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9 Cool German Words Expats Love To Say And Their Meaning (Can you find the 4 hidden bonus words?)

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

Words have Power

Even I as a native German understand that the German language sometimes can be difficult, frustrating and non-sensical. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We asked 9 Expats of Speakeasy Language Academy living in Germany to reveal their favorite German word to us.


Did you know that German

  • has a term for “a face that needs to be slapped”,

  • contains common words that fit well in almost every situation and

  • exposes slugs indecently?

Broaden your vocabulary, brighten your day and learn German the fun way with these 9 German words.


Berlin: Cece Lederer

1. Mundfaul

Mundfaul”. One of the many universal experiences English has no word for. It literally translates to "mouth lazy" and describes someone who doesn't like to

talk a lot and is uncommunicative.

Berlin:Ceceila Lederer

Certified English Teacher

Check out her teacher's profile for English lessons in Berlin and surrounding areas.


2. Germering-Unterpfaffenhofen

Munich: Kaylen Snow

My favorite German word isn't a common word. It's actually a place. "Germering-Unterpfaffenhofen". One of my good friends lives there but it's more so my favorite because it's just so fun to say!

Muinch: Kaylen Snow

Certified English Teacher

For English lessons in Munich and surrounding click on her teacher’s profile.


3. Backpfeifengesicht

Berlin: Justin

There are so many classics, but I’ll go with "Backpfeifengesicht".

The best translation I’ve heard is: “A face that needs to be slapped!” Why do I like it? I appreciate that this idea can be expressed by one, 17-letter German word. I also like that when I was introduced to this word, it was describing the face of Senator Ted Cruz!​

Berlin: Justin

Certified English Teacher

Find out more about Justin under his online bio or contact him directly for English lessons in Berlin.


4. Doch

I have so many favorite German words, it's hard to pick just one! I think “doch” is probably my favorite right now. But “nein” and “Sieben” are also great words. I really enjoy the word “doch” because there isn’t an English translation for it. It’s so much easier to say “doch” than “yeah we do,” “yeah we are,” or whatever the context of the conversation is. “Doch” is also really fun to say.

Tina - Berlin

Berlin: Tina Angok

Freelance English teacher with Speakeasy Language Academy in Berlin. You can get in touch with her through her teacher’s profile or through her travel blog.


5. Grüße

Vaughan Richards

As I continue to learn and improve my German, I am consistently discovering new words that catch my attention and spark the intuitive language processes in my supple young brain. Right now, I am hooked on the word "Grüße". This word translates to English as "regards" or "respects" but also as "greetings", so I've seen it used in Deutsch as a greeting ("Grüße, wie geht es Ihnen?") or a farewell ("Viele Grüße, auf Wiedersehen"). This versatility reminds me of many English words I love for their flexible definitions. It is also a quintessentially German word in its appearance, with both an umlauted vowel and the "ß" character. Someone who has only the most rudimentary knowledge of German could likely identify it as a German word from those characters alone, as no other language really uses them much or at all. I have been using this word quite a lot in my communications here in Germany and there are still thousands of words for me to explore.

Certified English Teacher

For English lessons in Cologne and surrounding click on his teacher profile or contact him directly.


6. Tschüss

Hamburg: Melissa Malec

I love the way German people say "Tschüss".

It only means 'bye' but the sing-song happy way they say it brings a smile to my face and makes me want to imitate it. I love getting the chance to say "Tschüss" to the barista making my coffee, the person ringing me up at the store, and hopefully one day the many German friends I'll have!

Hamburg: Melissa Malec

Certified English Teacher

Melissa work as a freelance English teacher in Hamburg. Make sure to check out her professional bio for lessons in Hamburg

and surrounding areas or contact her directly.


7. Hackfleisch

Berlin: Tanya Doan

One of the first non-basic words I learned when I got here was “Hackfleisch” (minced meat, literally “chopped meat”) while at the supermarket. I am amused by the straightforwardness of the language and complete lack of subtlety. This word is darkly humorous to me and I will often have (silly, cartoonish) visions in my head of this word being acted out.

Berlin: Tanya Doan

Certified English Teacher / Mixed Media Artist

Have a look at Tanya’s teacher bio and artist home page. Please contact her for lessons in your area.


8. Nacktschnecke

Hamburg Carly Friedman

My favorite German words are for animals. They are so delightfully concise. For example, a raccoon is a Waschbär. It translates to washing bear. The word for slug is "Nacktschnecke". It directly translates to naked snail. The word for sloth is Faultier. It directly translates to lazy animal.

Certified English Teacher

Book lessons with Carly though her online teacher profile or follow her on social media.


9. Genau

Es ist „Genau", genau! In Germany, you hear this word all the time. The closest translation is "Exactly" but it's thrown around just like a general affirmative. I've even seen it as a question: "Genau?" for something like "I think so?"

Berlin: Matthew

Certified English Teacher

Matthew is a freelance English teacher with Speakeasy Language Academy. English lessons avaialable in Berlin and surrounding areas.



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