German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My question comes from the proverb: "Morgen, morgen, nur nicht heute, sagen alle faulen Leute."

One implication is that lazy people don't want to do anything at ANY time.

Another is that even hardworking person might say, "Morgen, morgen, nur hicht heute," regarding a particular, unpleasant task, which would be procrastination. Or is there one word for "lazy" and another for "procrastination?"

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

"faul" is pretty much a 100% translation of lazy. It does not have a separate procrastinatory meaning.

The proverb refers to lazy peoples' habit of promising to do something "tomorrow" even though in the end, they never do it. Even though the same words might be used by a very busy person too, faul relates to laziness only.

share|improve this answer
I don't agree. "Prokrastination" only became a fashionable word in Germany over the last years. Before, there wouldn't be any difference made between "lazy" and "procrastinating". It both would have been expressed with "faul". – ladybug Jun 27 '11 at 9:00
@ladybug but Tom's question is whether "faul" has a "verschieben" meaning that is not connected to laziness, like when a very busy person postpones something to tomorrow. To which the answer is "no". Do you not agree? – Pekka 웃 Jun 27 '11 at 9:31
@ladybug: I agree with Pekka. And I wouldn't say Prokrastination in German; I'm not sure how many people would understand it. – Hendrik Vogt Jun 27 '11 at 10:00
ah, I see. Then I didn't understand the question right, sorry. @Hendrik Vogt: yes, I guess it only became popular in some rather "intellectual" magazins as a "fun fact"... – ladybug Jun 27 '11 at 11:31

Note that faul has two possible meanings:

  • lazy (people)
  • rotten (banana)
share|improve this answer
I am a software developer for a German company. My colleagues, when something is not working, say: Da ist was faul. – Giorgio Sep 15 '11 at 21:52

Apart from lazy another meaning of "faul" is translated by "foul" for rotten organic material.

That would also be the origin of "faul" when used for people - "Faule Leute" wait so long for their work to be done until they are rotten.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.