Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oh, for Smurf's sake! Getting German wrong

One of my friends uses a German term, "schimpfen," that means "to scold" or "to reprimand." It's what one might use to describe someone berating a jaywalker for walking when the light is not green for pedestrians. Germans have been known to do this, although I can't say that I haven't been the direct recipient of this yet (thank goodness!).

I was having drinks with an international group and effected quite the laughter when I used what I thought was the correct word. The Germans died laughing, saying that the word I used wasn't a verb, which confused me greatly until they explained that I was using the German word for Smurfs.

So, one doesn't "Schlumpfen" someone else; they would schimpfen. Oy vey, do I feel silly! However, after reading some articles, I did find that in the Smurf world, they DO use the word "smurf" as a verb. So there.


  1. haha! And what does 'to smurf' mean in the Smurf world?

  2. According to Wikipedia, 'A characteristic of the Smurf language is the frequent use of the undefinable word "smurf" and its derivatives in a variety of meanings. The Smurfs frequently replace both nouns and verbs in everyday speech with the word "smurf": "We're going smurfing on the River Smurf today." When used as a verb, the word "Smurf" typically means "to make", "to be", "to like", or "to do".'