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.”
iStock.com/gpointstudio

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.

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

Why Did Noon Used to Mean 3 p.m.?

3 p.m. is basically noon for people who wake up at 12 p.m.
3 p.m. is basically noon for people who wake up at 12 p.m.
Mckyartstudio/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re a late sleeper, you might find yourself thinking 12 p.m. seems way too early to be considered midday, and the word noon would much better describe, say, 3 p.m. It turns out that ancient Romans would have agreed with you, if only for etymological reasons.

As Reader’s Digest explains, the days in ancient Rome were split into four periods of three hours each. The first hour was at sunrise around 6 a.m.—called prime, for first—followed by 9 a.m. (terce, denoting the third hour), 12 p.m. (sext, for sixth), and 3 p.m. (none, for ninth).

According to Merriam-Webster, Middle and Old English borrowed the time-keeping tradition, along with the Latin word for ninth, which was changed to nōn and eventually noon. Though we’re not sure exactly when or why noon started referring to 12 p.m. instead of 3 p.m., it could have something to do with Christian prayer traditions. In the Bible, Jesus’s crucifixion is said to have taken place at the ninth hour, and that’s when worshippers partook in their second of three daily prayers; the others were in the morning and evening. It’s possible that hungry monks were behind noon’s gradual shift from 3 p.m. to 12 p.m.—since their daily fast didn’t end until after the midday prayer, they had a built-in motive for moving it earlier.

While we didn’t exactly stay true to the original Latin meaning of noon, there’s another important remnant of ancient Rome hiding in the way we tell time today. Romans referred to 12 p.m. as meridiem, for midday, and so do we. A.M. is an abbreviation for ante meridiem, or before midday, and P.M. means post meridiem, or after midday.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.