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12 Uniquely German Illnesses That We Have No Word For

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I’ve always had a secret desire to learn German, because it seems like an extremely descriptive language.

Sure, even a simple recipe for cake can sound like you’re summoning the devil because of how harsh German sounds to the ear, but you’ve got to hand it to them for coming up with words to describe things most of us would never think of.

#1. Zivilisationskrankheit

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This “civilization sickness” is a blanket term that can encompass any illness brought on by living in the modern world (anxiety, carpal tunnel, type 2 diabetes, etc).

#2. Kreislaufzusammenbruch

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This is a super long word that technically means “circulatory collapse” but actually means “feeling woozy.” That’s it.

#3. Ichschmerz

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Like the term above, but to describe dissatisfaction with yourself rather than the world.

#4. Fernweh

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If you’ve got the opposite of homesickness – a longing for travel or wanderlust – this is the word for you.

#5. Föhnkrankheit

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A föhn is a wind that cools air as it draws up one side of a mountain, then warms as it compresses coming down the other side. The winds are believed to cause headaches and other feelings of illness.

#6. Putzfimmel

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Putzen means “to clean” and fimmel is a mania or obsession. You can put them together, and even though people go through it elsewhere, in Germany it’s a common occurrence (possibly because it’s fun to say).

#7. Lebensmüdigkeit

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Despair or world-weariness, but literally “life tiredness,” Germans use it to describe people taking stupid chances with their own life.

#8. Werthersfieber

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Werther, the main character in Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, is a lovesick lad whose affections ultimately go unrequited (after which he decides to commit suicide). Now, the term translates to “Werther’s fever” and is used to describe a miserable crush.

#9. Zeitkrankheit

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It means “time sickness” or “illness of the times” and is used to describe whatever backward mindset and/or practices are attached to a particular era.

#10. Torschlusspanik

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This “gate closing panic” describes the anxiety that comes with the awareness that your opportunities wane as the years of your life slip by and the “gates close” forever. Uplifting, right?

#11. Hörsturz

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You can actually only contact hörsturz in Germany, because the sudden, stress-related hearing loss pretty much only happens there. Or so they say.

#12. Weltschmerz

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It means “world pain” and is a sadness brought on by the reality that the world will never be as you wish it.

Isn’t language fun?