German Language Blog

Untranslatable German Words: Arschgeweih Posted by on Aug 29, 2015 in Culture, Language

Guten Tag! Welcome to another edition of German untranslatable words, dedicated to teaching you quirky German words, their meanings, and how to use them!

Today the word is das Arschgeweih.

What does Arschgeweih literally translate to?
This German compound noun is made up of the words der Arsch (butt/ass/arse) + das Geweih (antlers). Its literal translation, therefore, is ‘arse antlers’.

What does Arschgeweih mean?
Although an Arschgeweih sounds a bit like it’s describing a deformed deer, it is in fact referring to the tattoos that sit just above the bum, on the lower back. I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but tattoos in this area often do look like antlers…

Ordinary People

Photo: faceme on under CC BY 2.0


Photo: angeldye on under CC BY-ND 2.0

That’s the beauty of these German words – they make you see things in a different light! 😉

How would you use Arschgeweih in a sentence?
Wie kriegen wir das Arschgeweih wieder weg?
How can we remove an Arschgeweih?

In German, Arschgeweih is a common term for antler-like tattoos on the lower back, but it does carry negative connotations. You’re unlikely to go into a tattoo parlour and actually ask for an ‘Arschgeweih’, for example!

What is the nearest English equivalent to Arschgeweih?
What the Germans call butt antlers, the English call a tramp stamp. But the German language has an alternative word to Arschgeweih, which is closer in meaning to the English tramp stamp:

Der Schlampenstempel – made up of the words die Schlampe (tramp – in this context, referring to a promiscuous woman) + der Stempel (stamp/imprint).

Related tattoo vocabulary:
to tattoo (verb) – tätowieren
Tattoo (noun) – die Tätowierung, or simply das Tattoo, the same as in English
Tattoo artist – der Tätowierer
Tattoo studio – das Tattoostudio
Skin – die Haut
Ink – die Tinte
Needle – die Nadel
Tattoo pattern/photo – die Tattoovorlage
Body modification – die Körpermodifikation

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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. Allan Mahnke:

    Schlampstempel I would have understood immediately. Arschgeweih is another matter. Without a fair amount of context I would have been lost! I think These are things that those of us who do not have the opportunity for regular contact with vernacular German culture are helped when we know. Many, many thanks!

  2. Joseph T. Madawela:

    very helpful to know German words that are used in popular culture. Though it’s very unlikely that this would ever remotely be applicable to me. But still,knowledge is power!

  3. Brightstar:

    Hi Constanze,
    Great opportunity to be exposed to these words before being in contact with the vernacular language.

    I tried to do the quiz for no avail, far too difficult for me. Have you posted something on the untranslatable words included in the quiz? I didn’t find them in the archives.

    Have a lovely day.

    • Constanze:

      @Brightstar Hey, Brightstar! All of the answers to the quiz are in the posts linked to at the bottom of it, should you want to give it another go. I might’ve been a little too ambitious with it, though. If I do another one, I’ll make it simpler. Thanks for the feedback. 🙂 x