German swear words: When and where did German swear words come from? Is there a gradation of rudeness in German swear words? Where can swear words be used in Germany? The ugliest and meanest words can be found in this article!

Each of us has ever faced the need to make our speech more emotional, relieve psychological tension or simply (often unconsciously) fill a pause in the statement. In such situations not only relatively neutral interjections but also obscene language, in other words – foul language, come to the rescue. Today we’re going to talk about swear words in German!

The origin of German swear words

At the moment there is an interesting fact in linguistics: many swear words in European languages of the same language families originate from the Proto-European and are therefore essentially related. It is very difficult to give an exact date of origin of such words in German.

What’s interesting is that many swear words in German are related to defecation and the anus (der Arsch – ass, scheißen – to shit):

verarschen – take the piss out of sb.
das Arschloch – bastard
Scheiß drauf! – fuck it!
bescheißen – fuck over
die Verarsche – wind sb. up
das Miststück – bitch
vollscheißen – shit all over

But on the other hand, obscene words in Spanish are more related to gender. Although German also has a couple of “nice” words:

die Fotze – cunt.
der Schwanz – dick
der Pimmel – dick!
Fick dich! – Fuck off!
ficken – fuck

We can combine different parts of speech together to create swear words, e.g. a noun and an adjective, a verb and a noun, etc.

For example:
der Arsch + das Gesicht = das Arschgesicht (bastard)
die Hure + die Fotze = die Hurenfotze (slutty cunt)
lutschen + der Schwanz = der Schwanzlutscher (cocksucker)
kalt + der Arsch = arschkalt

It all depends on your imagination!

What does a German say when he is just angry and when he is very, very angry?

Normally, we can (consciously or not) identify our emotion, e.g. the degree of anger or joy, and in accordance with it, choose and use the most appropriate verbiage. This is the way it is in any language. By the way, read about how else you can express your emotions in our article.

In German, obscene words have a certain structure, which we will now explore:

  • Fluchwörter – rude expressions with which the speaker expresses vivid emotions, such as anger, frustration or wishing something bad.

For example,
Fahr zur Hölle! – Go to hell!
Halt die Fotze! – Shut the fuck up!
Leck mich am Arsch! – Suck my dick!
Du gehst mir auf den Sack! – You fucked me up!
Ein Scheißdreck werde ich tun! – The fuck I will do
Verpiss dich! – Fuck off!

  • Schimpfwörter are used to give an object (person or object) negative properties, thereby offending or humiliating it. They are often derived from words like ‘dirt’ (and everything related to it) and all sorts of names of body parts as well as animals.

For example,
der Mistkerl – bastard, cattle, asshole.
der Fotzenlecker – faggot
der Wichser – wanker, fucker
Alter Muschi! – Old cunt!
Ah du Schwein! – Ah you pig!

  • Vulgarismen (vulgarisms) – essentially this group of owls includes words from the previous two categories in everyday speech, not necessarily to offend anyone. In this, they are similar to Russian colloquial mat. So, for example, with the help of vulgar expressions a person can intensify his statement or show his attitude towards any routine phenomenon.

For example,
Scheiß drauf! – Fuck it!
Mir ist es scheißegal! – I don’t give a fuck!
Verdammte Scheiße! – Fucking hell!

Where you can and can’t swear in Germany

It is very common to use the Schimpfwörter in spoken language. It is important to understand that this is only allowed between friends or family members and only if they tolerate such behaviour. In other cases, their use will appear rude and often even indecent and outrageous. It is possible, of course, to swear at a negligent driver, which would still be considered rude.

Fluchwörter can also be found in literary works. In oral speech, they also occur from time to time, but are considered a milder version of coarse vocabulary.

And, of course, it is important to note that none of the above categories is suitable for formal business communication.

Is the German favourite word “scheiße” a swear word or not?

As for the German favourite “scheiße”, it is acceptable in spoken language, just like the other Schimpfwörter. However, it should be noted that sometimes in Germany, for example, an elderly or very well-mannered and intelligent German may be offended and take the word as unacceptable rudeness, so that for some people scheiße is the equivalent of the harmless English “shit!”.

By the way, singer Lady Gaga wrote a song called “Scheiße” after going to a party in Berlin. As of now, “Scheiße” (alternative titles: “Scheisse”, “Scheibe”, and “Shiza”) is the song from Gaga’s second studio album Born This Way.

Clearly, “scheiße” is not the most “high-minded” expression. However, many decent people quietly use it in everyday life in various combinations. Germans often apply the word to express their feelings of frustration or anger. But we should not get carried away with it.

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