Does German have a derogatory word, or expression, for someone who wears glasses?

  • 2
    Vierauge, anyone? – Crissov Mar 16 '16 at 9:23
  • 6
    Vierauge imo is just a translation from English and not really in use. – TaW Mar 16 '16 at 18:48
  • @TaW I don’t know a good corpus to check derogatory terms mostly used in oral language, so I cannot verify your second statement, but you may be right about it coming from four-eyes. Google Ngram (print corpus) – Crissov Mar 17 '16 at 8:14

"Brillenschlange" would be the only one I can think of that specifically refers to wearing glasses.

It literally translates to "spectacled snake", and it is the German name for the spectacled cobra, However, it is often used to refer to bespectacled people in a derogatory manner as well. Not much by anyone above age 10 though.

  • 6
    And I assume that it has been used very little in the last 30, now that eyeglasses are so common and a possible stigma associated with them is drifting out of the collective consciousness. – Carsten S Mar 16 '16 at 7:22
  • It depends on the thickness of the glasses and the age of the children. I still know this term from my childhood (25-20 years ago) – Iris Mar 16 '16 at 8:54
  • 1
    I also know the term "Brillenbär" for guys (with beard) – Iris Mar 16 '16 at 8:56

I found some on this site:

  • Dioptrienjunkie ... diopter junkie
  • Fensterfresse ... Window face (or window puss/kisser) or window gobbler as suggested by macmadness86 in his comment below!

Fresse is a derogatory word for Gesicht = Face.

Some would also ask somebody who wears glasses:

Wieso guckst du durchs Fenster? Komm doch rein ... why are you looking trough the window? Please come in!

  • Lupenprinz ... magnifier Prince
  • Nasenradler ... Nose cyclist

A bit off-topic as I don't recall it being a derogatory, but it came to my mind when reading the last expression:

It's widespread view that Brille = Nasenfahrrad in Berliner slang. But honestly I never heard it at the time I lived there!
But somewhere in the net I read this: Nasenfahrrad-Träger and I don't know it's origin nor whether it is considered a derogatory or not!


  • Brillenschlange (as already mentioned by David)

A derogatory from Austrian slang is apparently:

Glosscherbnbongo = (German) Glasscherben-Bongo ... glass fragment Bongo

An other derogatory that came into my mind is "Blindschleiche"= Blindworm which is a limbless lizard, but I'm not sure whether it is used in this context!

And one I have missed, but passed by in the search is the

  • Vierauge: four eye!

which Crissov has mentioned!

Generally one could say most of these expressions are used now very rarely, because as CarstenS quoted in his comment: eyeglasses are very common now.

  • 4
    Nice find. I especially like Fensterfresse :D – hiergiltdiestfu Mar 16 '16 at 8:12
  • 2
    Nasenfahrrad? Did you actually hear that? Otherwise do not believe everything that you read ;) – Carsten S Mar 16 '16 at 8:22
  • 1
    +1 for "Blindschleiche"... I've been called this before, too 8-) – Iris Mar 16 '16 at 8:57
  • 4
    @Carsten Pretty sure I've heard Peter Lustig say Nasenfahrrad on national TV. :D – hiergiltdiestfu Mar 16 '16 at 9:40
  • 3
    @Carsten S: I’m a natural-born Berliner and I know the word “Nasenfahrrad”, however, it’s just a word for the “Brille” and I never encountered anyone combining it with “-Träger”, most likely because it’s too long for a colloquial word. And since “Nasenfahrrad” is only a colloquial word for the object, not related to the person wearing it, it’s not a derogatory word. And you’ll rarely use it anyway, unless you’re a child, an actor playing in a Soap or a Taxi driver from Wedding or so… – Holger Mar 16 '16 at 14:09

I suggest the phrase

blind wie ein Maulwurf

see Wiktionary. Its is not really widely used and more focuses on substantial strength of the glasses.

  • 12
    I'd say at its heart the phrase is not even directly about the glasses, but about the eyesight per se being extremely poor. – hiergiltdiestfu Mar 16 '16 at 7:07

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