77 votes

What is the German word for: "It only works when I try to show you how it does not work"?

there was a German word with the definition that means: It only works when I try to show you how it does not work. What you are probably looking for is called the Vorführeffekt. It's ...
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47 votes
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Different way of saying "Feuer!"

"Los" is the German equivalent of English "Go" - as in "Ready, set, go" which is "Auf die Plätze, fertig, los" in German. Thus it's a frequent choice when something is launched or set off.
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  • 13.1k
37 votes

Derogatory word for someone who wears glasses

"Brillenschlange" would be the only one I can think of that specifically refers to wearing glasses. It literally translates to "spectacled snake", and it is the German name for the spectacled cobra, ...
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  • 1,011
35 votes
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What's the German equivalent for “noob”?

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 ...
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  • 1,386
33 votes

Speed and Velocity in German

You have to append vektor in German when you have to make clear a vector is meant. Geschwindigkeitsvektor (note the linking s between the two word parts and also note vektor is spoken with an o as in ...
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  • 46.3k
33 votes

What is the most ‘understandable’ way to order sparkling water in German?

In Germany, Mineralwasser typically refers to carbonated sparkling water. Many people, including me, who were raised in Eastern Germany, would call all carbonated sparkling waters Selters, even though ...
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32 votes

Different way of saying "Feuer!"

"Fire" isn't really a very logical way to command the release of a torpedo - unlike Firearms and cannons, there isn't really a lot of fire involved underwater. This is why the standard command to ...
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  • 57k
31 votes

How do I say "quirky" in German without sounding derogatory?

All languages have words that are unique and hard to translate, because most other languages don't have a perfect matching translation for it. The German word Gemütlichkeit is one of them. You can ...
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30 votes
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What's the German equivalent to the English form of address "Sir" or "Ma'am"?

Modern German does not have an equivalent generic vocative. The use of antiquated forms such as «mein Herr!», «gnädige Frau!» or «Monsieur!» would be extremely unusual and probably lead to amusement ...
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  • 6,464
30 votes
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What is the German equivalent of "Check ✓" when dealing with a list of things?

There is not one as common word as 'check' in English. What you use depends on context and situation. It could be (probably among others) Ok Ja(woll) Hier Hab(e) Ist da Passt Stimmt Vorhanden ...
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  • 4,232
27 votes
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How would I translate “I slipped him a twenty” into German?

I slipped him a twenty. would probably be best translated as Ich habe ihm 'nen Zwanziger zugesteckt. or Ich hab' ihm 'nen Zwanziger zugesteckt. The shortening of "einen Zwanziger" to "'nen ...
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27 votes

What's the German equivalent for “noob”?

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.
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  • 1,342
25 votes

How can I say ‘poop’ in German for a cat (animal) in a funny but not rude way?

Häufchen, literally "little heap", it is what cat droppings are often referred to. It is a naturally harmless and polite expression, so there's no danger of being rude. However, it is not very funny ...
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  • 611
24 votes
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How would you replicate the English abbreviation Co.?

You don’t have to translate this into German because we use this abbreviation too. If you see phrases like Adler & Co. it means that not only Mr. or Mrs. Adler is the shareholder. There are ...
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  • 479
24 votes

What is the German word or phrase for "village returning to forest"?

The German Wikipedia article on Black Death (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwarzer_Tod) mentions the word Wüstung: Unrentabel gewordene Grenzböden wurden aufgegeben, was in manchen Regionen dazu ...
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23 votes
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What do you call the prongs of an electrical plug?

These are called Stifte (singular: der Stift) or Kontaktstifte. There are Rundstifte like in continental Europe and Flachstifte like in the UK and the US.
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22 votes
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Is there a German "Loot Box"?

I would suggest Schatzkiste which is completely unspecific, in which respect the content is to be considered as Schatz, but already conveys the idea, that the Schatz is already contained in it. ...
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  • 24.3k
21 votes
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How to call someone "silly" in a cute way?

First of all, as a native German I never heard of "Dummerchen" as sausage! I bet that no one would understand it in that way. "Dummerchen" is a minimization of a stupid person and always understood in ...
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  • 462
21 votes
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What is the name of this type of chair that can be found on beaches?

der Strandkorb The literal translation is beach basket — which should be pretty obvious if you look at it, and where it is usually found. They are extremely common on beaches on the North Sea in ...
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  • 2,612
20 votes
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How do you say “geek”/“IT guy” in German?

Unfortunately another area where little understood English terms have taken the cake. Geek: originally a person biting heads off of small animals The subspecies technology geek is what is known in ...
20 votes
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Correct word for "unfathomable"?

In this special context I would use: Es ist mir schleierhaft, wie du den Wein über dein weißes Hemd schütten konntest. The word comes from Schleier (veil) und therefore implies some restricted ...
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  • 24.3k
20 votes
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What is the current term for people who are ethnic Germans who don't live in Germany?

I don't know a single word for that. I have never heard Volksdeutsche. If someone mentioned this to me, I had to ask what exactly is meant. And as you said, it sounds a little strange. Perhaps there ...
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  • 2,000
20 votes

What is the current term for people who are ethnic Germans who don't live in Germany?

Deutschstämmige Obwohl "deutschstämmig" zu ähnlicher Zeit wie volksdeutsch aufkam und ebenfalls 1940 einen Peak hatte, würde ich das Wort als relativ unbelastet betrachten. Ein wichtiger ...
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  • 22.6k
20 votes

What is the German equivalent of "Check ✓" when dealing with a list of things?

The first one that comes to my mind would be erledigt Duden reference
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  • 301
19 votes
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How to distinguish killer types?

There are several juridical nouns for different kinds of homicides. @KilianFoth mentioned the most important ones in a comment already: Mord ‘murder’, Totschlag ‘man-slaughter’, fahrlässige Tötung ‘...
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  • 9,013
19 votes

German version of an American "muscle car"?

EDIT: My answer below refers to the original question, which was something like Do Germans call american muscle cars "Muskelautos"? For the updated version of the question, see the last paragraph ...
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19 votes

German version of an American "muscle car"?

The term, that is used in German language for what is called "muscle car" in English is: Muscle-Car It is a foreign word, that is just written with a hyphen and uppercase M and C, according to ...
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18 votes
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Was ist das alte Wort für Cousine?

Das weibliche Gegenstück ist Base. Es wird gelegentlich noch verwendet, aber Kusine (oder Cousine, in der ursprünglichen französischen Schreibung) ist heute der übliche Ausdruck.
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