German word of the day: Die Petze

Kathrin Thams
Kathrin Thams - [email protected]
German word of the day: Die Petze
Photo: Depositphotos

This popular word is used mostly for children who snitch.


What does it mean?

The colloquial word  “Petze” means tattletale, or snitch or tell-tale in British English, and has been used since around the 18th century.

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Usually, it is a child who squeals to the teacher or to their parents on how another child behaved wrongly, or they reveal someone’s secret by betraying their trust.

Often a “Petze” longs to receive praise for the information that they spoiled, or is eager to have the other person punished.

The classic image of children who 'petzen' to their peers, or a parent or teacher. Photo: Depositphotos/

How is it used? 

It is mainly used by younger students who like to gossip frequently. 

Most of the time, it is used in the verb form: “petzen”.


“Eric hat mal wieder der Lehrerin gepetzt, dass ich meine Hausaufgaben nicht gemacht habe.”

"Eric snitched to the teacher again that I did not do my homework"


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