Leçons Allemand

Thèmes

"Crazy" in Slang and Idiom

In an earlier Yabla lesson, we started discussing idioms and slang expressions for "crazy." We'll be taking a look today at some more expressions that seriously question somebody's psychological well-being. But a word of warning if you are in Germany: these expressions are insulting and may make the person you are directing them at very angry. If that person has witnesses, it's possible that they could personally file criminal charges against you, take you to court, and have you convicted for insulting them. In Germany, Beleidigung is a felony crime punishable by up to two years' imprisonment and a fine. If the person who was insulted is a police officer or other public official, either the person or their supervisor can file charges against you. In that case it's called die Beamtenbeleidigung. So much for freedom of speech! Let's take a look at a few expressions that could get you in trouble in the wrong circumstances.

 

Sag mal, bist du völlig verrückt geworden?

Tell me, have you completely gone crazy?

Caption 47, Großstadtrevier: Leben kommt, Leben geht

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The adjective verrückt is slang and used very commonly. It comes from a 16th century usage which meant "brought to the wrong place."

 

Die spinnen ja wohl. Das ist ja wahnsinnig.

They're crazy. This is insane.

Caption 38, Großstadtrevier: Nicht mit mir

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The verb spinnen was described in the previous Yabla lesson. The adjective wahnsinnig may also be translated as "crazy." It's also used in a casual sense to add emphasis, such as Das ist wahnsinnig teuer ("That is very expensive" or "That is crazy expensive"). It comes from the Old and Middle German word wan, which meant "lacking" or "empty."

 

Diese irre Öko-Oma wollte neulich einen echten Klimaplan verabschieden.

This crazy eco-grandma recently wanted to pass a real climate plan.

Caption 25, heute-show: Das kann die Welt beim Klimaschutz von Deutschland lernen

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The expression irre comes from an obsolete noun that meant "the wrong way" or "the wrong direction."

 

Seid ihr bescheuert oder was?

Are you crazy or what?

Caption 4, Lilly unter den Linden: Umzug in die DDR

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The answer to that is, "No, we're just trying to learn German!" The adjective bescheuert is derived from the verb scheuern, which means "to thoroughly scrub out" with a brush or similar cleaning tool. The less than polite suggestion is that someone's brain has been scrubbed out of their skull!

 

Further Learning
Make up some new sentences using the expressions discussed above and have your teacher or a fellow student check your work. Please be sure that the sentences you construct are not aimed at your fellow students or your teacher—it always pays to be polite! Go to the videos mentioned above on Yabla German to better understand the contexts in which these expressions have been used.

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