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25 hilarious German Compound Nouns you won’t want to miss

Oct 03, 2016

With plenty of grammatical rules (and exceptions) to get to grips with, German is known for being a challenging and complex language. That said, German linguists can also be surprised and delighted by the language. One example is compound nouns, where two words have simply been stuck together to create a new one.

We’ve complied some of the most entertaining common compound nouns…some of which are more literal than others.

German Word

Literal Translation

English Word

das Drachenfutter dragon fodder apology gift (given to a spouse)
das Erdferkel  earth piglet aardvark
das Faultier  lazy animal sloth
die Fledermaus flutter mouse bat
das Flugzeug fly thing aeroplane
der Glückspilz lucky mushroom lucky devil
die Glühbirne glow pear light bulb
die (pl) Handschuhe hand shoes gloves
der Kummerspeck sorrow bacon excess weight gained from comfort eating
der Ohrwurm ear worm catchy tune
das Meerschweinchen  little sea pig guinea pig
die Nacktschnecke  naked snail slug
die Naschkatze treat cat person with a sweet tooth
der  Pechvogel bad luck bird unlucky person
der Regenschirm rain shield umbrella
der Scheinwerfer  shine thrower headlight
die Schildkröte shield toad tortoise
das Stachelschwein spike pig porcupine
der Staubsauger dust sucker vacuum
das Stinktier stink animal skunk
der Tintenfisch ink fish Squid
der Vokuhila (vorne kurz, hinten lang) short front, long back mullet
die Warteschlange waiting snake queue
die Wunderkerze wonder candle sparkler
das Zahnfleisch tooth meat gum


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