german slang

10 Commonly-Used German Slang Words and Phrases

Take a break from your textbook to learn some fun German slang words and phrases outlined by German teacher Trevor H. below…

Every language has its own set of unique slang words and phrases, even German! While traveling throughout Germany and/or speaking with natives, you’re bound to encounter some German slang words and phrases.

Oftentimes, these words and phrases aren’t outlined in your German study books, which is why we’ve gathered up some of the most common German slang words to ensure that you’ll be able to carry casual conversations with natives.

Below are some fun, and often hilarious, German slang words and phrases.

1. Super!

Don’t confuse the word “super” with “Suppe,” which sounds almost exactly the same. Used much in the same way we use it in English, “super” is a word I’ve heard the most since learning German.

Schedule a meeting: “Super!” Show off a guitar riff: “Super!” Make a hole-in-one while mini-golfing: “Super!” Just remember to pronounce that “s” as an English “z.”

2. Na?

Na” is an informal way to say “hello.” Use it in place of the American slang phrase, “Yo, how’s it going?” You can even say it as a response to itself. Add in “alles Klar” if you really want to be verbose.

3. Naja

This German slang word is one that I use most often. It’s used the same way as “well…” is used at the start of a sentence. It gives you a little extra time to think about what case the articles of the following sentence will be in.

4. Auf jeden Fall

This is a great way to wrap up a thought. It’s also easy to assimilate, considering how similar “auf jeden Fall” is to the English phrase “in any case.” Change “jeden” to “keinen” and all of a sudden it means “in no case.” This is a very useful German phrase to add your repertoire.

5. Prost!

If you have any desire to go to Oktoberfest or any pub for that matter, you should definitely learn this German slang word. It’s used just like “Cheers!” is used in English. You may also want to brush up on a drinking song or two.

6. Fett

Fett” literally means “fat,” but just like the American slang word it can take on positive connotations. You can use it like “cool” in English. For example, “Das Gitarrenriff ist fett!” or “That guitar riff is cool/fat!”

7. Alda/Alta/Alter

Chances are you’ve heard the word “dude” once or twice. Here’s your opportunity to use the German version. “Alter” literally means “old one,” so reserving it for friends is probably a good idea, as you don’t want to offend anyone.

8. Sie gleichen sich wie ein Ei dem anderen.

This German slang phrase is the equivalent of the English idiom “two peas in a pod.” Although, this German phrase means something more along the lines of, “They seem like each-other like one egg resembles the others.”

9. Zwielichtig

This German slang word is fun to say. “Zwielicht”–which literally means twilight– is meant to describe something or someone as “shady” or “dodgy.” For example, “Er is ein zwielichtigen Kerl,” or “He’s a shady guy.”

10. Mach’s Gut

Rather than say “Auf Wiedersehen!” or “goodbye,” use the German slang phrase “Mach’s Gut.” This is a less formal way of saying goodbye, which is literally translated to “make it good.” However, it means something along the lines of “have a good one.”

Hopefully you’ll get a lot of use out of these German slang words and phrases. I know I certainly have.

If you’re looking to learn more German slang words and phrases, ask your German teacher or speak with a native German! The more you speak to natives the easier it is to learn the language and culture.

And with that I’ll leave you with one more: “Ende gut, alles gut.” All’s well that ends well.

Trevor H.Post Author: Trevor H.
Trevor H. is a German instructor in El Cajon, CA. He studied German in college and has been teaching the language for more than 10 years. Learn more about Trevor here!

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