12 Creative German Insults You Must Know

If you’re done showering your share of compliments and wish to pick up German insults to use on your friends, look no further! German is a complex language, composed of innovative compound words. Consequently, these creative words pave the way for a plethora of hilarious

insults or beleidigungen in the German language. While learning a language, students are always curious about the swear words or insults and are eager to learn such terms as soon as possible. The distinct composition of compound words attributes to a rich vocabulary and this is also one of

the reasons why learning insults can be fun. Below is a guide to the funniest, most quirky German insults — Are you ready?


1. Gehirnvernweigerer — ‘Brain Holdout’

This innovative insult literally translates to ‘brain holdout’ or ‘brain denier’ i.e. a person who refuses to utilize their brain. Keep in mind that this is a feminine form of the work, while the masculine form is Verweignerner. This word can also be used in other ways in the German

language. For example, if you are an individual who refuses to use Facebook, you can be referred to as a Facebook Verweigerer.

Brain©/Luis Alves/Flickr

2. Arschegeiche — ‘Idiot’

The literal translation of this particular insult is ‘ass violin’. As the name suggests, this terms refers to an idiot or someone who is incapable of doing things right. Typically, most Germans refer to each other as an ‘Arschegeiche’ in a friendly manner or setting.


3. Erbsenzähler — ‘Pea Counter’

Another unique insult on the list, Erbsenzähler translates to ‘pea counter’! The English equivalent to this word is probably nitpicker, someone who pays attention to the small, insignificant details rather than the big picture. This pedantic individual can also be known as Paragraphenreiter,

someone who always plays by the books regardless of circumstance. The feminine form of this work is Erbenzählerin.

Pea Pod

4. Honk — ‘Stupid’

The definite origins of the insult, “Honk” are unknown, but the term is often used to refer to someone who is a complete idiot. Although this term has no German etymology or underlying meaning, rumors related to Otto Waalkes’ cartoon has done rounds. It said the famous German

Comedian brought to life a baby cartoon who had a prized possession — a teddy bear named Honk. Many others suggest that Honk is an acronym for either “Hirn one nenneswerte Kapazitat” (brain without noteworthy capacities) or “Hirnsloser one nenneswerte Kenntnisse” (brainless

without noteworthy knowledge).


5. Schluckspecht — ‘Guzzling woodpecker’

Yet another unique insult, this term literally translates to ‘guzzling woodpecker’ and is the German equivalent of calling someone a drunk or boozer. Interestingly enough if one were to rearrange a few words here and there, “Schuluckzpecht” becomes “Speckschlucht” which means

a “canyon of bacon”. This is not really an insult but a fun word nonetheless!

Guzzling Woodpecker
©/Peter Warne/Flickr

6. Brot kann schlimmen, was kannst du? — ‘Bread goes moldy, what can you do?’

It is a well-known fact that Germans really do love their daily bread and because of this routine consumption, this phrase comes up rather regularly in their conversations. This phrase is a jab against the intelligence of a person. Perhaps the English equivalent to this is ‘daft as a brush’.

Moldy Bread
©/Cassandra Sakamoto/Flickr

7. Heißluftgebläse — ‘Hot Air Gun’

A ‘hot air gun’ is someone who is a chatterbox. In reality, this person has very little or practically nothing of substance to say and add to the conversation, however, they won’t stop talking either. Another version of this insult is also ‘labertasche’. By referring to someone as a ‘laberstasche’,

you are basically drawing attention to the fact that they might a ‘babble bag’.


8. Kackbratze — ‘Complete Brat’

Take a guess as to what this word means. As the latter part of the name suggests, this insult is used to describe someone who is a complete brat or ‘Bratze’. Here’s a fun fact — Kackbratze is a particular favorite of Berlin comedian Kurt Krömer, who frequently uses the phrase “Na, du

alter Kackbratzel!” to bid someone hello! Such an individual can also be called a Rotzlöfell, or a ‘snot spoon’.

9. Spargeltarzan — ‘Asparagus Tarzan’

Most people are familiar with the phrase, ‘You are what you eat’. If you put this term into a German cultural context, the equivalent phrase would be “asparagus Tarzans”. The months between April and June are typically known as Asparagus or ‘Spargelzeit’ season. Surprisingly

enough, this term does not refer to as a vegetarian but rather a particularly skinny or bony person, similar to the shape of asparagus. Creative isn’t it?

White Asparagus
©/Michael Prior/Flickr

10. Bananenbieger — ‘Banana Bender’

This popular insult is commonly used to refer to an individual who is always engaged in pointless tasks or work. Someone who is incapable of concentrating or has little direction in life. The next time you spot someone who’s engaged in insubstantial work, refer to them as a ‘Bananenbieger’

or ‘Banana Bender’. It is important to remember that the feminine form of this term is ‘Bananenbiegerin’

©/Alexandr Tikki/Flickr

11. Dünnbrettbohrer — ‘Think plank driller’

Most Germans have a do-it-yourself-mentality and typically think of themselves as skilled handymen who don’t require expert skills. Honestly, why would you if you could do it yourself just as well for free? The term, Dünnbrettbohrer is most commonly used to describe a lad who lacks

popularity, ambition, and intelligence. He is thought of as a deadbeat – a person who could possibly get the job done, in a rather untactful manner, however.


12. Vollhorst / Otto — ‘Total Idiot’

This innovative insult is reserved for your particularly idiotic friends in embarrassing circumstances. Alternately, the following phrase can also be used — “Ich have much rum Vollhorst gemacht”. Typically, this would be used by a person who is ashamed and has made a

fool out of themselves. In German, “Horst” is a common first name for males and eventually became synonymous with “fool”. What follows is “voll” which translates to “total”. If you put the two together, the direct translation is a total, absolute or complete idiot. Recently, a second

common male first name “Otto” has had a similar trajectory of faith — If your name happens to be “Horst Otto”, you will typically be refried to as a SpaBbrense or a killjoy.

Idiot Graffiti
©/Anne Robertz/Flickr