Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've seen Quatsch! translated as Bullshit, which I was fine with as I had only heard it used among friends. Today, a university teacher used the Q-word in response to a student's serious suggestion in a somewhat professional setting.

How rude is Quatsch?

share|improve this question
@jae not necessarily. Imagine a student expressing the opinion that you should parse HTML using regular expressions for example. Or something else that is blatantly untrue, or an often-misquoted urban legend. Depending on the tone, "Quatsch" can then be just a very straightforward dismissal - but not necessarily rude. –  Pekka 웃 May 24 '11 at 22:16
I would usually translate "bullshit" to "Schwachsinn". –  balpha May 25 '11 at 8:10
So would Quatsch! be more akin to Crap! or Bullcrap!, perhaps? –  Kyralessa Jun 2 '11 at 3:03
I regurlarly use “Nee, Quatsch!” in front of students, however always because I said something stupid right before (e.g. “33 weniger 24 ist 8... Quatsch! 9!”). I wouldn't do it if I thought it'd be rude. –  cgnieder Apr 26 '12 at 18:52
is more like nonsense than bullshit. –  user2614 Mar 6 '13 at 22:11

5 Answers 5

up vote 99 down vote accepted

Quatsch is not vulgar at all and can be used in normal everyday speech to denote "nonsense":

Kinder machen Quatsch. (The children fool around in a harmless and funny way, e.g. making faces.)

But replying with "Quatsch!" might be perceived as offensive in the same way as "Nonsense!" would be in English - depending on the tone, facial expression and other situational factors.

Edit: If you're in Bavaria or in Austria, you could use the equivalent expression "Schmarrn!".

share|improve this answer
+1 for “nonsense”, that’s actually a very good translation! –  poke May 24 '11 at 21:06
I would like to emphasize on the relevance of the tone. Quatsch itself is more or less inoffensive, but using a loud and angry tone can make it quite offensive. That's probably quiet similar to the English nonsense. –  Koraktor May 24 '11 at 21:21
My grandmother used to become angry when I said "Quatsch" to her. The term was/is perceived as much more offensive by older people. –  Tomalak May 25 '11 at 11:54
+1 for Schmarrn :) ! –  Sebastian Jun 1 '11 at 11:57
In British English, I think "rubbish" would be more common than "nonsense"; but with that word too, the offensiveness depends on how you say it. –  Nick Dixon Jun 3 '11 at 10:42

Quatsch is not as strong as Bullshit.

In Germany you can use Ach, Quatsch for example if someone tells you some news you can hardly believe, and it won't be offensive at all. You may not want to use it in a very formal context.

share|improve this answer
true, a tiny little "ach" before makes it much less offensive. :) –  ladybug May 25 '11 at 12:35

Quatsch states that something is nonsense. In your described situation, it is not appropriate to say this to a student but it is not offensive.

It is the informal way to say: "This obviously does not make sense".

share|improve this answer

A more fashionable/sophisticated way of saying that is: "Quatsch Mit Soße". :)

share|improve this answer
+1 für das erwähnen der Herkunft. –  Vloxxity Feb 14 '13 at 8:03
This should be a comment. –  kelunik Nov 5 '13 at 20:19

Welcome to the university, where (like it or not) students' 'serious suggestions' are often utter bullshit, or rubbish, or what have you, and where professors (like it or not) are tasked with the responsibility not to be polite, but to formulate and express coherent, accurate thought.

Also, no, it doesn't mean 'bullshit.' It is more like saying, 'That's absurd!'

share|improve this answer

protected by Wrzlprmft Nov 20 '14 at 15:16

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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