how to survive in Germany, Deutschland without cultural barriers, best and worst of Germany

Impossible to translate German words

Just came across an interesting list of words that are impossible to translate to other languages other than making a long explanation. These are the Germans:

Translated literally, this word means “gate-closing panic,” but its contextual meaning refers to “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.”


Quite famous for its meaning, which somehow other languages have neglected to emulate, this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune. I guess “America’s Funniest Moments of Schadenfreude” just didn’t have the same ring to it.

Here’s a Lithuanian joke about the situation. Two Lithuanians talking:

– Look, your neighbour’s house is on fire!

– Sadly not my brother’s.

I thought Lithuanians were the worst in Schadenfreude but Germans seem to have won cause they even have their own word for it.


[DRACH-ern-FOOT-er] While this word literally means “dragon fodder,” it refers to a type of gift German husbands bestow on their wives “when they’ve stayed out late or they have otherwise engaged in some kind of inappropriate behavior” – gifts like chocolates or flowers or a nice bottle of perfume.

More of untranslatable words from other languages.


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This entry was posted on January 5, 2014 by in Learning German and tagged , , , , , .
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