German word of the day: Die Nervensäge

Rebecca Spiess
Rebecca Spiess - [email protected] • 21 Oct, 2019 Updated Mon 21 Oct 2019 15:16 CEST
image alt text

Are run-of-the-mill insults like "Trottel" (dork) and "Dummkopf" (dunce) not cutting it anymore? We've got you covered.

This German word brings back a lot of memories from my own childhood. Specifically, my older brother introducing me (fondly, but mostly not so fondly) to his friends as "die Nervensäge." 

An inventive playground insult, “Nervensäge” is used to describe someone who is being a pest and nuisance, although the literal translation is much more interesting.

READ ALSO: Nerdy flowers to alcoholic birds: The 12 most colourful German insults

Nervensäge breaks down into “nerve saw” (Nerven=nerves, Säge=saw). Instead of getting on your nerves, someone is “sawing” at them. The word can be applied to any annoying or irritating person.

Whether aimed at siblings, co-workers or friends, it remains a relatively harmless, if not creative, insult.


“Du bist ‘ne echte Nervensäge.”

“You're a pain in the neck.”

“Die Kleine kann wirklich eine Nervensäge sein.”

“The little girl can really be a pest.”




Rebecca Spiess 2019/10/21 15:16

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