Sometimes I see people write "mimimi" in AFD tweets (for example this). Googling for the meaning wasn't useful.

So, what is the meaning of "mimimi"?


I even discovered the #mimimi hashtag, used in other languages. Not sure if it matters.

  • 4
    "Mimimi" is, IIRC, what Beaker (or whatever the German translated name is) generally says, on the Muppet Show. youtube.com/watch?v=gUeeIjyI7QQ – Rudy Velthuis Nov 28 '17 at 14:58
  • @RudyVelthuis I know that, but what is the meaning of it? I always thought that Beeker doesn't know to speak. – BЈовић Nov 28 '17 at 15:00
  • I have some reservations, whether this is really German and the quality level as a word also does not exceed wau-wau. – guidot Nov 28 '17 at 20:26
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    @guidot: It's part of the germans language. – user unknown Nov 29 '17 at 1:42
up vote 30 down vote accepted

Did you really check carefully? The most complete answer is found here:

http://www.giga.de/extra/netzkultur/specials/mimimi-was-heisst-das-bedeutung-schnell-erklaert/

In short: someone who uses the term wants to express that the author (who is complaining about something) is whining or exaggerating and he should not be so sensitive or so touchy. So then you simply say:

Mimimi. Jammer nicht so rum.

A rude form would be:

Heul doch.

  • I may confirm that my flatmate says mimimi to me on a daily basis. But that's right, I just like complaining. – Christian Geiselmann Nov 28 '17 at 17:43
  • In that case, an approximate English translation would be "diddums". – AJFaraday Nov 29 '17 at 9:30
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    I'd say "mimimi" is rude as well because its aim is to ridicule someone. – xehpuk Nov 29 '17 at 11:55
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    While the meaning here is clear, in other instances of "mimimi" appearing in the context of AFD-related topics one should also consider the second meaning suggested in the linked article: "Mitbürger mit Migrationshintergrund" (fellow citizens with a migration background). – David Foerster Nov 29 '17 at 12:05
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    @xehpuk Of course it is opinion based how rude it is, but I would also say 'Mimimi' to a friend with a smile, in contrast 'Heul doch' is more rude for sure. – Thomas Nov 29 '17 at 12:08

"Mimimi" has its origin in the Muppet Show, where the assistant Beaker only says this in high pitch and always shortly before panic.

This was adapted, always in high pitch, to demonstrate that one has no pity with his counterpart.

The "mimimi" itself is the sound of wailing, so it is an onomatopoeia.

I would like to provide a different insight.

I am Brazilian, and I'm very used to the expression "mimimi". It's a slang widely accepted among teenagers in Brazil, and interestingly it has basically the same meaning provided in the answer by Thomas. I would describe it as an onomatopoeia that pejoratively represents the words/sounds a person makes when complaining. You usually refer to someone's complaints as "mimimi" when you disagree with them and consider the complaints unfounded, merely as a gratuitous hating towards the subject.

Example: "Oh, the daylight saving time is here, so here comes the mimimi". (Meaning that here comes a bunch of people complain gratuitously about it without really thinking about it).

I never stopped to think about where this originated from, so I got extremely curious when I saw this on German SE ("what does German have to do with this?", I thought), and amazed with the answers referring to what seems to be a muppet show or something.

After some cursory search with Google already biased to give me Brazilian results, what I found is some sites claiming that the expression originated from a Brazilian TV show "Fudêncio e Seus Amigos" (a politically incorrect show from the channel MTV).

I'm not saying the other answers are wrong, I just wanted to share this because it can't just be a coincidence.

Also this probably addresses what OP said as #mimimi hashtag usage in other languages (I bet it's Portuguese!)

  • 3
    So when was the Brazilian show recorded, in the 80ies, more early or later and have the Muppets been on Brazilian TV? So who could have been influenced by whom? – user unknown Nov 29 '17 at 1:45
  • Not unlikely that both "mimimi"s developed independently (onomatopoeia often sounds similar in different languages). Or they had the same source and were independently adopted by the two shows. – Annatar Nov 29 '17 at 7:13
  • I’m quiet sure that mimimi predates both shows, not much surprising for an onomatopoeia. – Holger Nov 29 '17 at 10:38
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    Well, but if the brazilian show is older than the Muppets, than the brazilian show can't be citing the Muppets. If it is younger, somebody could ask, if it is a reference to the Muppets or was inspired by them. Maybe the author gave somewhere an interview, that he is a big Muppet show fan and so on. – user unknown Nov 29 '17 at 16:01

"mimimi" is just like a disliking symbol, when someone do some work which was not expected and there is benefit then the person does some murmuring sound like this by himself.

By some research I found:

1.Child's weeping. This meaning is the original and was inspired by the Mexican TV show "El Chavo del Ocho", which was a massive success in Brazil.
2.Emotional, childish or sissy begging: "He wasn't hired for the job and started with mimimi that his mother was ill and he needed the money to treat her."
3. Stubborn irrational refusal to accept what is plainly true. Eg: "Germany deservedly won the 2014 World Cup. Any other opinion is mimimi."
4. Annoying complaint about something that could have been solved more maturely. E.g: "The manager told him that he had been a relapse worker recently and should improve. Instead of accepting that feedback he just went on mimimi about how cruel and insensitive the manager was."

  • 3
    Zahid Khan, welcome! While you did a nice research, you seem to have overlooked the tiny detail that this question is about "mimimi" in German. As a native speaker, I can assure you that in German "mimimi" is only used as a (mock) quote of someone whining. Babies don't "mimimi" in German and it's also not used as verb. – Stephie Nov 29 '17 at 18:09

This is not originally German or Muppetese. Minimi is Latin for "things of no importance". It's most often seen in the well known legal saying De minimis non curat lex (the law doesn't care about things of no importance). So to call people or things minimi is to call them insignificant.

  • But the latin word minimi has no etymological connection to the onomatopoeic mimimi. Another difference: In minimi only the 1st and last syllable are stressed, the 2nd is unstressed. In mimimi all three syllables are equally stressed. – Hubert Schölnast Dec 1 '17 at 5:26

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