4

I was once talking to 2 people about politicians and I said:

Sie sind Vollidioten.

They were pretty surprised that I used that expression. I couldn't understand completely what they said about it. So the question just like the title is: How vulgar or strong is this term?

Is it like a curse or something?

  • 7
    Were you careful not to have your company think you were talking about them? Sometimes it is safer to use Die instead of Sie, particularly in speech: Die sind Vollidioten. – Michael Dec 16 '15 at 19:19
  • Coming from somebody who tries: I seriously dislike politicians-bashing as long as people don’t try to do it themselves. – Jan Dec 17 '15 at 23:31
  • It depends on the ego of addressed persons :) For my person really harmless.. It would even be very charming with an american accent :) – user19546 Dec 21 '15 at 18:42
9

It is not that vulgar but a serious insult.

A Vollidiot is a "complete idiot" with quite an amount of emphasis, never to be used in any kind of formal environment.

Idiot by itself has about the same meaning as in English, but the Voll part intensifies it considerably. When used in person with the more formal Sie it may be seen as an actionable insult.

You may hear this (along with Volltrottel, Vollkoffer) between people who know each other well (even between friends) - in this case it is a mild form of criticism, necessarily accompanied by Du).

  • 4
    Ist Vollkoffer das neue Vollpfosten? – Crissov Dec 16 '15 at 21:31
  • 1
    Neu? not really - we used it in school and I am beyond 60 :-) -- drückt aber beides das Gleiche aus. – guntbert Dec 16 '15 at 22:30
  • 1
    Ich habe Vollkoffer noch nie gehört. Vollpfosten aber kenn ich. – Iris Dec 17 '15 at 7:13
  • Okay, dann wohl eher andersrum. Ich kannte es nicht, kann aber natürlich auch regional sein. Vollpfosten habe ich erst nach 2000 und damit nach meiner Schulzeit erstmalig gehört. – Crissov Dec 17 '15 at 7:37
  • @Crissov Hier steht, dass Vollkoffer ein hauptsächlich österreichischer Begriff ist. Vielleicht wurde aber auch Vollkoffer von Vollpfosten abgelöst. Ich kenne Vollpfosten aus meiner Schulzeit (was zum Jahr 2000 passen würde) – Iris Dec 17 '15 at 12:44
2

There may be stronger terms you could use, but the act of insulting somebody is pretty vulgar in itself, irrespective of the specific language used.

In Germany insulting somebody counts as a criminal misdemeanor, and people have been punished with fines up to 1000 Euros for calling others a "Vollidiot".

http://www.op-online.de/region/frankfurt/offenbach-vollidiot-kann-tausend-euro-kosten-3304180.html

The law is mostly enforced when the addressee has an official function (police officers, civil servants etc), but in theory applies to everybody. So I would refrain from using it.

  • Good to know and to take into account. I know that direct offense might be really bad in Germany, but it's good to know how strong or offensive are certain expressions regularly used. – Charlie Dec 21 '15 at 18:28
  • There are more skilful possibilities to offend politicians, you can simply cite, what they say. (Volker Pispers) – user19546 Dec 21 '15 at 18:49
  • It's about as strong or offensive as "total idiot" would be in English. – Frederik Kaster Dec 21 '15 at 18:53
  • @Vienna: What is Volker Pispers? I don´t find it in dictionary. – Charlie Dec 22 '15 at 10:28
  • I think, he wouldn't fit into any dictionary :) (youtube.com/watch?v=n4H_E8b-qmo) – user19546 Dec 22 '15 at 11:14

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