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7 German Words The English Language Needs Right Now

The internet has been unkind to the German language lately but there are some German language gems that you need in your life. Though I'm happy to leave it to The Guardian to defend the German people against the accusation that they are all obsessed with their own poo, it seems unfair that people still go on saying the language of Goethe is somehow "ugly" when its words can express ideas that would need a whole sentence in English:

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1. Sitzpinkler

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"A man who pees sitting down." Whether it's a case of wanting to do your business in a cubicle because you suffer from paruresis ("shy cock" to you and I - see Konnie Huq), a desire to multitask, or simply for the enjoyment of that cold feeling as your bum cheeks nestle on the porcelain seat on a Winter's day, some men like to urinate while sitting down and German has a word for them. Larry David of Curb Your Enthusiasm is a fan of the seated pee.

3. Backpfeifengesicht

"A face badly in need of a fist" (literally "slap-face"). It refers to those people who really could use a slap. Those kids that took selfies at funerals, people who pronounce the letter 'H' as 'haitch', the cast, the writers, the producers and anyone who watches or knows someone who watches The Big Bang Theory

4. Fremdschämen

"To feel ashamed on someone else's behalf." The vicarious embarassment we (the dignified) feel when someone else in the room is making a tit of themselves but lacks the requisite level of shame to have noticed yet.

5. Treppenwitz

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"The predicament of thinking of the perfect retort too late." OK fine, it's not originally German but a translation of the French expression "l'esprit de l'escalier" ("staircase wit") coined by Denis Diderot in Paradoxe sur le comédien but until "staircase wit" makes any sense as an expression in English it deserves to be on this list .It refers to the time that Diderot was so overwhelmed by a remark at a dinner party that he could only begin to think straight once he had reached the bottom of the stairs upon leaving. We've all felt sorry for ourselves for missing out on the perfect opportunity to say "your mother" or "that's what she said" and only realising hours later.

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