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German Expressions for Crazy, Part I

We already discussed a number of German words that may be translated as "crazy" in a couple of previous lessons. These include the adjectives verrückt, wahnsinnig, irre, and bescheuert, as well as the verbs spinnen and piepen. Let's take a look today at German expressions and idioms relating to "crazy."


But please remember: while it may be perfectly polite to use such expressions regarding objects or situations, it’s rude and aggressive to use them to describe people. The German Duden dictionary even warns: The reference of the adjective "crazy" (and words derived from it) to mentally or psychologically ill people is strongly discriminatory. It also might get somebody very angry with you, so it's a better policy to be polite!


Ich will den Verstand verlieren.

I want to lose my mind.

Caption 12, Christina Stürmer: Neue Single

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The expression den Verstand verlieren is perfectly paralleled in English. The expression nicht bei klarem Verstand sein has the similar meaning "to be out of one's mind."


Erst mal muss man eine Macke haben, denn wir haben einen Haufen Geld investiert.

First of all you have to be crazy, because we've invested a bunch of money.

Captions 26-27, Summer Cheergirl: Fotoshooting mit lebendigen Spinnen

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This idiom is slang, and the literal translation of eine Macke is "a defect" or "deficiency."


Hast du noch alle Tassen im Schrank?

Have you gone crazy?

Caption 35, Die Pfefferkörner: Endspurt

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The above phrase translates literally to "Do you still have all of your cups in the cupboard?" This expression is similar to the English expression "Have you lost your marbles?"


Du bist nicht ganz dicht!

You're crazy!

Caption 4, Es war einmal: Archimedes

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The adjective dicht means, in this context, “sealed,” “waterproof,” “airtight,” or “leakproof.” The expression is somewhat similar to the English expression "to come unhinged."


Du tickst doch nicht mehr ganz richtig.

You've lost your mind.

Caption 54, Die Pfefferkörner: Endspurt

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The slang idiom nicht richtig ticken is literally "not ticking correctly," such as when a clock is not working correctly. This is similar to the English expression "to become unwound."


Further Learning
You can review the lessons Are You Crazy? and "Crazy" in Slang and Idiom to review the adjectives and verbs mentioned above. Then go to Yabla German and watch the full videos for the above captions to get a better feel for the contexts in which they are used.

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