German word of the day: Der Aprilscherz

April Fools' Day looks a little different this Germany and around the world.

German word of the day: Der Aprilscherz

What does it mean? 

Today is Der erste April in Germany, which English speakers know as April Fools’ Day. 

The day can also be referred to simply as Erster April, and it usually involves Der Aprilscherz, or the April prank, joke, or hoax. In Germany, as in many countries, the April Fools’ Prank is very popular to pull on friends, family, or coworkers. 

How is it used? 

Last year’s April Fools’ Day shenanigans involved dogs dressed as guards in Munich’s U-Bahn. Photo: DPA.

In German, fooling someone on the day is described as “sending someone into April” or “jemanden in den April schicken,” a phrase that was first recorded in Bavaria in 1618. 

While the origins of April Fools’ Day are a matter of debate, the German media has long enjoyed pulling pranks on the nation. 

The oldest April joke in a German newspaper was published in 1774. It was a ridiculous set of tips for breeding multicoloured hens. 

April Fools in the corona crisis

Amidst the global coronavirus crisis, April Fools’ Day looks a little bit different in Germany and around the world. 

In 2020, Bundesministerium für Gesundheit (Germany’s Ministry of Health) banned April Fools’ Day jokes regarding coronavirus, noting that it is important to prevent the spread of false information. 

Others took to Twitter to comment on the absence of April pranks in light of the global pandemic.

Heute ist der 1. April. Oder wie es dieses Jahr heißt: Witz, bleib drinnen! #Aprilscherz

This tweet reads: “Today is April 1st, or as it’s known this year, ‘Jokes, stay inside!'” 

Example Sentences: 

Sollen wir jemanden in den April schicken? 

Should we prank someone for April Fools’? 

Viele Leute haben dem Aprilscherz aus der Zeitung geglaubt. 

Many people believed the April Fools’ joke from the newspaper. 


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The new German words that perfectly describe the coronavirus pandemic

From Impfneid (vaccine envy) to Abstandbier (socially distanced beer), these words are so hot right now.

The new German words that perfectly describe the coronavirus pandemic

It’s often said that the Germans have a word for everything – and that’s true in corona times as well. Around 200 new words including Impfneid (vaccine envy) and Abstandbier (socially distanced beer) have been added to a list of new words by the Leibniz Institute for the German language.

1. When it’s all become too much.

For those feeling overwhelmed by the year-long pandemic, there is Coronaangst (Corona anxiety), coronamüde (corona tired) or überzoom (too much zoom).

2. Love in the time of corona

If you have a specific cuddle partner, they are your Kuschelkontact (cuddle contact). More bleakly, Todesküsschen (little kiss of death) has became synonymous with a friendly kiss on the cheek.

3. Keeping your distance from everybody

The term Babyelefant is now a common concept for anyone living in Austria, where we are urged to keep a “baby elephant’s” distance from one another.

A CoronaFußgruß (corona foot greeting) has replaced the traditional handshake upon meeting people. 

4. Panic at the start of the first lockdown

The process of the pandemic can be tracked through new words emerging. At the beginning of lockdown last March, the word Hamsteritis (hamster buying) was widely used, referring to panic buying as similar to a hamster filling its cheeks with food to eat later.

Added to that was Klopapierhysterie, or hysteria over toilet paper running about.

5. Balcony entertainment

As people began singing from their balconies during the spring lockdown, the word Balkonsänger (balcony singer) came into use, along with Balkonklatscher (balcony clapper) Balkonkonzert (balcony concert) and of course Balkonmusik (balcony music).

6. Watching sport during the pandemic

You might want to try out an Abstandsjubeltanz, loosely translated as a socially distanced choreographed dance when celebrating your football team’s win.

7. Mask wearing

The Germans have adopted the British term Covidiot, but have a more specific word of Maskentrottel (mask idiot), for someone who wears their face covering under their nose. A mask worn this way can also be described as a Kinnwärmer or chin warmer.

A mask worn correctly is sometimes referred to as a Gesichtskondom (face condom).

8. Waiting forever for a vaccine

Germany and the EU’s slow vaccine rollout has led to many experiencing Impfneid or vaccine envy as other countries race ahead in vaccinating their citizens. 

The words were found by the team of researchers by combing through press reports, social media and the wider internet.

You can find the whole list of new words here