[What’s German?] Let’s face it, you just want to know how to swear!

There’s a few ways to be mean in German, presumably like any language. Creativity is key to being effective at making someone feel like a freshly-squeezed turd, but obviously there are better ways to handle unpleasant individuals.

When I learned German, by which I mean, when I took it unto myself to learn German, I didn’t want to deal much with the profane side of the language, because I was gradually gathering a fair bit of respect for the language, and I felt kind of dirty at the idea of learning all these vulgar things. In retrospect, I probably should’ve learned them sooner. Why? Because it goes both ways.

To avoid leaving a blank expression on your face when someone insults you, check out these rude things to say to someone in German:

Geh weg!

The classic for when you want someone to sod off, as it fairly literally means, “go away.” Geh von mir sofort weg is a personal favorite, although I’m not 100% sure it’s bang on the monies, but it should be. There is of course a politer way of requesting (rather than demanding) that someone leave you be, such as “gehe bitte weg”, and then proceed to give a reason. If you say this, try not to pick the ugliest, most disrespectful tone of voice that you have, because it may come off as rude—jus’ sayin’.


Such an oldie. This was one of the first things I learned in German, long before I ever delved into German’s innards. Essentially, it’s like our arsehole, or asshole if you’re American, old bean. You have the hole [das Loch] and the arse [der Arsch] which is probably not the most eloquent way of describing the glutius maximus. What can I say, Hinterloch just doesn’t have the same ring to it, although it does sound amusing; I think I may have to keep that in mind!

Du kotzt mich an!

You make me sick. No, not you, but that’s what this little tidbit means. It’s kind of strong, as you might have guessed. I suppose you could also use this for when something makes you sick. Das kotzt mich an, for example—should work. The verb is das Kotzen and can be translated as anything from puke to vomit, but generally means the prompt exit of disgusting bits and pieces from within.

Fick dich! / Verpiss dich!

I’m showing both of these because I think they are both important to highlight. Although fick dich is supposedly more literal and actually is rather x-rated, it’s still occasionally used, or at least, it was at one point to me years ago while playing a game online. I presume one of two things: either it was a kid who didn’t realise how inappropriate it was, or it wasn’t a German person and funnily enough had no idea how inappropriate it was.

As for verpiss dich, well, for some unusual reason, Germans enjoy telling people to go piss themselves. Sich verpissen is the syntax and essentially means anything from bugger off to piss off. This usage is the appropriate one when you don’t want to assume a closer relationship with someone.

Schwul / Schlampe

The first word means gay, and before you send the lynch mob after me, note that I’m only telling you about this word in-case someone uses it against you in a derogatory way, which is very, very likely. I had this said to me a long time ago but didn’t understand what they mean until a long time later, so hopefully now that won’t happen to you!

schwul sein essentially means to be homosexual, not to be confused with the now-dated usage of the word gay, which would probably match up to something like fröhlich or bunt. These words are all adjectives, so keep them in mind when forming a depressingly-weak insult usually conjured up by a child.

I should probably point out that the word for muggy, schwül, has a completely different, almost exaggerated difference of pronouncation, presumably to avoid confusion. You do not want to say it’s a homosexual day today, do you? Well, if you do, that’s fine! You just say, “Es ist heute schwul!” Good look fending off them boys. Oo-er!

If you happened to be curious as to what some German people might call a female in a less-than-colorful manner, then fear not! For I shall unburden you of your curiosity. Schlampe can be translated to anything from slut to bitch; not a very pleasant word.

Keep in mind that words like these probably have different connotations to a German native, so while slut is pretty horrible a word for me, it might be diddly-squat to someone else, much as it probably is with any language.

Leck mich am Arsch!

I learned this one with a tremendous amount of glee, as I finally knew how to politely request that people kindly take their tongue and lick my arse-crack—eew. So, leck comes from the verb lecken, which means to lick, as far as I know, but it seems to have a number of vulgar meanings, so I would treat it very carefully when using such a word normally. I’m sure you know by now what Arsch is.

I hope that entertained your secret desire to insult somebody helped you in the event that someone should insult you. Feel free to add your own insults below, although preferably not directed at me, because, you know, that’d be rude!

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