Article / Molly Reynolds

5 German Sayings for Oktoberfest

Guten Tag!


I spent about 7 months in Germany as an exchange student when I was an undergrad.  It was a culture shock for sure, but I grew as a person.  Now a distant memory, I have forgotten most of the useful German I learned in class. However, I will never forget the language lessons I learned from the family of three teenage boys that I lived with.

Here are five phrases I’ve heard over and over again.  Learn them and break them out during Oktoberfest!  If you have difficulty with the accent, just pretend you are angrily speaking to someone hard of hearing and -BOOM- instant German!

1. “Ihre Nase sieht wie ein gebrochener Tür Knopf aus.”

(Your nose looks like a broken doorknob.)

This is a term of endearment.  Doorknobs are the most important part of the door and noses are the most prominent part of the face.  With a nose like a doorknob, your face is essential in moving through a door to new possibilities.

2. “Sie sind ebenso schmutzig wie Toilettenpapier.”

(You are just as dirty as toilet paper.)

This is a very nice compliment. Toilet paper is an unsung hero.  When it’s dirty, it has been working very, very hard. To be as dirty as toilet paper means you are hardworking, underappreciated and essential to human life.  Go you!

3. “Ich wette du bist ein Taubenlecker.”

(I have you down as a bit of a pigeon-licker.)

The speaker is full of awe.  He who licks pigeons is defying societal norms to commune with lowly creatures.  To utter this phrase is to admit that someone is more selfless than you.

4. “Wo ich herkomme ist Inzucht verboten.”

(Where I come from, incest is not encouraged.)

This is high praise.  The speaker is likening themselves to a pedigree pooch (it’s a big no-no to inbreed dogs). He/she is implying that they are of lesser quality than the person they are speaking to.  You should be proud to hear this phrase during Oktoberfest!

5. “Deine Mutter schwitzt beim Kacken.”

(Your mother sweats when she sh*ts.)

The speaker has pride in productivity.  Germans love efficiency so to hear this phrase is a HUGE compliment.  The speaker is effectively saying that your mother is so proficient that she expels all of her waste at once.  Give mama a pat on the back for this one.

So there you have it!! Thanks to Heinrich, Goetz and Tim for teaching me inclusion, sincerity and most of all, German compliments.


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