Quiz about Untranslatable German Words
Quiz about Untranslatable German Words

Untranslatable German Words Trivia Quiz


One beauty of foreign languages is their ability to convey an emotion or event in a single word that has no equivalent English word. Let's learn about some German words that fit this.

A multiple-choice quiz by SixShutouts66. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
406,504
Updated
Dec 18 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
240
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 64 (8/10), Guest 37 (10/10), Guest 74 (7/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. The term Schadenfreude has crossed over into English and is now used to express a particular personal feeling. When would I experience Schadenfreude? Hint

Despair when things aren't going well
Feeling of embarrassment for others
Joy at the suffering of others
Feeling of sadness at the success of others

2. Verschlimmbesserung may not be a familiar term, but its meaning is very similar to what it sounds like in English. What is meant by Verschlimmbesserung? Hint

Field of study
Successful diet
Improvements to something that make it worse
Invention or improved methodology

3. Schnapsidee is another term that is quite understandable once you break apart the word. What is a Schnapsidee? Hint

An idea that looks terrible upon further review
Pub crawl
Drinking game
Study of the fermentation of gin and alcoholic beverages

4. One great German word is Treppenwitz - something a good stand up comedian, lawyer, or politician would not want to experience. In fact there is a possibility you may experience it after submitting this quiz. What is Treppenwitz? Hint

Misgivings about course of action
Utter humiliation
Stage fright
Thinking of a brilliant response after the opportunity has passed

5. Drachenfutter is another German word that can be understood from its English equivalents (dragon and food). What is Drachenfutter? Hint

Hateful or racist comment
Dog food
Gift to placate or apologize, especially a spouse or partner
Political slogan

6. Fingerspitzengefühl is a compliment to a fellow worker or leader. What does it mean? Hint

Skillful artist or calligrapher
Finger print expert
Instinctive ability to navigate situations expertly
Popular man with the ladies

7. As I've grown older, I've experienced Torschlusspanik (gate + close + panic) more frequently. What does it mean? Hint

Weight gain
Realization that I don't have keys for locked door
Realization that time is slipping away to do things
Claustrophobia

8. Sprachgefühl expresses what particular ability or emotion? Hint

Ability to express sympathy to another
Ability to tell jokes
Natural affinity for languages
Ability to sing

9. Many of us are affected by Kummerspeck (grief bacon). What does this mean? Hint

Nausea
Guilt over eating slaughtered animals
Excessive weight gain when under stress
Prejudice towards Judaism or Islam

10. The boss noticed that the new hire had an unusual case of Fisselig when he was there and wasn't effective at work that day. What does Fisselig mean? Hint

Daydreaming
Ill-fitting clothes
Incompetence due to being flustered or nagged at
Poor training


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The term Schadenfreude has crossed over into English and is now used to express a particular personal feeling. When would I experience Schadenfreude?

Answer: Joy at the suffering of others

The compound word Schadenfreude is built from the German words Schaden (damage or harm) and Freude (joy) and expresses the malicious feeling of happiness when someone or something one doesn't like, suffers a failure or defeat. An example would be the joy one feels when a rival team loses a sporting contest.

The term Gluckschmerz, from the German words for fortune and pain, has been invented to express the feeling of pain when a rival does well, although it apparently was not a true German word or a very recent one.

Fremdschämen is feeling for the embarrassment of others, such as the feeling one has when a friend tells a joke that falls flat.
2. Verschlimmbesserung may not be a familiar term, but its meaning is very similar to what it sounds like in English. What is meant by Verschlimmbesserung?

Answer: Improvements to something that make it worse

The German verb verschlimmbessern is derived from the words for bad/worse and better. Verschlimmbesserung, the corresponding noun, is an attempt to fix or improve something that leads to other more serious problems. It's a great word that expresses simply a fairly common occurrence in life that doesn't have an English equivalent.

Verschlimmbesserung describes many of my DIY projects.
3. Schnapsidee is another term that is quite understandable once you break apart the word. What is a Schnapsidee?

Answer: An idea that looks terrible upon further review

Die Schnapsidee is derived from the German words for gin/spirits (Schnaps) and idea (Idee). It's come to mean an idea that's so terrible upon later examination that it seems the originator was not sober when he derived it.
4. One great German word is Treppenwitz - something a good stand up comedian, lawyer, or politician would not want to experience. In fact there is a possibility you may experience it after submitting this quiz. What is Treppenwitz?

Answer: Thinking of a brilliant response after the opportunity has passed

The German word Treppenwitz and the similar French phrase L'esprit de l'escalier both mean a staircase joke, which meant thinking up a brilliant riposte on the stairway - presumably after leaving a meeting.

Have you ever ended a conversation and suddenly think of a hilarious response, a brilliant argument, or a comment to put a puffed-up braggadocio in his place after the fact and your brilliance is forever lost. Perhaps you've even submitted a quiz and suddenly remembered a correct answer. Welcome to the wonderful world of Treppenwitz.

In a similar vein there must be a word to describe the phenomenon when someone breaks into laughter at an inappropriate time after he finally gets the point of a joke several minutes later. (Signed the proud parent of one).
5. Drachenfutter is another German word that can be understood from its English equivalents (dragon and food). What is Drachenfutter?

Answer: Gift to placate or apologize, especially a spouse or partner

Drachenfutter or dragon's food has come to mean offering a gift to someone in a way of apology or reconciliation. The fearful creature is angry and needs food or a gift to placate it.

Of course, the wise man does not refer to it as Drachenfutter unless he is comfortable with another, more expensive Drachenfutter.
6. Fingerspitzengefühl is a compliment to a fellow worker or leader. What does it mean?

Answer: Instinctive ability to navigate situations expertly

Fingerspitzengefühl literally means fingertip feeling, an immediate and instinctive reaction to situations that is uncanny. It is often used for successful military, diplomatic, or athletic figures who are able to react to difficult situations with an instinctive, delicate touch.
7. As I've grown older, I've experienced Torschlusspanik (gate + close + panic) more frequently. What does it mean?

Answer: Realization that time is slipping away to do things

Torschlusspanik is the feeling that opportunities are slipping away and time is running out to do things. In this way it's similar to a midlife crisis or a biological clock ticking to use English phrases for similar conditions.
8. Sprachgefühl expresses what particular ability or emotion?

Answer: Natural affinity for languages

Sprachgefühl is derived from the German words for speech and feeling. It conveys the sense that the speaker has a natural affinity for the language, especially understanding what is grammatically and idiomatically acceptable. It is used either for one's native tongue or an acquired language.
9. Many of us are affected by Kummerspeck (grief bacon). What does this mean?

Answer: Excessive weight gain when under stress

Kummerspeck is excessive eating or weight gain during stressful times and the feeling of regret for it. It's equivalent for the Freshman Fifteen for new college students or the COVID Ten during forced inactivity in virus lockdowns.
10. The boss noticed that the new hire had an unusual case of Fisselig when he was there and wasn't effective at work that day. What does Fisselig mean?

Answer: Incompetence due to being flustered or nagged at

Fisselig means flustered to the point of incompetence. It usually occurs under stressful conditions when the person is being watched or nagged
Source: Author SixShutouts66

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor stedman before going online.
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