The German word ‘der Miesepeter’ is mainly used to describe a person who is constantly in a bad mood and is prone to raining on other peoples’ parade.
Their grumpy state of mind can often be infectious and bring down the mood in the room. Some equivalent terms in the English language would be ‘misery guts’, ‘sour puss’ or even ‘party pooper’.
It can also be used in a humorous and mocking way toward friends who seem to ‘have the hump’ for no particular reason.
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It is unclear why ‘Peter’ was the name chosen for this particular term, although it was at one time one of the most popular names in Germany.
The word ‘mies’ comes from the Yiddish word ‘mies’ and means ‘mean’, ‘wretched’ or ‘lousy’.
‘Mies’ can be found in other similar terms such as ‘der Miesmacher’ which refers to a killjoy or defeatist.
The term ‘Miesepeter’ can also be turned into a noun, ‘die Miesepetrigkeit’ (grouchiness) or the adjective ‘miesepeterig’ (grouchy, grumpy).
Du hast den ganzen Tag nicht einmal gelächelt. Warum bist du so ein Miesepeter?
You haven’t smiled once today. Why are you being such a Debbie Downer?
Ich will kein Miesepeter sein, aber ehrlich gesagt habe ich keine Lust darauf, heute Abend rauszugehen.
I don’t want to be a party pooper but honestly, I am not in the mood to go out tonight.