Six odd ways Germans talk about the weather

The Local Germany
The Local Germany - [email protected]
Six odd ways Germans talk about the weather
Two pedestrians attempt to protect themselves from the rain in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Is it absolutely roasting, or raining cats and dogs? Neither if you live in Germany. Here are six wonderfully weird expressions (at least to non-native speakers) that Germans use to talk about the weather - some more literal than others.


das Hundewetter

Two pugs sit together. Photo: DPA

Although the literal translation is "dog weather," they probably don't mean a cute little Chihuahua or an over-friendly Labrador.

Das Hundewetter is used to describe weather that's particularly vicious or beastly – for example, the 1968 short film "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day" became "Winnie Puuh und das Hundewetter" in German.

There's usually a few of these days at this time of year. 

das Kaiserwetter

Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, aged 25 in 1792. Image: By unknown. Zesarewitsch/ Wikipedia Commons

So what's the opposite of dog in German weather idioms? An emperor, apparently.

"Emperor weather" - Kaiserwetter - means clear skies, magnificent sunshine and all-round glorious weather – a royally good day, in short.

die Affenhitze

A gorilla. Photo: DPA

We're not sure what it is about monkeys that gets the Germans all hot and bothered, but "monkey heat" or Affenhitze refers to awful, baking heat – a scorcher of a day that's just too hot to handle.


etwas Sonne tanken

Sunbathers catch some rays in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA

Tanken is the word for filling your car with petrol, so this literally translates as filling up on sunshine. Etwas Sonne tanken means to catch some rays, and soak up the sun.

And if it means we can store up a bit of summer warmth to cut down our heating bills during the winter, we're all for it (and yes, we can't wait for spring even though it's currently December).

du siehst aus wie ein begossener Pudel!

A poodle takes a bath. Photo: DPA

Naturally, Germans can't fill up on sun all year round – but when someone's been caught in a rainstorm, what's a slightly more polite way of saying they look like a drowned rat? Calling them a soaked poodle, apparently - du siehst aus wie ein begossener Pudel!

Although if they've just stumbled in cold and drenched from the pouring rain, it's probably best to avoid the name-calling for a while.

ein Gesicht wie sieben Tage Regenwetter

Two pedestrians attempt to protect themselves from the rain in Berlin. Photo: DPA

And if you're in a really bad mood, you might find yourself being told you've got "a face like it's been raining for a week" or ein Gesicht wie sieben Tage Regenwetter.

The rain gets everyone down, it seems. Now, bring back some of that monkey heat.

By Hannah Butler


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also