A long time ago I was at a German class and we where discussing "hard to translate words" and our teacher said there was one verb in German that stand for the action when people (usually in an Oktoberfest and after a few beers) raise their glasses and start to swing them sideways while singing out loud. She said this verb was schwiden or schwindel or schwindeln (I’m not sure which one). I searched for the 3 words but I could not verify any of them is the one I’m looking for.

As I don’t have any more contact with my former teacher, and never been to an Oktoberfest in Germany, can anyone please tell me if is there a verb used in the situation I described above?

  • 3
    Concerning the Oktoberfest, I'm thinking about "schunkeln". However, the meaning is to link arms with your neighbour and to rock to the left and right. The linking is not mandatory, the rocking is.^^
    – Chris
    Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 17:00
  • 1
    The drinking is optional, too
    – Emanuel
    Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 17:37
  • Schunkeln is the word I was looking for! @Chris, can you write an answer so that I can mark my question as answered?
    – gmauch
    Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 18:16

1 Answer 1


The word you are looking for is schunkeln.

Oftentimes people who schunkel link arms with their neighbours and rock rhythmically to the left and right. Although you will often see people holding their beer or so while schunkling, neither the drinking nor the linking arms is obligatory. The core of schunkling is the swinging/rocking to the music.


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