curse words in german

20 Popular Curse Words in German That Can Make You Friends (or Enemies)

It’s one of the first things you want to learn in any language, German or otherwise.

Knowing curse words in German can help you better understand and shimmy into casual, everyday conversation. Plus, it’s always good to know when someone isn’t being polite or friendly.

When it comes to vulgar terms, the German language doesn’t disappoint. For English speakers, many of the popular curse words can sound delightfully familiar.


1. Arsch — Ass

The not-so-polite term for one’s rear end. The appeal of this curse word is that it can be used in so many creative ways.

For example:

Arschloch — Asshole

Arschgeige — Ass-violin (lit.)

Arschgesicht — Ass-face

Arsch mit Ohren — Ass with ears (lit.)

All of these suggest that someone is contemptible and acting like an utter fool. I will admit, Arschgeige takes my vote as the favorite of the lot.

Arsch can also be included in phrases that clearly express you don’t care at all about a person’s opinion, such as:

Leck mich am Arsch. — Kiss my ass. (lit. “Lick my ass”)

Du hast wohl den Arsch offen. — You must be out of your mind. (lit. “You must have the ass open”)

Das geht mir am Arsch vorbei. — I don’t give a crap. (lit. “That goes past my ass”)

2. Blödsinn — Nonsense, BS

Blödsinn seems to be derived from the old word blödsinnig , meaning idiotic. It’s also more informal than Unsinn , the more socially acceptable German word with a similar meaning.

It’s a good choice to describe what you think is utter bunk and rubbish. Make sure to pronounce the umlaut in that ö, as any insult can lose its energy when misspoken!

Das ist doch Blödsinn! — That is utter nonsense!

3. Depp — Idiot

Is someone giving you a headache because of how much of a fool they are? Calling them Depp is a mean, albeit not too-terrible way to let them know. It’s often used teasingly among friends, so it shouldn’t deeply hurt feelings with its usage.

In truth, Depp actually encompasses a broad range of meanings (including “jerk” and “loser”), making it a rather flexible insult.

Das ist der falsche Weg, du Depp. — That’s the wrong way, you idiot.

4. Donnerwetter — Dang, Gosh, Shoot

Donnerwetter literally means “thunder weather” or “thunderstorm.” Typically, it works as a mild, politer expression of frustration or shock, quite like the English “Golly” or “Jeez.”

However, it can also become more aggressive and emotive when used in certain contexts. For example, Zum Donnerwetter basically means “Oh damn.”

Donnerwetter, ich bin spät! — Gosh, I’m late!

5. Dummkopf — Dumb head/Blockhead

A straight and to the point insult perfect for the resident dummy. It’s not very vulgar, sometimes even considered childish, so it probably won’t sway many German natives.

Warum trägst du ein T-Shirt? Es ist Winter, Dummkopf! — Why are you wearing a T-shirt? It’s winter, dummy!

6. Fick — F word

It sounds quite the same as its English translation, making it easy to remember. It’s also pretty much as offensive as its English counterpart, so make sure you really take care on when and how you use this one.

It’s commonly used within phrases, although sometimes one can shout Ficken or Fick just to express their anger. Here are a few other insults that utilize Fick:

Ficker — Fucker

Fick dich! — Fuck you!

Fick dich ins Knie! — Go fuck yourself! (lit. “Fuck yourself in the knee”)

7. Fotze — Female genitalia

Fair warning: this one is considered very vulgar, so I advise you not to use it liberally (and never to a woman!). It’s a rough equivalent to the English “c word.”

Amusingly, in regions of Bavaria and Austria, Fotze isn’t so vulgar and refers to either a slap on the face or muzzle. But no matter where you are, just to be safe, perhaps you just keep this word to yourself.

Pfui! Die Lehrerin ist ‘ne totale Fotze. — Ugh! The teacher is a total c***.

8. Geh zum Teufel — Go to hell/Screw you

It literally translates to “Go to the devil” and is used to passionately tell someone to back off or to express your anger at some miscreant. Alternatively, you could say Fahr zur Hölle , which more closely means “Go to hell.”

Personally, I prefer Geh zum Teufel as it sounds a bit more wicked and rolls off the tongue quite easily.

Geh zum Teufel, du Arschloch! — Go to hell, you asshole!

9. Hackfresse — Shitface

A very mean way to call someone unattractive. It’s derived from Hackfleisch (ground meat) and Fresse  (a crude term for the face or mouth).

So, Hackfresse basically means “face like minced meat,” an unfortunately apt way to express your disdain for someone’s appearance.

Du brauchst eine Maske, Hackfresse. — You need a mask, shitface.

10. Halt die Klappe — Shut your trap

Halt den Mund is already a rather rude way to tell someone to be quiet. Halt die Klappe has a more crude edge that really expresses your intolerance of a person’s constant yapping.

If you want to take it a step further, you may say Halt die Fresse or Halt die Schnauze —both of these are more vulgar and aggressive.

Du bist so laut! Halt die Klappe! — You are so loud! Shut your trap!

11. Hure — Whore

A very not nice thing to say to any lady, so don’t be surprised if she’s compelled to give you a slap in the face as a result. Somewhat like Arsch, Hure can also be attached to a few other nouns to make the insult more specific.

Hurensohn — Son of a whore

Hurenkind — Child of a whore (bastard)

Another word with a similar meaning is Nutte , although Hure and its negative meaning is probably easier to remember.

Bleib weg von mir, du Hure! — Stay away from me, you whore!

12. Kacke — Crap

Derived from the verb kacken  (to poop), Kacke is a less offensive term for “shit.” It’s not so bad to use, definitely less impactful than the eminent Scheiße (which is coming up on the list).

That doesn’t mean it can’t be used in fun ways. It can be utilized in different verb formations and carry a bit more negative power, such as:

Geh kacken! — Screw off!

Robert hat sich eingekackt — Robert crapped his pants

Sie hat voll abgekackt — She totally screwed up

Wow, diese Party ist voll Kacke. — Wow, this party is complete crap.

13. (Der) Mist — Dung, crap

No, you’re not pointing out foggy weather conditions. Der Mist refers quite literally to dung or manure. By itself, it’s a mild interjection typically used to express frustration at little mistakes.

It’s toned down enough so that you won’t be graced with finger-wagging from most German naives. However, if you combine it with a noun, it can become pretty nasty.

For example:

Mistkerl — Bastard

Miststück — Bitch

Oh, Mist! Ich habe meine Fahrkarte verloren. — Oh, crap! I lost my ticket.

14. Sau/Schwein — Pig

In English, we have certain animals we like to use as the basis of insults, such as dog or ass (donkey). In German, the pig is a common animal of derision.

Sau (sow) and Schwein (swine) are two words that you can use to express your scorn or distaste towards a person who’s filthy or lazy. They can also be added to other words to amplify their derogatory meaning.

Drecksau — Filthy swine

Schweinehund — Bastard

Saumensch — Sow person (for girls) 

Saukerl — Sow wretch/bastard (for boys)

15. Scheiße — Shit

The all-time favorite of German natives, it’s probably the most frequently used curse word used by everyone (children included, even if they shouldn’t).

It’s also conveniently flexible in its usage, capable of being its own interjection or combined with other words for some very expressive profanity.

Stück Scheiße — Piece of shit

Erzähl mir keinen Scheiß! — Don’t bullshit me!

Das ist mir Scheißegal! — I don’t give a shit!

Geh scheißen! — Get lost! (lit. “Go shit”)

Scheißtyp — Shit head

Oh Scheiße! Heute ist Montag… — Oh shit! Today is Monday…

16. Schlampe — Slut

Like Hure, this isn’t one that you should ever say to a woman. It’s related to the adjective schlampig, which more innocently means “sloppy” or “careless.”

So next time you want to call out a woman who doesn’t tidy up her house well, do take care that she understands what exactly you’re implying about her.

Das ist mein Freund, Schlampe. — That is my boyfriend, slut.

17. Verdammt — Damn, Damn it

Like the English damn, verdammt isn’t too bad of a curse word. It can be used to add more oomph to an emotive statement, whether it’s one of rage or delight.

In certain contexts, it can be better translated to the intensifier English “fucking.”

Verdammt noch mal! — Damn it all!

Du verdammter Idiot! — You damn idiot!

Verdammte Scheiße! — Fucking hell! (lit. Damn shit!)

Wo ist die verdammte Fernbedienung? — Where is the damned remote control?

18. Verpiss dich — Piss off

Another one of those convenient curse words with a meaning you’d know at first glance. The dictionary form would be sich verpissen .

Since it’s a reflexive verb, make sure you don’t forget that pronoun so the poor recipient of the insult doesn’t forget that you’re talking to them.

Wenn du keinen Streit willst, dann verpiss dich. — If you don’t want a fight, then piss off.

19. Was zur Hölle? — What the hell?

Like its English translation, this is more of a personal interjection and less of a directed insult. However, it can also emphasize one’s anger and disbelief at a person’s actions. To hark back to Geh zum Teufel, you may also say Was zum Teufel for similar effect.

Was zur Hölle machst du hier? — What the hell are you doing here?

20. Wichser — Wanker

A derogatory term to describe a crude and unpleasant person, typically a man. Wichser is derived from the verb wichsen, which means “to beat” or, more directly, “to masturbate.”

Calling someone a Wichser doesn’t necessarily have to carry sexual connotations—rather than a pervert, you may just think he’s a complete numbskull.

Er ist so ein Wichser. Sprich nicht mit ihm. — He is such a wanker. Don’t speak to him.


You might want to wash your mouth out with soap after this post!

Although many Germans are no stranger to cussing on the daily, that doesn’t mean you can start becoming a potty-mouth.

It’s better that you know what these curse words mean more than you use them! It might take some effort, but you don’t want to genuinely offend a German person.

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