German Language Blog

Six German Words That’ll Change Your Life Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Language

Guten Tag! Ich hoffe, es geht euch gut. Today I’m bringing you six German words that are all somehow related to feelings you get before, during or after a period of change: The excitement and nervousness of new beginnings, the fear of having run out of time to change your life,  the exhilarating feeling of being free, and more. I am very excited to have found a collection of unique German words that describe those ‘indescribable’ feelings perfectly. Let’s get started!

Sitting at the (almost) top of the world

Photo by ogimogi on under a CC license (CC BY 2.0)



Literally ‘gate shut panic’, this word refers to the anxiety you feel upon realising you’re not getting any younger and you haven’t done very much with your life. Torschlusspanik might be what pushes you to take the leap and make the change you’ve been putting off for so long. Read the full post on this word here.



Is this a German word? Yes and no. It’s a German loanword. It’s not used in the German language anymore, but the word itself is German. ‘Wanderlust’ in English is the desire to travel and see new places. It is made up of the German words wander (from wandern – to explore/hike)  and die Lust – desire/enthusiasm (to confuse things even more, the German word Lust is what is known as a false friend, because it does not have the same meaning as the English word lust!). The ‘real’ German word for wanderlust is…



Literally ‘far/foreign pain’, this word refers to the pain you feel when you think about faraway places you desperately want to visit (again).



So you’ve decided to make the change, be it packing up and going travelling, quitting your job or otherwise, and now you’re experiencing major nerves about actually making the leap. This is what is known as Schwellenangst in German. Made up of the words die Schwelle (threshold/barrier) and die Angst (fear), Schwellenangst is the perfect word to describe the fear you feel as you ‘cross over’. Also, the German verb schwellen – to swell is a perfect visual of the growing/’swelling’ fear and nerves you experience before making a big change in your life!



Literally ‘home pain’ (English: homesick) this is essentially the opposite of Fernweh and is pretty self-explanatory. Heimweh (pronounced Haim-veh) is something we can all relate to.



Literally ‘storm free’, this word describes the feeling of being free and being able to do what you want. This word is used to describe teenagers who have the house to themselves while their parents are away, but it could be relevant to life changes, too – when a teenager moves away to university, for instance, they might feel ‘sturmfrei’ for the very first time.


Have you ever experienced any of these emotions? In what context have you experienced them? Let me know in the comments. I’ll leave you with one more, very important word:

Die Lebensveränderung – The life change.

Bis bald



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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.


  1. Clint:

    Thanks for a good post, Constanze. Could I ask you to please include the definite article with the nouns in future? Thanks!

  2. Frenzina Dcunha:

    The above words are the feelings I feel everyday…..A passion to travel….I am looking for someone who can talk to me in German….I am doing my A2 in German….trying my best though to speak and trying hard enough to find someone to speak…I am good at English so would be glad to teach English in return…..

  3. Daniel:

    On occasion I have questions on German grammar and syntax. Would you be willing to try to answer some of those questions? Daniel

    • Constanze:

      @Daniel Hi Daniel, have a search through the blog archives for the specific topic you’re looking for – if it’s not there, send us a comment about it! 🙂