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10 essential phrases to complain about the weather like a German

The German language is especially creative when it comes to complaining about the cold. We break down how native speakers moan about frosty temperatures - and how you can join along.

10 essential phrases to complain about the weather like a German
Matt Hancock would probably enjoy complaining about the weather like Germans do. Photo DPA

Germans love to complain about the weather

The German language has several compound nouns that describe bad weather by adding an adjective or noun to the word weather. Here’s how you can verbally prepare yourself, auf Deutsch, as the temperatures drop. 

READ ALSO: ‘The first snow is in sight’: Germany to see sub-zero temperatures


One of the most common ways to complain about the weather in German is by using the word “Scheißwetter” (shit weather), which means horrible weather. Even though the word is used colloquially, it is still listed in the German dictionary Duden, and defined as “very unpleasant weather”.

“Was für ein Scheißwetter heute.”

“What shitty weather today.”


A very colloquial way to refer to rainy weather is by using the compound word “Pisswetter”. The word is put together by “Piss”, literally meaning piss or figuratively rainy, and Wetter (weather). It is not actually considered a (dictionary) word but it is still frequently used.

“Bei dem Pisswetter brauchen wir definitiv einen Regenschirm.”

“In this rainy weather we definitely need an umbrella.”

Rainy weather and umbrellas in Hesse. Photo DPA


This word adds “Hunde” (dog) to weather and creates a word which often describes rainy or very lousy, beastly weather.

The prefix “Hunde” is often added to words to give a negative connotation and to convey a sense of misery, such as in the word “Hundeelend” which means to feel very lousy, miserable or wretched.

“Heute ist so richtiges Hundewetter bei dem man nicht vor die Tür gehen mag.”

“It is such lousy weather today, where no one wants to go out the door.


Here, “Drecks” (dirt) adds the sense of filthiness to the weather. This word describes the worst of weather, where no one wants to set a foot outside.

“Bei diesem Dreckswetter würde ich lieber nicht das Auto nehmen.”

“I would not take the car out in this filthy weather.”


When adding “Sau” (swine, pig) to a word as a prefix it often refers to something dirty or serves as a intensifiers such as the word very. Here, it is defined as especially terrible and cold weather.

“Muss ich bei dem Sauwetter wirklich zum Training gehen?.”

“Do I really have to go to the training today in this terrible weather?”

There are also several adjective, compound nouns, and verbs that are commonly used to describe bad weather.

Stormy weather in Hamburg, Photo DPA


In its literal meaning, “oll” means old or rundown, but when referring to the weather it means nasty.

“Es ist so oll draußen. Wollen wir heute lieber einen kurzen Spaziergang machen mit dem Hund?”

“It is so nasty outside. Do you want to go for a shorter walk with the dog today?”

READ ALSO: Readers’ tips: Your guide to getting through the German winter


This word defines as scabious or mangy. In this case though, it takes on the colloquial meaning and refers to mangy weather.

“Warum ist das wetter so räudig im Sommer?”

“Why is the weather so nasty in summer time?


This word offers a nicer way to say that the weather is not very pleasant. It means that it is uncomfortable and disquieting.

“Bei diesem ungemütlichen Wetter ist Tee das Beste.”

“In this uncomfortable weather tea is the best.”

Zum Kotzen

If you really want to complain about the nasty weather, then you can say: “Das Wetter ist zum Kotzen!”, which roughly translates to “the weather sucks!”


The colloquial adjective “arschkalt” (ass cold) means freezing cold. If you prefer a less vulgar way to refer to cold weather you would say “eiskalt” (ice cold).

“Es ist arschkalt draußen. Du musst dich wärmer anziehen!”

(It is freezing cold outside. You have to dress warmer!)

“Dieses eiskalte Wetter tut meinen Gelenken weh.”

“This ice cold weather is hurting my joints.”

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Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

The German word 'Wanderlust' means "the desire to travel" and is used even in other languages. Here are some of the other words commonly used in Germany to describe the nation's love affair with travelling.

Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

Germans are very connected to nature and a lot of the activities they routinely do, even in winter, involve staying outdoors. So it’s no wonder the language also reflects that passion for walking, travelling, and spending time in nature.

Some of the German words that are most famous to speakers of other languages reference this passion. Perhaps most notably, the term “Wanderlust” which has made its way to other dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster, with the definition “a strong longing for or impulse toward wandering”.

The word is composed of “wandern“, which means to hike or roam about and “lust“, meaning “pleasure or delight”.

READ ALSO: Holiday like a local: Five of the best camping regions in Germany

This is not the only unique expression the German language has related to travelling. Another of the hard to translate ones is “Fernweh“. It comes from “fern“, meaning “far”, and “Weh“, meaning “pain”. It is used to describe the longing for far-off places – in contrast to “Heimweh”, a feeling many immigrants might be very attuned to and could be translated to homesickness.

The German language also has several interesting and even funny expressions for walkers and travellers alike. The Local talked with German teacher and travel enthusiast Lutz Michaelis to collect a few of the best expressions.

“So weit dich deine/mich meine Füße tragen”

It literally means “as far as my feet will take me” (or alternatively, “as far as your feet will take you”). It is often said as an answer to the question, “where are you going?”.

READ ALSO: Waldeinsamkeit: Five of the best forest walks around Berlin

“Die Sieben-Meilen-Stiefel anhaben”

“To wear the seven-league boots”. This means being able to walk long distances fast. Lutz explains that it was actually based on a trope in French mythology, in which magical boots could help the wearer cover long distances in a short amount of time. Having been used in The Little Thumb by Charles Perrault, the term was brought into the German language by writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

“Wer rastet, der rostet”

The translation would be “he who rests, rusts”. It is used in the German language to say that being in motion is a good thing, not only with travelling but also to incentivise people to keep learning new things.

“Das Reisen kost’t Geld, Doch sieht man die Welt.”

It’s a very common rhyme used to show the downsides and benefits of travelling: “travelling costs money, but one sees the world”.

“Reisende soll man nicht aufhalten.”

It literally means that “travellers shouldn’t be stopped”. However, Lutz explains that the expression is not only used to refer to travellers but also to anyone that might be going through a transitional situation – such as someone wanting to change their jobs, for example.

Rhododendren park Bremen

Rhododendrons bloom in the Rhododendron Park in Bremen. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

“der Weg ist das Ziel.”

One of the most beautiful ones, and many languages have their own version of it. It translates to “the road is the destination”.

Of course, coming back home, especially for those suffering from Heimweh, can also be something beautiful. One common saying is “Wiedersehen macht Freude“, which means that to meet again brings happiness, used among those looking forward to seeing someone again after a long trip.

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

And one more…

In Germany, there is a common joke about finding German people abroad. The rhyme goes “Hüte dich vor Sturm und Wind, und Deutschen, die im Ausland sind“, which could be translated as “Be on your guard for storm and wind, and Germans in a foreign land”.

“It refers both to the bad behaviour of Germans on holidays or travels and a dark joke and a funny nod to the fact that German troops have invaded other countries”, Lutz, who is a German himself, explains.