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10 German words we should all be using

1. Weltschmerz | World pain

A state of depression at how the world keeps falling short of expectations.

Example: After watching the news, all Megan could feel was Weltschmerz. She should stick to looking at Instagram pictures of Hawaii and throw away her TV.

2. Torschlusspanik | Gate-closing panic

The fear, as you are getting older, that time is running out and that you are missing out on important opportunities.

Example: Look at my Facebook feed: engagements, weddings, babies! I tell you, Torschlusspanik is starting to set in and I’m not liking it one bit.

3. Treppenwitz | Staircase joke

The witty comeback you should have said, but that you only thought of when it was too late (when you were in the stairwell on your way out).

Example: I’m writing down all the Treppenwitz I’ve thought of after spending time with snappy, nasty Emily. Maybe I could throw them right back in her face one day.

4. Bildungslücke | knowledge hole

The lack of a piece of information that must be known when reaching a certain age.

Example: Yes, I would say that not knowing how babies come into the world at age 21 is a pretty serious Bildungslücke.

5. Backpfeifengesicht | A face badly in need of a fist

Someone whose smurk and general attitude irritate you to the point of violence.

Example: Piers Morgan / Marine Le Pen / Kevin O’Leary is such a Backpfeifengesicht that I almost punched the TV last night.

6. Schadenfreude | Harm-joy

A feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the misfortunes of other people.

Example: My co-worker, the one who’s constantly brown-nosing the boss, is sick and won’t come to work for one full week. Boo-hoo.

7. Fremdschämen | Foreign shame

The embarrassement you feel when someone is making a fool of themselve.

Example: I could not help but feel Fremdschämen at the sight of Andrew walking around San Francisco with his “dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians” shirt.

8. Feierabend | Celebration evening

An evening of relaxation and drinks after a hard day’s work.

Example: Every night, from Monday to Friday, should be a Feierabend.

9. Fernweh | Farsickness

Feeling homesick for places you’ve never been to.

Example: A good traveler experiences Fernweh on a daily basis and the only remedy is to pack your bags and go somewhere new.

10. Reisefieber | Travel nerves

Travel-induced anticipation, excitement, and worry.

Example: You know you’ve a got a bad case of Reisefieber when you check that your passport is safely in your pack 10 times in the course of an hour.

Photo: Franziska Neumeister 

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