5 ways to talk about the heat like a true German

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
5 ways to talk about the heat like a true German
A woman pours mineral water into her mouth. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

With another heat wave hitting the Bundesrepublik this week, here are some of the German phrases that will help you express yourself in the hot weather.


1. Mir ist heiß

Firstly, it’s worth pointing out how to correctly express the fact that you’re hot in German.

In German, you say mir ist heiß using the dative form of the personal pronoun ich.


Be careful not to directly translate the English sentence “I am hot” into ich bin heiß as most Germans will understand this to mean that you are hot in a more sensual sense of the word.


Mir ist heiß, so furchtbar heiß.
I am hot, so terribly hot.
Mir ist es hier zu heiß.
It's too hot for me here. 

2. Was für eine Affenhitze!

Baboons sit in the shade of a rock in their enclosure at Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Rebecca Krizak

The word Affenhitze is a colloquial term used for very high temperatures and literally means "monkey heat". It’s widely believed that the term first appeared at the end of the 18th century in Berlin.

At that time, the monkey house in the Berlin Zoological Garden was known for being extremely hot, so people started to speak about "heat like in the monkey house''. Over time, the phrase became shortened into the phrase widely used today.


Morgen herrscht wieder eine Affenhitze.

Tomorrow will be another scorcher.

3. Es ist brütend heiß!

Two chickens walk over a bale of straw at Gut Mahndorf in Mahndorf, Saxony-Anhalt.

Two chickens walk over a bale of straw at Gut Mahndorf in Mahndorf, Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Matthias Bein

The adjective brütend comes from the verb brüten meaning to breed or to incubate. It is likely, therefore, that it made its way into common parlance about the weather, from the fact that raising younglings involves keeping them nice and warm.

Hier drin ist brütend heiß!

It's sweltering hot in here!

4. Ich schmore in diese Hitze

More commonly used in the cooking lexicon, the verb schmoren meaning 'to stew', or 'to sizzle' is often used to express the feeling of being exposed to high temperatures.  A comparable English phrase would be, "I am sizzling in this heat".

5. die Sonne knallt!

A poppy flower shines in the light of the midday sun on a field near Frankfurt (Oder) in Brandenburg. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Patrick Pleul

One popular expression to do with the heat focuses on the source of the problem itself. The verb knallen means "to bang" or "to slam".


Die Sonne knallt auch wenn es bewölkt ist!

The sun is blazing even when it's cloudy!


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