.” Later, in a bar, a friend of Miles's who had stayed out too late said he would never “catch up” on his brownie points.

Miles was perplexed. “What esoteric cult was this that immersed men in pixie mathematics?” he wrote. It was, his colleagues explained, a way of keeping “score” with their spouses, of tallying the goodwill they had accrued with the “little woman.”

Over the decades, the phrase brownie points has become synonymous with currying favor, often with authority figures such as teachers or employers. So where exactly did the term come from, and what happens when you “earn” them?

The most pervasive explanation is that the phrase originated with the Brownies, a subsect of the Girl Scouts who were encouraged to perform good deeds in their communities. The Brownies were often too young to be official Girl Scouts and were sometimes the siblings of older members. Originally called Rosebuds in the UK, they were renamed Brownies when the first troops were being organized in 1916. Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who had formed the Boy Scouts and was asked to name this new Girl Scout division, dubbed them Brownies after the magical creatures of Scottish folklore that materialized to selflessly help with household chores.

But the Brownies are not the only potential source. In the 1930s, kids who signed up to deliver magazines like The Saturday Evening Post and Ladies' Home Journal from Curtis Publishing were eligible for vouchers labeled greenies and brownies that they could redeem for merchandise. They were not explicitly dubbed brownie points, but it’s not hard to imagine kids applying a points system to the brownies they earned.

The term could also have been the result of wartime rationing in the 1940s, where red and brown ration points could be redeemed for meats.

The phrase didn’t really seem to pick up steam until Miles's column was published. In this context, the married men speaking to Miles believed brownie points could be collected by husbands who remembered birthdays and anniversaries, stopped to pick up the dry cleaning, mailed letters, and didn’t spend long nights in pubs speaking to newspaper columnists. The goal, these husbands explained, was never to get ahead; they merely wanted to be considered somewhat respectable in the eyes of their wives.

Later, possibly as a result of its usage in print, grade school students took the phrase to mean an unnecessary devotion to teachers in order to win them over. At a family and faculty meeting at Leon High in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1956, earning brownie points was said to be a serious problem. Also called apple polishing, it prompted other students in class to shame their peers for being friendly to teachers. As a result, some were “reluctant to be civil” for fear they would be harassed for sucking up.

In the decades since that time, the idiom has become attached to any act where goodwill can be expected in return, particularly if it’s from someone in a position to reward the act with good grades or a promotion. As for Miles: the columnist declared his understanding of brownie points came only after a long night of investigation. Arriving home late, he said, rendered him “pointless.”

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