9 Made-Up Words That Perfectly Describe The Human Condition
Grammar

9 Made-Up Words That Perfectly Describe The Human Condition

By

There’s something so satisfying about a good German word. As The Awl entertainingly demonstrated with their spot-on “There Oughta Be a German Word For This” column, German words somehow define complex human emotions in a way that English words often can' or don't. Must be all those awesome suffixes.

Ben Scott (of Schott’s Miscellany fame) has a new book out this week with 120 new German words perfectly tailored to plug your linguistic holes. They range from the practical (Scheidungskreidekreisprove: the distribution of friends after a divorce) to the morbid (Insterblichkeitstod: intimations of mortality when your last surviving parent dies), but mostly they just do a bang-up job of reminding us how inadequate the English language really is.

Some favorites:

Herbstlaubtrittvergnügen

hairbst-laowb - tritt-fair-gnuu-ghen

Definition: "Kicking through piles of leaves"

Literal Translation: Autumn-Foliage-Strike-Fun

Why we love it: Because let’s be honest, that leaf-crunching sound indicates that at least a miniscule bit of warmth still lingers in the air. 

 

Erkenntnisspaziergang

air-kent-niss - shpah-tseer-gahng

Definition: "A perambulation taken with the specific intention of contemplation"

Literal Translation: Cognition-Stroll 

Why we love it: There’s already a word for this in French (flâneurie) but one term simply cannot satiate the hordes of sad young literary men who prowl the city at night, searching for grand inspiration. 

 

Irreaffentittenturbosuperdupertyp

ihr-reh-ahf-fen - tit-en - toor-boh - zoo-per-doo-per - toop

Definition: "Simpatico"

Literal Translation: Mad-Monkey-Tits-Turbo-Super-Duper-Guy

Why we love it: No explanation necessary.


r-o-e-t/Flickr

Mahlneid

mahl-nide 

Definition: "Coveting thy neighbor's restaurant order" 

Literal Translation: Meal-Envy 

Why we love it: The lobster mac and cheese sounded horrifyingly fatty when you read it on the menu, but now that your date has it, it just looks freaking delicious. 

 

Dornhöschenschlaf

dorn - hoos-sh'yen - shlahf

Definition: "Feigning sleep to avoid unwanted sexual intimacy" 

Literal Translation: Thorny-Lingerie-Sleep 

Why we love it: I have never done this, but surely some people have, and they must need a word for such behavior.

 

Scwiegermutterkurvenlanghals

shvee-gher-moot-ter - kuhr-fen - lahng-hahls 

Defintion: "The morbid urge to slow down and stare at a road accident" 

Literal Translation: Mother-In-Law-Bend-Long-Neck 

Why we love it: Also called Gaper Delay, Rubber-necking, and/or Being That Asshole Who Made My Premiums Skyrocket.

 

Extrawursttagsgefühl

ex-tra-voorst-tahgs - ghe-fuul

Defintion: "An irrational sensation of specialness on your birthday" 

Literal Translation: Bonus-Sausage-Day-Feeling 

Why we love it: It isn’t irrational at all. After all, it’s your BIRTHDAY. But still, it's nice to have a phrase to toss at some other assclown who thinks he/she is special for having been born, just like the rest of us were.


 

Schlafchauvi

shlahf - shoh-vee

Definition: "One who takes pride in getting little sleep" 

Literal Translation: Sleep-Macho 

Why we love it: These people are just as bad as the folks who say things like “Oh, I must have forgotten to eat lunch.”

 

Rollschleppe 

rohl-shlep-puh 

Definition: "The exhausting trudge up a stationary escalator" 

Literal Translation: Escalator-Schlep 

Why we love it: Because, for unknown reasons, it’s harder than walking up a flight of steps. 

 
Images via Shutterstock.com 

 

Loading Related Articles...
Culture

More articles tagged as

Article Tools