In a lecture I attented about "Aussagenlogik" there was the following sentence:

Wenn Otto ein Knirks ist und alle Knirkse wipstrisch sind, dann ist Otto wipstrisch.

I guess "Knirks" and "wipstrisch" are made-up in order to denote the insignificance of what Otto is and what the likes of him are.

Is there a hidden meaning/pun behind these words? Is this a popular phrase/words when talking abstractly?

They both look like real German words and the professor said the sentence like it wasn't supposed to be anything new/strange to the audience.

  • Ich kenne solch ein Rätsel mit Eikumöms der ein Hersenknautz oder ein Drausenflutz ist. Gut gemachte Rätsel dieser Art achten nur darauf, jeden Anfangsbuchstaben nur 1x vorkommen zu lassen, so dass sich eine eindeutige Kurznotation aufdrängt (e € H ¦¦ e € D) (siehe auch Alice, Bob, ...). Oct 21, 2017 at 19:20
  • As everybody knows, the German word Knirks is knirpling in English, and also wellknown is, that wipstrisch means whafprudious. So the correct English translation, that contains all meanings, that the German original contains, is: »If Otto is a knirpling, and all knirplings are whafprudious, then Otto is whafprudious.« (You don't need to know that knirpling and whafprudious really mean. This sentence is true whatever this words mean, and this is the reason why you use meaningless words here.) And No: Those words don't have a tradition like »foo« and »bar« in English. Oct 22, 2017 at 11:53
  • @HubertSchölnast Nein: knirpling gibt es wirklich. Heißt Klöppeln. whafprudious habe ich aber wirklich nicht gefunden ;) Schon sieht man: "whatever these words mean..." stimmt nicht: "Otto ist ein Klöppeln" ergibt sehr, sehr wenig Sinn.
    – tofro
    Oct 24, 2017 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


This is all completely made-up and doesn't mean anything rather than giving somewhat "interesting" notions for "A", "B", and characteristics of "A" and "B". Admittedly, your sentence sounds a bit more interesting than

If A is an instance of B and all B are x, then A is x as well

From capitalisation, it is clear that "Knirks" is a substantive and from the ending "-isch" we can assume an adjective nature of "wipstrisch".

Think of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (from "Mary Poppins"), which doesn't mean anything as well, and just sounds somewhat funny.

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