Most people will know the feeling: you have an exam coming up and have to work and study extra hard in preparation – often cramming in revision the night before.
Not to be confused with the German word for Buffalo: “der Büffel”, büffeln as a verb that roughly translates to “cramming”.
However there may be some connection to the wild animal – revising to the point of feeling like an overworked buffalo or ox before the plough. Similarly, even the verb “ochsen” is used to signify working diligently at something, with the root of the word stemming from the German word for ox “Ochse”.
Büffeln is a colloquial term (or umgangssprachlich), which can have similar connotations to the British informal term “swot” – a student, perhaps a teacher’s pet, working extremely hard. The noun form of the word, “der Büffler”, can therefore be used in this context.
Other study terms that are used synonymously to büffeln are pauken, bimsen or stucken.
The first university semester is coming to an end for many students in Germany, meaning exam season is coming up and a lot are surely planning on some “büffeln” (me included!).
Ich kann heute Abend nicht feiern gehen, ich muss für meine Prüfung morgen büffeln.
I can’t go out tonight, I have to cram for my exam tomorrow.
Obwohl ich versuche, im Voraus zu lernen, scheine ich immer in letzter Minute zu büffeln.
Although I try to study in advance, I always seem to cram at the last minute.