Related How do you refer to a 50 Euro bill in German?.

American English has an inventory of slang terms for amounts of money, not just the the notes themselves, which seem to be covered by the other question. For example 100 grand = 100 large = $100,000, but not in $1000 bills. A "big one" can mean $1, $100, or $1000 depending on context, and $1 has many nicknames, "buck", "smacker", "clam" etc. Again, these refer to the amount, so I'd say 20 bucks for 20 singles, 4 fives or 1 twenty.

I just saw in the subtitles for a show set in the US 90 Riesen for $90,000, which I gather translates literally as 90 giants, so I wondered if there are similar slang terms in German. For example would 90 Riesen be "€90,000" (= 90.000 € to German speakers) in Germany and Austria? (Switzerland is not in the eurozone, so I imagine they might have different words.) There is a Wikipedia article Slang terms for money but it doesn't really cover German speaking countries, and only mentions Teuro for Euro. There doesn't seem to be a similar article on German Wikipedia.

  • 2
    Keep in mind that compared to US currency, to Europeans, the € is relatively new. Quite some of former nicknames for bills and coins (like the "Heiermann", for example), got lost with the DM (and, earlier, with the "Mark der DDR").
    – tofro
    Jan 15, 2022 at 20:31
  • 1
    I Don't remember that I ever heard the name Heierman used in the 90s. Only know that term from nostalgic people. Riese relates to Tausender as there was a 1000 DM note. This, of course, got lost with the introduction of the EURO. Jan 15, 2022 at 20:38
  • Not what you are asking, but loosely related: german.stackexchange.com/questions/17932/…
    – Carsten S
    Jan 17, 2022 at 7:57
  • 1
    I’ve overheard use of the colors of notes, i.e. Rote (10 €), Blaue (20 €), Braune (50 €), Grüne (100 €). I’m not sure how common that is.
    – Crissov
    Jan 22, 2022 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


I have already pointed out in a comment that nicknames for coins and notes were relatively common before the introduction of the Euro. Only a few of the older nicks were continued to be used with coins and notes of the new currency.

Deutsche Mark der DDR („Ostmark“)

Most coins in the GDR were pejoratively called "Aluchips" - all of them except the 20-Pfennig coin were made from lightweight aluminium alloy. Fun fact: These aluminium coins were way too light to be safely distinguishable from each other in machines - Public phones could thus only be used with 20-Pfennig coins made from brass.

10-Pfennig coins were traditionally called "Groschen" just like in West Germany.

I have heard the term „blaue Fliesen“ ("blue tiles") for (mainly 100DM, because they were blue) bills of West German currency. It was apparently even used as a code word in small ads ("Biete blaue Fliesen für Autoersatzteile").

Deutsche Mark („Westmark“)

Groschen: 10 Pfennig, actually a Latin word.

Indianergeld, Roter: Copper coins (1 and 2 Pfennig), probably because of their redish colour

Kreuzer: Everything smaller than 10 Pfennig

Heiermann, Silberadler: 5 DM coins, the latter name because initially they were made from a silver alloy, the former probably from "Heuer" (seamen's pay)

Zwickel: Regional name for the 2 DM coin, used in the south (Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg)

Some names for bills are simple derivations from numbers like Zehner, Zwanziger or Zwanni, Fuffi (from "fünfzig") and Hunni (from "hundert").

Schleifen, Öcken: 1 DM ("Rück mal zwanzig Öcken raus")

Zacken: 10 DM

Riese, Mille: 1000 DM


The only interesting nickname for a Euro bill I have found is for the €500 bill. Apparently of Spanish origin it's called a "Bin Laden", and if you ask why, you'll recieve the answer "Everyone knows he exists but nobody can get him"

As German is not only spoken in Germany, there might be other nicks in Austria and Switzerland and their respective currencies.

  • 1
    "nicknames for coins and notes were relatively common before the introduction of the Euro" - I suspect the listed nicknames are/were related to different registers of the language. Case in point, I think "Groschen" was a fairly normal term that was used in everyday language, whereas most of the others ("Zacken", "Indianergeld", etc.) sound to me like badly written gangster language from a movie. Lastly, back in those days, I don't think I've ever heard "Kreuzer" as anything other than the smaller denomination of the fictitious currency used in Entenhausen (Duckburg). Jan 16, 2022 at 15:14
  • I was really more interested in amounts rather than coins and notes. I was also hoping for terms that would be used now rather than 25 years ago. I did expect some of the old names to be lost with the Euro, but the changeover was a generation ago and I didn't think it would take that long for people to come up with new names or adapt the old ones.
    – RDBury
    Jan 16, 2022 at 22:43
  • 1
    Some of the old terms were actually taken over to the Euro - but only the boring ones ("Zwanni", "Fuffi")
    – tofro
    Jan 16, 2022 at 23:39
  • Lübecker 50 DM (northern regional).
    – Zac67
    Jan 17, 2022 at 18:38
  • Riesen is also still used much like grand in English.
    – Crissov
    Jan 22, 2022 at 17:05

So in the Berlin area, a 50 is also often called "ein Fuchs" (a Fox), A 100€ note you can call here also "Drache" (Dragon), but that is rather unusual.

  • Beides ist mir nicht geläufig, obwohl ich seit mehr als 3 Jahrzehnten in Berlin wohne. Allerdings sind meine Kontakte mit gebürtigen Berlinern begrenzt und es wird auch selten über Geld dieser Größenordnung gesprochen. Hier mal über die Miete, die ist höher; da mal über Wechselgeld, das ist geringer. Jul 1, 2023 at 19:41
  • In Berlin hörte ich für diese Banknote Fuffi.
    – c.p.
    Jul 2, 2023 at 7:07

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