What's the best way to refer to a penis in a casual, but not necessarily overtly sexual, way, akin to saying dick in English?

Take for example this sentence from the autobiography of Ice-T:

I had a catheter up my dick and I just lay there [...] with my whole shit exposed.

I feel confident that no one would expect Ice-T to refer to his male member as a penis while recounting his “gangster life,” especial when the phrase fucked up follows shortly afterwards. I would also not expect anyone to imagine he has its sexual function in the forefront of his mind (he may be concerned for it on a sexual level, but a body in pain is first of all a body in pain, and not an apparatus in pain).

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    Regarding the discussion @Grantwalzers answer below: seems we need a bit more context - what do you need the expression for?
    – Stephie
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 6:48
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    It seems you need to add a criterion for people here to able to guess what you mean by best way. Otherwise it is gonna cause endless discussion and time-wasting. So I vote closing (as for now).
    – c.p.
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 9:24
  • @Takkat If you meant penis: The title is > Colloquial expression for penis Do you consider penis colloquial? If you meant Penis: I'd like for you to tell me if it can be used; that's why I asked. Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 20:50
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    @Takkat Where did I ask for the German translation of penis? I merely referred to the object with that word, as it is the most generic term for it. As to your objection to what I actually asked, I would love a long list of words that fit my question, but, so far, I haven't found a single word that I can confidently place on that list. Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 23:31
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    @Stephie I don't need it for anything. I'd like to know the answer for personal enrichment. Id' like to know the best way to refer to a penis in German in a casual, but not necessarily overtly sexual, way so that I will then know the best way to refer to a penis in German in a casual, but not necessarily overtly sexual, way. Commented Jan 17, 2015 at 19:44

7 Answers 7


The vulgar expression dick pretty much corresponds to

Schwanz (tail)

A less vulgar option (although slightly more context is needed) is

(jemandes/sein) Ding (someone's/his thing)

  • No, I wasn't allowed to use 'vulgar' words in the title. Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 3:56
  • Can Schwanz also have a purely descriptive, non-sexual, aspect to it? Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 4:04
  • @user1076174 That depends on how you define non-sexual, but it's unlikely. Descriptive <---> scientific <-/-> colloquial.
    – user6191
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 4:56
  • Well, rod is a much more descriptive word than <---/---> the more "scientific" 'erect penis,' and it's <------> colloquial, but since it describes an erection, it's necessarily sexual. A dick can be either flaccid or erect, allowing it to have a purely descriptive, non-sexual, aspect to it, in certain situations. Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 5:23
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    This answer is correct, but not complete. I don't know how to make it complete without going into the vulgar direction. (Is "Pimmel" vulgar? "Tito Pimmel" isn't, but it refers to a meal where the meat is formed like a penis.) Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 8:12

One could add the following:

  • Der Schniedel … tallywacker

  • Der Pullermann/Pillermann … pee-pee

which are usually used for the penis when talking to (and about) kids.

You may also use:

  • Der Piepmatz … which normally refers to a bird (I don't recall having heard of it, but it appears as a synonym of penis here where you may find other synonyms!)

  • Der Schaft … shaft

  • Die Rute … rod (but i usually heard this use in case of animals like dogs)

  • Der Dödel … putz (I also never heard it in this context, but found it on the link mentioned above!)

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    As you say, these terms are only used in certain contexts, so don’t really qualify as “casual, but not necessarily overtly sexual”. Anyway, we now have collected most synonyms listed at Open Thesaurus and Wiktionary on this page. Lümmel, Nudel, Prengel, Schwengel and Zipfel are also frequent in some places, also Johannes in the saying An der Nase eines Mannes erkennt man seinen …
    – Crissov
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 7:04
  • Pimmel we must not omit. And too bad Gemächt isn’t exactly colloquial (maybe when used scherzhaft).
    – dakab
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 7:36
  • @Medi1Saif: No, why?
    – dakab
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 7:51
  • @dakab as i didn't use any of the words in my post and Pimmel already is quoted by Hubert
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 7:53
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    @Medi1Saif: The comment was supposed to add to or suggest addition to your answer. Useful answers to topics like this one usually have to be extensive, and that certainly does not rule out mentioning a word that already was given in another answer.
    – dakab
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 9:01

If you want to refer to a penis in a casual, but not necessarily overtly sexual way, in German language, you might use the word

der Penis.

This is a latin word and means "tail" in English or "Schwanz" in German. It was used by ancient romans as a dirty word and was started to be used as "official" word in medicine in 19th century, and from its medical use it was imported into english as well as German as a word to name this organ in a serious way. In german it can be used in a casual way too.

The German Word, that is (almost) free of sexual connotation is

das Glied.

often also

das männliche Glied.

But »Glied« is rarely used in colloquial talk.

Also the German translation of the latin word penis is used in German to name the male organ. This word is

der Schwanz.

I think, that »Schwanz« is the most used German word for the penis. It has a sexual connotation, but it is not so strong as in the most other alternatives. And therefore I think, that of all German alternatives »Schwanz« has the greatest similarities to dick.

Another word with a similar degree of sexual connotation is

der Pimmel.

But, as I did notice, Schwanz is more often used than Pimmel, but there might be great regional differences, and also differences that come from the social status.


Firstly, any word for the male (or female, for that matter) genitals will entail a degree of vulgarity because sex is considered a taboo topic in most cultures, even if it is much less so in some than others. This leads to the use of euphemisms such as e.g. sex organ(s)/Geschlechtsteil, member, manhood, etc.: Generally, the more direct the reference, the more vulgar it is. Penis has escaped a degree of this vulgarism due to its placement in a high register of English (and German), which coincides with its Latinate origins (many things have a "fancier" Latinate word and a corresponding "dirtier"/more "casual" Germanic word referring to it).

As stated above, knowing Ice-T (not personally, of course), I would say that a "German" Ice-T would very much use the word Schwanz in the given context. Alternatively, Pimmel is slightly "sillier" while still being mildly vulgar. However, just like the word dick in English, both Schwanz and Pimmel can be used either in sexual or non-sexual contexts and are also both vulgar but only mildly so.


Two words that haven’t been mentioned yet but I like pretty much:

  • Zipfel

  • Schwengel

However, I feel that they may even be less offensive than Schwanz which would admittedly be a better choice here from what I hear.


If it's a close friend, you might start a little bit of humerous conversation until it's ok to bring in terms that you would use non-offensively on strangers too. I guess if your communication is anywhere close to formal, you wouldn't even want to talk about these kinds of things, unless necessary.

But as a straight-forward word, I'd recommend to you "Genital"

Wie lange littest du an dem Syndrom, das Reizungen an deinem Genital verursachte?

Otherwise, there's some anti-serious videos on YouTube counting tens of words for whatever giggle-term out there.


Rarely used expressions are also "Fleischpeitsche" (meat whip), "Kronjuwelen" (crownjewels) or "Schniepi".

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    In my understanding, Kronjuwelen refers to the testicles or the male genitalia as a whole – not just to the penis. The other ones do not fit into the context presented by the question.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 17:23

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