German word of the day: Der Scherzkeks

Nele Schröder
Nele Schröder - [email protected] • 8 Feb, 2019 Updated Fri 8 Feb 2019 10:53 CEST
image alt text

Today’s word of the day is one that might come in handy during the upcoming Carnival season.


Literally translated, Scherzkeks means “joke cookie.” And as surprising as this might sound, it doesn’t have anything to do with food.

If you are with your friend and he or she is telling joke after joke, making you laugh for hours on end you might end up calling them a Scherzkeks. Hence, a Scherzkeks is a goofy person. Good synonyms would be clown, comedian or joker.

In American English - and perhaps the closest translation - this person could also be described as a wisecracker.

The origins of the word aren’t really known. Scherzkeks is a combination of the words Scherz and Keks. Scherz comes from the mid high German word scherzen, which has been used to describe being joyful since the 13th century.

Keks is a newer word, which the German language actually adapted from the English word “cakes” in the early 20th century. Why exactly these words have been combined isn’t clear.

Calling someone a Scherzkeks doesn’t always mean that the person you’re calling a joker is actually funny though.

In today’s language, it I usually used ironically to call out a person who has just made an inappropriate joke or is just being annoying in their goofiness altogether.

So be careful about your emphasis when calling someone a Scherzkeks. Watch the video below to an explanation in simple German of how to best use a 'laughing cookie.'


Wow, Onkel Klaus, du bist ja heute ein richtiger Scherzkeks.

Wow uncle Klaus, you are a real joker today.


Do you have a favourite word you'd like to see us cover? If so, please email our editor Rachel Stern with your suggestion.



Nele Schröder 2019/02/08 10:53

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