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What‘s the German equivalent of the English word noob as often used in computer or Internet speak?

Do note, that I’m not looking for a word that simply corresponds to novice or newcomer in everyday situations, such as Neuling or Anfänger but for a word whose use is often limited to computer and Internet speak, and is on par with the English noob.

  • 10
    I feel like there's a good backstory to this one :P – Bryant Jackson May 22 '17 at 13:38
  • 3
    Not enough for an answer, therefore here as comment: I always found that the TV series Scrubs had a very good German localization. Specifically, Dr. Cox calling JD "newbie" was translated into German as Flachzange, which are literally flat pliers. I never heard it in use before but it fits just perfectly, somehow. – Ian May 23 '17 at 6:35
  • You can't really use Flachzange that anywhere else though, it's idiosyncratic. – Felix Dombek May 23 '17 at 7:24
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    Also, Flachzange does not connote new-ness at all, only stupidity and inferiority. – Hagen von Eitzen May 23 '17 at 12:55
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    @HagenvonEitzen - neither does "noob", really. People who have played Dota for 10 years still get called noobs every day. – Davor May 24 '17 at 12:48

11 Answers 11

34

In German you use the same word as in English. It’s called an anglicism. Noob is often used in computer games:

Du bist doch voll der Noob!

But it’s classified as a offense. Anfänger or Newbie would be more friendly.

You can also decline noob exactly as a German Word. For more information see also this page.

  • 1
    @Polygnome IIRC, Newb was the original term for a new player and Noob was the offensive for a new player who was also an idiot in same fashion. Over time, Newb has fallen out of favour and Noob has taken both roles depending on context. – SGR May 22 '17 at 8:06
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    "Noob" is, in my experience, not a neutral term. The gravity of the offence certainly depends on context (=> pragmatic layer) but the general tone I still believe to be an insult. – Cornelius May 22 '17 at 11:30
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    @Devon please don't support "Denglish" ^^ – reporter May 22 '17 at 13:40
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    @reporter this word is used in every-day german. thats a matter of fact. Language evolves; e.g. the term download has more german than english roots whereas herunterladen was added far later. – marstato May 22 '17 at 16:14
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    @alk Those two terms, while both condescending and similar, are generally used in rather different context and really don't mean the same thing (a DAU could very easily be someone who has used the software for a long term and I've never heard it in the context of games). – Voo May 22 '17 at 19:47
27

With a bit of jest, some people still use Grünschnabel (greenhorn, literally “greenbeak“). It's not at all limited to internet speech, though, but if used there it has the same meaning as noob.

  • 6
    I'd say "Grünschnabel" is common and not old-fashioned outside the internet, but you wouldn't really use it in an online context. – KWeiss May 23 '17 at 7:10
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    @KWeiss I might use it in an online context. If there is any translation I would say this one. However, not many people might use it, but that doesn't mean you couldn't. Grünschnabel is just a bit out of fashion. – Trilarion May 24 '17 at 13:55
  • I might have also heard Rotznase used to mean the same thing. – Mihai May 24 '17 at 14:25
  • @Mihai Rotznase is one way to say brat = naughty kid. It's not used for newbies. – Felix Dombek May 24 '17 at 17:49
8

Occasionally I encounter the abbreviation

DAU ( = Dümmster anzunehmender User)

which might be appropriate in some contexts. It is typically applied, when malfunction of a program needs to be explained as a consequence to very unusual, inappropriate input, or an approach was chosen, which even a moderatly informed person would not even consider.

  • 8
    While this may indeed be a fitting translation in some contexts, it certainly isn’t in all ones. I think you should better clarify what exactly DAU means and when it can be used. – Wrzlprmft May 22 '17 at 7:02
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    This is more of an "idiot". Everybody has been a noob at the beginning, but DAUs will stay DAUs forever. ;) – AnoE May 22 '17 at 8:42
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    DAU translates to "the stupidest user one can imagine". – k0pernikus May 22 '17 at 8:45
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    Yeah DAU can be quite experienced … ;P – Cornelius May 22 '17 at 11:31
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    It is a word play on "GAU", which is a nuclear engineering abbreviation for "Größter Anzunehmender Unfall" (equivalent to DBA, design basis accident)... and it comes with all the offense potential of calling somebody dumm (stupid). – rackandboneman May 22 '17 at 11:31
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I think, Frischling comes close to noob.

Originally this word means the breed of wild boar but it is also used for people who don't yet have gathered much experience in an area of work.

It basically means the same as Neuling but has also a slight emphasis on the fact of being more or less clueless.

  • You should explain the original meaning of the word and why it can be used in this case. – IQV May 23 '17 at 5:43
  • Frischling has the advantage of being the term for sucklings. Wouldn't have been my choice but I like it a lot. – ic_fl2 May 23 '17 at 15:59
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In addition to "Noob" you can actually use Anfänger. In a certain context and a certain tone, it's like the English "git gud":

Du Anfänger!

This usage is widespread in online gaming, but you can also use it when talking about other activities that require skill. This usage is most common in adolescent males.

  • 2
    this is the true answer – äüö May 23 '17 at 10:19
  • paracetamol was not looking for a word like Neuling or Anfänger. In my eyes almost nobody would use a word such as Anfänger or Grünschnabel in online gaming. – Devon May 24 '17 at 4:41
  • @Devon he said "I’m not looking for a word that simply corresponds to novice or newcomer in everyday situations", that doesn't mean the word can't also mean that. – KWeiss May 24 '17 at 14:07
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Neuling is the closest native translation, which carries a connotation of lack of experience, but is less insulting.

It can also be used for experienced people who are new on the job.

I’ve witnessed this being used in several native German-speaking environments.

  • 7
    The question has explicitly excluded the general terms for "beginner" et al. and focused on the "netspeak" word noob specifically. – Cornelius May 22 '17 at 11:31
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Since the German language offers such a vast and colorful variety of insults (well not really, more often than not it boils down to simply adding shit in some kind of way to an expression), please also consider the more aggressive way of telling someone, he still has a lot to learn:

Du Kackboon!

I find it quite interesting, that someone came up with idea of using noob in reverse. Nonetheless I've witnessed Kackboon often enough to be mentioned alongside the German use of noob.

  • Wo sage man das? Ich tippe auf den Norden. 😉 – alk May 22 '17 at 19:56
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    @alk Ich komme aus dem Süden und kenne den Begriff… ich kenne sogar jemanden, der das IRL sagt. – DarkDust May 23 '17 at 7:02
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    I've never heard that word, and I wouldn't understand it if I heard / read it. – KWeiss May 23 '17 at 7:08
  • @KWeiss I think it would be the younger generation to know such a word. I assume it got popular when it was used in SouthPark's "Make Love, not Warcraft' episode. To be fair, it is not used as much as noob. – Alex Poth May 23 '17 at 8:52
  • Der Westen kennt den Begriff auch; wobei er tatsächlich nicht so weit verbreitet ist wie der gute alte noob. – sloth May 23 '17 at 15:13
3

We just call them "Noob", "Amateur", "Anfänger" or "Depp". :)

But mostly "Noob" is just fine...

  • I find "Amateur" spot on. I'd often use "Amateur" to describe someone as a noob. – Marcel Kalveram Oct 10 '18 at 19:47
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I am astonished that nobody has provided this answer yet. I've been into online gaming for the better half of my life and can tell you with fair certainty that most German online gamers will understand the term

Nap

(say "nup") or in spoken context

Nappl

(say "nupil")

Example of use:

Du bist so ein Nap!

(= "You are such a noob")

I can even provide a source for my claim: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nap (way down)

"Etymologically" it seems to come from the way the words are spoken: "noob" would be written as "nub" in German and "nub" would be pronounced like the German written word "nab", eventually arriving at the word "Nap". Seems like a long shot, but that's internet creativity in action ;)

Already mentioned synonyms that fit your question are "Boon" or the more derogatory "Kackboon" (say "cuck-boon").

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    never heard of that even once. – Marcus Müller May 23 '17 at 15:34
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Not a one word answer as there are already many, but with some good pop-cultural references, especciallly in music (hip hop in particular) I'd recommend Absolute Beginner now shortend to Beginner which is too broadly understood as a normal word. Otherwise as previously stated, Noob or Grünschnabel are great. The later being less internet speak though.

0

A matching translation for "noob" would be "Lappen"

protected by Wrzlprmft May 24 '17 at 5:57

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