German Things And Stuff Posted by Constanze on Jun 12, 2019 in Language
Guten Tag! Do you ever have moments where you can’t remember the word for something? How about when there’s a pile of what can only be described as ‘stuff’? Just like in English, German has words that you can use in these situations. Here are two of them: Krimskrams and Dingsbums.
The first word is Krimskrams. This is a masculine noun, so it takes der: der Krimskrams.
Krimskrams is what you’d call all of the little bits and pieces you have lying in a drawer, for example. Equivalent words/phrases in English include ‘odds and ends’, ‘bric-a-brac’, ‘knick-knacks’, or, simply, ‘stuff’ and ‘junk’.
The word Krimskrams comes from the German verb kramen – to rummage, and the noun der Kram – stuff, junk. The ‘krims’ part of the word doesn’t have any particular meaning.
There are several synonyms for Krimskrams in German, including:
das Gerümpel (Interestingly, a box room in German is sometimes referred to as Kammer für Koffer und Gerümpel – ‘small room for suitcases and knick-knacks’. Its usual translation is die Abstellkammer.)
In der Schublade ist lauter Krimskrams
There’s a load of junk in the drawer
The second word is Dingsbums. This is an unusual word because it can take all three genders: der (masculine), die (feminine), or das (neuter)!
Dingsbums is the word you use when you have forgotten the name of something. It’s the equivalent of saying ‘thingymajig’ or ‘thingymabob’ in English. You can also use Dingsbums if you have forgotten a person’s name. This makes it the equivalent to ‘Whats-his-name’ or ‘Whats-her-name’ in English.
The word Dingsbums comes from the German word for ‘thing’ – das Ding.
Oh! So ein Dingsbums habe ich auch!
Oh! I’ve got one of those thingymabobs, too!
Dingsbums is a playful, fun, and informal word.
A variation on Dingsbums is ‘Dingsda’. Literally ‘thing there’, this is used if the thing you can’t remember the name of is right in front of you, and you’re pointing at it, for example.
Look out for my next post on German placeholders!
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