10 of the Funniest German Insults You Need to Know

Tübingen, Germany
Tübingen, Germany | © maxmann / Pixabay
Photo of Alice Dundon
30 May 2018

Learning German isn’t easy. The language is infamous for its incredibly long words and is often referred to as harsh or vulgar-sounding. However, German actually has a certain charm to it and, when it comes to insults, the Germans know how to throw a punch that’ll probably only hit your funny bone. Here are the funniest German insults you need to know.

Brot kann schimmeln, was kannst du? – ‘Bread goes mouldy, what can you do?’

Germans really love their bread, so it comes up rather regularly in their dictum. This little jab is supposed to offend the intelligence of the recipient. In English, we’d probably say ‘daft as a brush’.

A basket of German bread | © Marco Verch / Flickr

Arschgeige – ‘Idiot’

Also translating to ‘a**hole’ or ‘ass violin’, this insult doesn’t need much explaining, it’s hilariously mean.

Erbenzähler – ‘Pea counter’

A pea counter is someone who focuses on the small, insignificant details rather than the big picture. In English, we’d call this person a nitpicker, or in some cases a backseat driver.

Du bist dümmer als sein Schwein hoch hüpft! – ‘You’re sillier than a pig’s jumping height!’

This long-winded quip lets someone know you don’t think much of their intelligence. Mean? A little, but it also puts an adorable and funny image in your head.

Two Dalmatian piglets playing | © Tambako The Jaguar / Flickr

Heißluftgebläse – ‘Heat gun’

Heißluftgebläse, or a heat gun, refers to a chatterbox, also known as a Labertasche, or bigmouth; someone who talks a lot but never says anything of substance.

Ameisentätowierer – ‘Ant tattooist’

Similar to a pea counter, an ant tattooist is someone who is very pedantic. You know, those people who always need to do everything by the book and focus on the tiny details? Well, to Germans they’re as annoying as trying to tattoo an ant.

Up-close image of two fire ants | © Pison Jaujip / Flickr

Niemand hat die null gewählt! – ‘Nobody dialled zero!’

Basically, a really long way to say ‘shut up’, this phrase needs a bit of unpacking. Back in the day, one would dial zero to connect to an operator, and this insult is letting you know that nobody asked for your help or opinion.

Schluckspecht – ‘Guzzling woodpecker’

Literally translating to ‘guzzling woodpecker’, this is the German equivalent to calling someone a drunk.

Pileated Woodpecker | © Fyn Kynd / Flickr

Du bist so schlau wie drei Meter Feldweg! – ‘You’re as smart as a three-metre dirt path!’

The literal translation of this phrase is confusing, but a similar insult in English would be, ‘you’re as dull as dishwater’. It’s a very roundabout way of calling someone stupid or uninteresting.

Zimtzicke – ‘Cinnamon goat’

Does anyone really know what a cinnamon goat is exactly? Probably not, but in German this phrase best translates to ‘dimwit’ and is reserved for particularly insulting moments. It’s equivalent to calling someone a ‘b**ch’ in English.

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