Getting hold of German takes some time and a lot of practice. If you want to sound like a native though, learning vocabulary and grammar is not enough as you’ll be required to expand your knowledge through German slang. Check out these German slang words that will take you one step closer to fluency.
Although it has a negative meaning, ‘mist’ is far from being an offensive word. Just like English speakers use ‘shoot,’ ‘dang,’ or ‘crap’ to express tiny inconvenient situations, Germans use ‘mist’ to show their dissatisfaction.
Mist! Ich habe meinen Kaffee verschüttet.
(Dang it! I spilled my coffee.)
The literal translation of ‘Mensch’ is human. However, it can also be used in the sense ‘gees’ or ‘oh man,’ expressing a frustration or annoyance.
Ach Mensch! Wir haben den Zug verpasst.
(Oh, man! We missed the train.)
Whenever you are indecisive about something, throw a ‘na ja’ in there. The expression used in English language is ‘well.’ However, you can also use this slang word to express disagreement or when feeling neither great nor bad.
Hat dir den Film gefallen? Na ja, es war interessant, aber auch ein bisschen langweilig.
(Did you like the movie? Well, it was interesting, but also a little bit boring.)
Hey Sarah! Wie geht’s? Na ja. Bei dir?
(Hey Sarah! How’s it going. So-so. And you?)
As you might have guessed, ‘jein’ is a combination of ‘ja’ and ‘nein’ and usually expresses a partial agreement or hesitation. An English equivalent would be ‘yes, but’ or even ‘kind of.’
Glaubst du, dass Deutschland die Weltmeisterschaft gewinnen wird? Ja, aber die französische Mannschaft ist auch ziemlich gut.
(Do you think that Germany will win the World Cup? Yes, but the French team is also pretty good.)
The most commonly used meaning of ‘geil’ is the one referring to something or somebody as ‘cool,’ ‘awesome’ or even ‘hot’ (as in looking attractive). It’s a slang word widely popular among teenagers and young adults.
Das sieht so geil aus!
(This looks so cool!)
Originating from the verb ‘quatschen’ which means talking nonsense, ‘Quatsch’ refers to exactly that. Whenever someone is acting foolish and starts talking rubbish, show off your German knowledge and tell them what they are saying is ‘Quatsch.’
Das ist alles Quatsch! Niemand hat die Zeit, dir zuzuhören.
(This is all nonsense! No one has time to listen to you.)