Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Answers to German Linguistic Directness Quiz

For all of you anxious to get the answers to last week's quiz on German Directness, you will find them here:

Glühbirne: glowing pear = light bulb

Kühlschrank: cool cabinet = refrigerator

Handschuhe: hand shoes = gloves

Fahrstuhl: riding chair = elevator

Fingerhut: finger hat = thimble

Unkraut: not an herb = a weed

Zahnfleisch: tooth flesh = gums

Blinddarm: blind/dummy intestine = appendix

Gehirnerschütterung: brain jolting/shaking = concussion

Durchfall: fall through = diarrhea

Gelbsucht: yellow addiction (ailment) = jaundice

Nacktschnecke: naked snail = slug

Stinktier: stink animal = skunk

Nashorn: nose horn = rhinoceros

Hundertfüßer: hundred footer = centipede

Waschbär: wash bear = raccoon

Nilpferd/Flusspferd: Nile/River horse = hippopotamus

Vorfreude: pre-joy = anticipation

Muskelkater: muscle hangover = muscle soreness you experience the day after a hard workout

Brustwarze: breast wart = nipple

Staubsauger: dust sucker = vacuum cleaner

Ausweglosigkeit: state of having no way out = hopelessness

Vorstandsvorsitzender: in a company, the one who stands in front of those who sit in front = the chairman of the board

Thanks to everyone who played, and double thanks to everyone who posted their best guesses. Lots of right answers, and many of you seem ready to take the plunge and enroll in a German course of your own.


  1. So, some of my answers were a little lame. I will admit that the correct answers made perfect sense. If you're German. Which I am not. But, all in all, I think I did pretty well. But seriously, doesn't it make more sense to say rhinoceros than nose horn?

  2. This was absolutely hilarious. Thanks!

  3. "But seriously, doesn't it make more sense to say rhinoceros than nose horn?"

    The literal meaning of "rhinoceros" is "nose horn". Similarly, "suicide" literally means "self-murder", centipede means a "hundred footer", and so on. So English has also many "direct" words, but people normally don't realize it because they don't understand the original languages.

    Incidentally, as a native speaker of German, you don't usually stop to think about the individual parts of compound nouns, you just take them for granted. It's funny to get to see them from a different perspective! :)