German Language Blog

Jugendsprache – Teenage Slang Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 in Culture, Language

People define themselves via the language they use. When young people reach puberty they try to distance themselves linguistically from their parents and other adults. This results in Jugendsprache (teenage slang). Jugendsprache develops fast because when the words have established within a linguistic system and even adults use the new created words in their speech, teenagers can no longer dissociate from adults. I surfed the web for some of the latest German teenage slang words. With some I had already been familiar with and others amused me a lot. Of course, mostly Jugendsprache is a little bit coarse. Nevertheless, I hope you find it interesting how the German youth labels things and people with their very own language.



1. cancer bed (tanning bed, solarium) = Tussitoaster; Münzmallorca; Klappkaribik

There are different teenage words for Sonnenbank (tanning bed) or Sonnenstudio (tanning salon). The word Tussitoaster is composed by the words Tussi (bimbo, broad = a young girl who likes to dress in saucy clothes and takes care of her appearance in general) and the word Toaster (toaster). So, it literally means “bimbo toaster”.

The word Münzmallorca consists of the word Münze (coin) and Mallorca (Majorca) and I find this blending very creative. It pretends that you can have a short holiday on Majorca by inserting a coin into a machine. By the way, Majorca is a popular travel destination for Germans. Klappkaribik is similar to Münzmallorca. Klapp means “folding-“ and Karibik is Caribbean. So, a tanning bed is a Caribbean that just needs to be unfolded.



2. sloshed (drunken) = gehasselhofft

This is another slang word, which I find very creative and funny. It is derived from the singer and actor Davis Hasselhoff who hit the headlines due to his alcohol escapades. Maybe some of you remember the videos where he tried to eat a burger when he was totally drunk.



3. to macgyver (to improvise) = macgyvern

As you can see this is an English loanword. The TV series MacGyver was and obviously is still very popular in Germany. I also liked to watch it when I was child.



4. cheap vino (cheap wine) = Chateau Migraine

This French term alludes to the French wine-growing area Chateau. For Germans it is a funny term because French wines are supposed to be good and expensive, but when you drink a Chateau Migraine it just causes a headache.



5. backseat driver = Steuerberater

Another word I find hilarious. The word Steuerberater does already exist in German and it means nothing else than tax accountant. But here it is a kind of wordplay. The German word Steuer can mean both in English “tax” and “steering wheel”. A Berater is an advisor. It alludes to the fact Beifahrer (co-drivers) always know best how the driver of a car should drive. Literally, Steuerberater can mean “tax advisor” or here in this case “steering wheel advisor”.



6. pension = Abwrackprämie

This term is politically and economically used and it means “scrapping premium”. Some time ago, the German government decided to support the sales of new cars and promised the people to obtain a subsidy when they scrap their old car and buy a new one. Teenage found that this is a funny term to denote Rente (pension).


Do you now any other German youth slang words or do teenagers in your language use German words in their teenage slang?

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About the Author: Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


  1. shaihulud:

    my mother tongue is Hungarian and it is not just youth slang, that frequently uses German words, but also our common speech. some examples: klassz (Klasse!) when something is excellent/very good; firlefanc (Firlefanz) – when something is just too frippery – mostly in the negative meaning of the word; bagázs (Bagasch) – I think in Germany it is actually said in Hessian dialect, but still we use it for big groups of people, again in a negative sense.

    so far that’s all that came to my mind but for sure there are more – if I remember them, I’ll get back here 😉

  2. Anja-German:

    Awesome post. My favourite is gehasselhofft! A bit sad though, he’s the hero of my childhood.

    @shaihulud, the word “Bagasch” or “Bagage” is also used in the dialect spoken in the German state of Saarland where I grew up, it’s in the south west of Germany, close to France and Luxembourg. We pronounce the second “a” very long, imitating the French pronunciation of bagage (luggage). Saarländer also use it to express something like “That group of noisy people over there.” which translates to something that sounds like “Dat bagage lo drübben.” in Saarländisch. The Hungarian word bagázs seems to have the same meaning. That’s awesome! I had no idea. You made my day.