Asking for regional German insults on the internet makes for a hilarious couple of days in one’s mentions. As expected, there was a wide breadth of creative names and insults ranging from variations on Arsch, ‘ass’, to comparisons to every kind of heavy and slow thing you can imagine. There’s not always a very specific meaning for some of these words – they are lost to the mists of time, and we can just marvel at how someone came up with them. Let’s dive into this deep and fertile sea of funny German insults!
- Germany’s favorite insults
- Insults around the Ruhr
- Never get between someone from Baden and someone from Swabia
- Most funny (and mild) Gemran insults
Germany’s favorite insults
They came up again and again: the Arsch insults. Universal and loved, calling someone something to do with an arse seems to bring German speakers together.
There is the famous Arschgeige, literally ‘arse violin’, which has nothing to do with string instruments but generally means arrogant jerk.
Arsch mit Ohren, literally ‘arse with ears’, is a German insult phrase you might yell at someone being jerk in traffic. It’s about being stupid. It looks like Haribo even made a limited edition candy based on that expression, so you know it is well loved.
Of course there are the standard Arschloch, literally ‘arsehole’, and Arschkrampe, meaning ‘pain in the arse’.
Insults around the Ruhr
The area around Düsseldorf, Essen, and Köln has been full of miners and industrial workers for a long time, and their insults are excellent.
My very favourite, and slightly old school, are Blödmannsgehilfe, literally ‘the idiot’s assistant’, and the most German insult ever, Blödmannsgehilfenanwärter, which translates to ‘the idiot’s assistant who has not completed their training yet’.
A Ruhr-specific ‘dumbass’ is a Heiopei, and you can call someone ugly by describing them as a Dreckschüppengesicht, literally someone with face like a dirt shovel.
Never get between someone from Baden and someone from Swabia
Interestingly, no one provided me with specific insults for someone from another region except for people from Baden and Swabia.
I’m sure those insults are out there, but apparently Badische folks call Swabians Sauschwob, and Swabians call Badische people Gelbfiasler.
Swabians use the adorable Dackel, ‘dachshund’, to describe someone who is not very smart. Grasdackel is a dachshund on grass, which is somehow stupider than a regular dachshund? But clearly, the most stupid of all is a Halbdackel, or half dachshund. I mean, obviously. If that’s not an insulting German word, what is?
Common German insults
Vollpfosten, literally ‘full post’, came up many times, and seems to line up with the English phrase ‘dumb as a post’. Vollkoffer, literally a ‘full suitcase’ or ‘total suitcase’, is a nice and short version of one of my favorite English expressions ‘basketcase’. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you think about it.
Finally, Vollhorst, literally ‘full Horst’, describes a brash and idiotic person and picked up steam with Horst Seehofer. Although not a ‘Voll’ insult, the name Kevin is shorthand for lower-class idiot in Germany, so an Alpha-Kevin is like a special, super idiot.
Most funny (and mild) German insults
There is a very large pile of words for insulting someone’s lack of courage. While I try not to go down this particular route of name-calling, they are, admittedly, pretty funny.
A Beckenrandschwimmer, literally ‘pool-side floater’, describes someone who swims by clinging to the side of the swimming pool. Warmduscher, literally a ‘warm showerer’, is someone who only takes warm showers (er, okay!).
A Sockenschläfer, literally ‘sock sleeper’, can’t handle cold feet at night and must sleep with socks on.
A Schattenparker, literally ‘shade parker’, carefully parks his car in the shade so it doesn’t get too hot.
And finally, this one is a favourite for sheer number of letters, the Handschuhschneeballwerfer, or ‘gloved snowball thrower’, because clearly you’re not tough unless you get frostbite while making snowballs.
Erin McGann is a Canadian freelance writer focusing on travel, living abroad, parenting, history, and culture. After nearly a decade living in the UK, Erin settled in Heidelberg, Germany with her husband and son. Dragging her family to every castle and open-air museum is a favourite activity, along with sewing, archery, and historical reenactment. You can check out her travel blog, and follow her obsession with half-timbered houses on her Instagram account.