German word of the day: Der Ohrenschmaus

Charlotte Hall
Charlotte Hall - [email protected]
German word of the day: Der Ohrenschmaus
If you're deeply engrossed in the music you're listening to, like this man in Berlin, it could be said to be 'ein Ohrenschmaus'. Photo: DPA

Here's why this melodic word is a feast for the ears.


The word Ohrenschmaus is used to describe something that sounds so heavenly and delightful to listen to, that it’s as good as eating an entire banquet on your own. 

If you hear an amazing song for the first time, you might describe it as an Ohrenschmaus. Equally, it can be used for when somebody says exactly the thing you want to hear (“Germany's Bezirksämter have decided to use email to communicate," for example). 

READ ALSO: Music to our ears: The top 10 melodic German phrases

It’s a compound word made of the German word for ears “Ohren” and the word “Schmaus”, which is a particularly delicious and hearty meal eaten with much enjoyment (yes, there’s a word that). 


Ohrenschmaus is a funny example of synesthesia, the mixing up of senses. 

Synesthesia is quite common in language, especially in literature. There are some phrases that are so widely used, we hardly even notice that they’re synesthesia, such as “smooth voices”, “feeling blue”, or “warm colours”. 

In this case, we are meant to notice the synesthesia of hearing (Ohren) and tasting (Schmaus). Ohrenschmaus is meant to be a little bit silly, there’s a sense of comic exaggeration. 

Perhaps some of the humour also lies in the fact that the pronunciation of Ohrenschmaus is not exactly an example of a “delightful sound”. 


Das Konzert war ein Ohrenschmaus!

The concert was a feast for the ears! 

Das Abendessen ist fertig - das ist ein Ohrenschmaus für mich.

Dinner is ready - these words are a feast for my ears.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also