German word of the day: Der Frechdachs

Are your kids behaving cheeky or is your dog being a rascal? Then this German word is the one for you.

German word of the day: Der Frechdachs
Photo DPA

As a kid, did you ever talk back to your parents? Or make a cheeky comment to your teachers?

Of course there's a German word for that.

What does it mean?

Literally “Frechdachs” means naughty badger and refers to a rascal. The equivalent phrase in English could be “cheeky devil”, “cheeky monkey” or, when referring to a child, “little monkey”.

Likewise, it can also refer to someone acting ingenious or impudent.

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

What are its origins?

Apparently badgers are naughty. (Germans also consider them to be cunning).

How is it used?

This lighthearted and common word is used jocularly, especially when referring to children.

You would lovingly say “Frechdachs” to your child when they're playing a joke on you or acting sassy. The word is also used with pets.


“Das war ja wirklich so lustig. Du bist so ein Frechdachs.”

“That was really so hilarious. You are such a rascal.”

“Henry ist wirklich ein richtiger Frechdachs. Er hat mal wieder meine Schlüssel versteckt.”

“Henry really is a rascal. He hid my keys again.”

“Guck mal, Pluto ist so ein Frechdachs. Er hat meinen Schuh geklaut!”

“Look, Pluto ist so cheeky. He stole my shoe!”


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German word of the day: Umstritten

Not everyone agrees on everything - and there are some things almost nobody can agree on. If you find yourself dealing with the latter, you may need to make use of this German word.

German word of the day: Umstritten

Why do I need to know umstritten?

Because umstritten is a handy word that can be applied to multiple situations, but is especially useful when chatting about current affairs or the big social issues of our day. 

You’ll likely come across it while reading articles in German newspapers, or hear your German friends use it while setting the world to rights in the pub. 

What does it mean?

Umstritten is best translated as “controversial” or “disputed” in English. As usual in German, you can easily work out – and remember – what it means by breaking it down into smaller components. 

The first is the prefix um, which tends to mean “around”. Think of German words like umkehren, which means to turn around or reverse, or umarmen, which means to put your arms around someone (or hug them in other words!). 

The second component is the verb streiten, which means to argue. So something that’s umstritten is something that there are lots of arguments around, like a controversial new law, a social debate or a public figure. 

Use it like this: 

Die Pläne der Regierung waren hoch umstritten.

The government’s plans were highly controversial. 

Sein Erbe als Fußballtrainer ist immer noch umstritten.

His legacy as football manager is still disputed today.