During conversations with native German speakers, I have heard the word "krass" used in different contexts. But I still don't know how to translate it.

Any ideas?

  • 2
    My impression is that among the younger people (I would say under 30), krass can in fact replace almost any adjective. Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 13:00

6 Answers 6


"krass" is actually not such a new word as it's modern slang usage suggests. It is a loanword from Latin "crassus".

In general usage "krass" is used for extremes in either a positive or mostly a negative connotation:

Diese Aussage steht in krassem Gegensatz zu seiner sonstigen Einstellung.
Dies war ein besonders krasser Fall von Betrug.

From the 18. Century krass was also used by students, apparently first in the idiom

"Ein krasser Fuchs" - a young student with little experience in life

The Grimms wrote in their dictionary:

KRASS, plump, grob, derb, dann arg, schrecklich, fürchterlich, nach lat. crassus, doch vermengt mit grasz, gräszlich; ein in manchen kreisen beliebtes superlativisches kraftwort, bes. studentisch (krasser fuchs, kerl), seit ende 18. jh.

Only in recent years "krass" is also used in German youth slang with several meanings that have already been pointed out.

An appropriate translation can not be done without a context because of the so many different meanings "krass" can have.


"Krass" as a slang term can mean many different things from "cool" over "that's odd" to "what a pity". It depends on the situation. Colloquially it's an all purpose adjective, mainly used by young people. For emphasizing you can use it together with "voll".


"Gestern ist meine Mutter gestorben." (Yesterday my mother died.)
"Krass. Tut mir echt leid für dich." (What a pity. I'm so sorry for you.)

"Ich hab im Lotto gewonnen!" (I have won the lottery!)
"Voll krass! Glückwunsch." (Cool! Congrats.)

"Werner sah gestern komisch aus. Geht's ihm nicht gut? (Werner looked funny yesterday. Does he not feel well?) "Der ist in letzter Zeit krass drauf. Lass ihn am besten in Ruhe." (He behaves a little bit odd recently. Best to leave him alone.)

These are not the best examples, but I hope you get the idea.

  • 1
    The extreme overuse of "krass" was once (around the year 2000) connected to the language of second-generation immigrants from Turkey. The comedians "Erkan und Stefan" (themselves not immigrants) portrayed this stereotype (and maybe even shapred it to a degree) in sketches like this one: youtube.com/watch?v=AADuFU7Q0wU
    – 0x6d64
    Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 9:21

According to German wiktionary: (translations below each line)

[1] extrem, besonders intensiv
(extreme, very intense)
[2] (umgangssprachlich Ausruf der Überraschung)
(colloquial expression of surprise)


From the German rap songs that I've listened to, I think that krass could translate to the American slang word "sick."

For example:

That car is sick!

Das Auto ist krass!


It seems to be an exclamation of surprise or disbelief, sort of like "whoa!", "no way!", or "crazy!".

Of course its actual meaning is more like "intense" or "extreme" so you can use it as a regular adjective too.


Ich bezeichne solche Wörter als Kaugummiwörter. "krass/Das ist krass" kann negativ oder positiv sein und ist mehr eine wenig besagende Reaktion auf eine Mitteilung, die Verständnis und Anteilnahme ausdrückt und kaum großer Formulierungskunst bedarf, also ein recht billiger Kommentar, der sich aber trotzdem gut macht. Der Sinn, ob positiv oder negativ, ergibt sich aus der Situation und dem Inhalt der Mitteilung. "krass" ist Jugendjargon und passt nicht zu jeder Generation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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