Tag Archives: cool german words

Cool German words, part 1: Zeug

Zeug, what a great German word. It’s similar to the Irish word yoke, as in “that yoke over there“.  In Ireland a yoke basically means a “thing” – when you can’t be bothered to say the word thing -or have forgotten the real name of it.

In German, as I understand it, (which may not necessarily actually be the correct understanding!) zeug means “stuff”.  And when joined to other words, it means different stuff. And Germans really, really like to join words together. e.g. Kreuzschlitzschraubenzieher = cross slit screw puller or as we know it, a phillips screwdriver -which I suppose doesn’t make sense to a foreigner either -who the hell is Phillip and why does he have a screwdriver named after him?

Anyway, I digress, here are some examples of zeug:

  • Feuerzeug =  fire stuff (cigarette lighter)
  • Flugzeug =flying stuff (Aeroplane)  
  • Werkzeug = work stuff (Tools)
  • Zeugmeister = someone in charge of stuff 

And my favourite, although not joined, Dummes Zeug = rubbish or nonsense

To be continued…

Which one is Phillip’s?