German word of the day: Pfiffig

Rebecca Spiess
Rebecca Spiess - [email protected] • 7 Nov, 2019 Updated Thu 7 Nov 2019 09:11 CEST
image alt text

Think someone is cute, smart and sexy? Germans have one word to describe all three.

Pffifig. A term I'm sure many of us aspire to be, even those of us that haven't heard the word before. 

When broken down, "Pfiff" simply describes the sound of a whistle (Pfeifen is the actual act of whistling). But the word has a few additional meanings.  

For example, something that has "Pfiff" possesses a certain charm or alluring quality. Snazzy or stylish might be an apt English equivalent. Additionally, someone who has Pfiff is someone who knows the ropes. A competent worker or someone who is getting the hang of something is gaining Pfiff.

Therefore, when someone is described as "Pfiffig," it can refer to any, or all, of the above definitions. Adept and shrewd, someone described as "Pfiffig" can be both competent and alluring. Someone has the "it" factor. 

Celebrities George and Amal Clooney, both often described as being 'Pfiffig'. Photo: DPA


"Rebecca ist eine echt pfiffige Frau." 

"Rebecca is smart as a whip, great at her job, and overall I'd like to be her friend."

I may have taken it a bit too far; Here, a better translation: "Rebecca is a very clever, capable woman."

"Man könnte sagen, dass Indian Jones pfiffig ist."

"You could say that Indiana Jones is foxy."





Rebecca Spiess 2019/11/07 09:11

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