Sorry! Search is currently unavailable while the database is being updated, it will be back in 5 mins!

German Expressions for Crazy, Part II

We already discussed a number of German words that may be translated as "crazy" in a couple of previous lessons, including Part I of this lesson. These include the adjectives verrückt, wahnsinnig, irre, and bescheuert, as well as the verbs spinnen and piepen. Let's take a look today at some more 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 may be rude 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!


Also, die hat so derart einen Sprung in der Schüssel, du!

That is, she's crazy, you know!

Caption 4, Tatortreiniger: E.M.M.A. 206

 Play Caption


The German idiom einen Sprung in der Schüssel haben literally means "to have a cracked bowl." One meaning of the English idiom "to be cracked" means "crazy" too.


Ja, vielleicht bin ich auch irgendwie durchgeknallt.

Yes, perhaps I am also somehow crazy.

Caption 3, Luxuslärm: Einmal im Leben

 Play Caption


Bist du völlig durchgeknallt?

Are you completely insane?

Caption 27, Gran Paradiso Kapitel 2: Eine Bergtour

 Play Caption


Hat die einen Knall?

Is she crazy?

Caption 36, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

 Play Caption


The adverb/adjective durchgeknallt could be literally translated as "popped through," but the proper translation is "crazy" or one of its many synonyms. The German noun der Knall means a loud noise like a "bang" or a "pop," but einen Knall haben means "crazy." 


Nur Flausen in der Birne und nichts im Gehirne!

Only fluff in the head and nothing in the brain!

Caption 27, Es war einmal: das Leben Die Zelle

 Play Caption


The noun die Birne actually means "pear" but is used in much like the English slang "noggin" or "bean" to mean "head." The phrase eine weiche Birne haben is similar to the deprecating English phrase "to be soft in the head" or "crazy."


Er sei vollkommen unsichtbar für jeden, dem etwas im Oberstübchen fehlte.

It was entirely invisible to anyone who is stupid.

Caption 27, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Des Kaisers neue Kleider

 Play Caption


If somebody "is missing something upstairs," they don't feel that this person is very smart. But if something "is not quite right in their back room" (nicht ganz richtig im Hinterstübchen sein), then somebody thinks this person is crazy!


Die sind total bekloppt. Los! Kommt mit!

They are totally nuts. Get moving! Come on!

Caption 8, CHoE Rocker: Wahlbetrug 2009? Der Videobeweis!

 Play Caption


The translator of the caption above chose "nuts" for bekloppt, but any synonym of "crazy" could work. According to DWDS, the word originates from the verb klopfen ("to knock").


Further Learning
You can review the first part of this lesson, and 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.

You May Also Like