German word of the day: Kiffen

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
German word of the day: Kiffen
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

With Germany having now partially legalised cannabis, you may have seen this word a lot lately - and could hear it a fair bit more in the future.


What does it mean and how do you say it?

Kiffen is a slang verb specifically used for smoking cannabis.

You wouldn’t use kiffen for smoking a regular cigarette or cigar. There, you would use the proper term for smoking, rauchen. With that it mind, think of kiffen as being similar to “toking up” in English. You can also say rauchen to mean smoking marijuana, but kiffen makes it very clear what you’re smoking.

How do you use it or where might you see it?

Unlike Bubatz, which is an oft-used slang noun for “cannabis” – kiffen is a bit more mainstream.

You can use it in casual or formal situations, provided of course that you’re in the company of people who are fine talking about cannabis. When the government first unveiled its draft law legalising cannabis in Germany, many mainstream German media outlets did in fact use kiffen in their headlines. Bubatz, by contrast, would only likely be used in less mainstream media.

READ ALSO: German word of the day: Bubatz


Because kiffen is a verb, you conjugate it just like you would any other German verb.

You can use the infinitive when saying something like wir kiffen zusammen in einem neuen Social Club, or “we smoke weed together at a new social club,” or when talking about more than one person, such as the title of this YouTube video – in which comedians on the satirical Heute Show smoke up.

It’s called Cannabis-Legalisierung: Fabian und Lutz kiffen (für die Wissenschaft) or “Cannabis Legalisation: Fabian and Lutz smoke up for science.”

Use it like this:

Ich kiffe jetzt bei meinem Freund

I’m smoking weed right now at my friend’s place.

Das passiert, wenn man täglich kifft.

This happens when you smokes weed daily.

READ ALSO: Germany gives controversial green light to cannabis


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