After enduring the darkest winter in 43 years and floods from record-setting rains, the country has just experienced its worst hit yet.
Worse even than the great Nutella heist in which a 5 ton shipment of Nutella was stolen on its way to store shelves.
(Thieving Nutella is like snatching peanut butter sandwiches out of the hands of hungry kindergartners…
Germans can’t function without their daily dose of the chocolate-hazlenut spread.)
But now… the worst has happened.
Germany has lost its longest word.
Why, you ask?
Because it was outlawed.
It means: Law on the transfer of monitoring duties for labeling beef.
Of course it does. What else would it mean?
At 63 letters, it beats out the longest word in English (pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis) which boasts a mere 45 letters.
So why is Rind…whatever-the-heck-it-is no longer the longest?
It has to do with a law created to protect consumers from mad cow disease. The European Union repealed the law, hence the word is now defunct.
Fortunately, there is a solution. The reason Germans have such long words is because theystickabunchofsmallerwordstogether to make one big one. They call them tapeworm words.
So the hunt is on to find Germany a new longest word.
We are now taking nominations!
Click here if you want to find out how the last word to hold the honor was pronounced.
Can’t think of any? Click here to see 8 more ridiculously long German words.
I’m going to be in a lot of trouble when I move back to the U.S. from Germany. You see…to an English speaker, some German words just don’t sound quite right. Like, for instance, this one:
No, I’m not calling anyone a bad name. This is the name of a town on the Rhine River. According to my German dictionary, those first three letters mean Ace. Kind of gives a new meaning to phrases like “Ace in the hole,” “Having an Ace up one’s sleeve” or “Holding all the Aces,” doesn’t it?
Here is another not-so-bad-as-it-sounds word:
Would you be offended it I said “Gute fahrt!” to you? Don’t be! It means “Have a good trip!” Fahrt refers to a ride, journey, or trip. Gasse is the word for alley. The above picture is of a street sign in Heidelberg, Germany. Sorry to disappoint you … this is not a place to go after you’ve eaten too many German sausages.
Then there’s this word:
The literal meaning of this word is “thick.” I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about that. The above sign is from Esslingen, Germany. It’s the name of a shopping center located inside an old factory of the same name. The company specialized in making butcher’s knives and tools. For some strange reason, this company was never successful in the American market. Perhaps they just don’t understand how we react to seeing this:
More like this:
Perhaps I’m a bit juvenile, but as an English speaker, certain German words give me pause. They just don’t mean what I think they should.
As I struggle to learn this new language, I find that because these words jump out at me, I’ve learned their meaning a lot quicker than I would have otherwise. Unfortunately, to other English speakers, my limited German vocabulary makes me sound like I have a bit of a foul mouth…
Five Funny German Words
Fahrt – As a traveler, I see this word frequently. I’m particularly entertained by signs that say Gute (Good) Fahrt or Über Fahrt. But the word does not mean what I think it does. Fahrt is German for ride, trip, or path. Often, it’s part of a bigger word, such as Ausfahrt, which you’ll see if you drive on the Autobahn…it refers to an exit ramp. (Alas…I think I’ll always get a kick out of Gute Fahrt).
Hell – If your mother-in-law walks into your house and says, “It’s hell in here,” don’t worry, she might not be insulting you. Hell is the German word for bright or light (Of course, if she doesn’t know that…).
Schmuck – You will often see this word on store windows. It doesn’t mean the shop is peddling your old boyfriends. Schmuck is the German word for jewelry. (Perhaps if your old boyfriend had given you Schmuck, you wouldn’t think of him this way).
Rathaus – This word is German for Town Hall. It’s a house where politicians hang out. I think this word is particularly appropriate now that election time is upon us once again.
Groß – The strange letter at the end of this word is the German way of writing a double ‘s’. This word is pronounced gross. The double meaning of this word has led to a popular joke: A woman sees a man peeing on a building. She exclaims, “Oh, gross!” The man tells her, “Thank you.” I think you can guess the meaning…