Before you come to Hamburg you should learn the following 15 Hamburg expressions. They will simultaneously help you in certain situations and make it easier for you to get in contact with the locals, because people from Hamburg love it, if you can speak/ try to speak their slang. Each and every one of them is special. Some exist since ages and some are relatively new.
15 Hamburg expressions you need to know before visiting
Let’s say it like this: People from Hamburg are a little different than others. Germans are a special species anyway, but the “Hamburger” definitely stand out. It is rumored, that people from Hamburg are a little “colder” and they do not like to talk to much. And that’s actually the truth. I personally might be an exception, but in general we are not to much into talking. Maybe that comes from the rainy weather or the nordic mentality. Who knows… 🙂
I mean, we have lots of incredible sights to see and things to do as you can read is this post. But before start spreading our unique slang, we need to warm up 😉
Once we are warmed up, then we have a couple unique expressions, that belong to Hamburg like the Eiffel Tower belongs to Paris. Once you have added them to your linguistic repertoire, you can easily fit in here and it will be no effort anymore to get integrated into the Hamburg family.
Nowerdays Hamburg is ranked under the 10 most livable on earth and the typical slang spreads very, very fast…
#1 – “Moin”
“Moin” is the number one word to say from all the Hamburg expressions. It is almost everything you need to know. You MUST be able to say it. „Moin“ is like “Hello” or “Good Day Mate”. The special thing about is, that you use it aaaall day long. You use it in the morning, during midday, in the afternoon and even at night. Don‘t say “Good afternoon”. You just say Moin. Always…
#2 – “Digga”
The second one of the Hamburg expressions you should know is “Digga”. Digga means “Mate”, „Bro“, “Buddy” and much more. It is more of a typical slang word within Hamburg, even though it is used all over Germany already. Still, it belongs to the north originally. You say it before you start a sentence or when you end a sentence. It’s universally usable and one of the main words, which are very typical for Hamburg.
#3 – “Schnacken”
We don’t talk in Hamburg, which would be „reden/ sprechen“ in all the other parts of Germany. We “schnacken”. This is the ultimate word to use, if you want to talk to someone. Does not matter, if it’s a casual or a more private conversation. We just always have a „schnack“ from time to time.
#4 – “Klönen”
Is basically the same like „schnacken“. It is just another term for it. For both expressions you get looked at like you are an alien from another planet, if you use them in other parts of Germany. Not, because they mean something bad, but because they just sound so weird for others.
#5 – “Macker”
A “Macker” is like a “lad” and one of the main Hamburg expressions. It is basically like “Digga”, but with a pronunciation that is even more typical for Hamburg. When you sit in a bar or have a small talk with any random lad on the street, you can use “Macker”. Just be aware, that some people don’t like “Digga” and “Macker” that much, because it can be slightly offensive in certain situations 😉
#6 – “Schmöken”
If you are a non smoker, then this is one of the Hamburg expressions, which you won’t really need. But, if you do smoke, then you can ask people, if they might want to go “schmöken”. People don’t use it thaaat often, but it is definitely a term you should know when you come to our city.
#7 – “Komm in Tüddel”
If you “Komm in Tüddel”, then you are starting to get confused. If you don’t know how to read a city map or you say things incorrectly or anything similar, then this is one of the Hamburg expressions to use. When people from other countries/ cities would use this phrase, people from Hamburg would probably laugh, because it might sound a little weird, if a foreigner would use this term. It would be like me saying the bad Australian expression “Cunt” all the time. It just doesn’t fit 100%. But it would still be funny anyway 😉
#8 – “Büx”
Also make sure to learn “Büx”. It’s one of the most typical Hamburg expressions, even though it is not used that much as well. It basically means “shorts/ trousers”. So, if you search for your keys, you spilled souce while eating or anything that has something to do with your shorts, then use “Büx” to sound like a proper “Hamburger”.
#9 – “Men Jung”
“Men Jung” is one of the Hamburg expressions, that you use, if you want to sound like a local. It has different meanings. It could be “My man”, “Mate”, “My boy”, “My little boy” and much more. Just depends on the situation. The proper translation would be “My boy”, but grown up men and women sometimes use this expression as well while talking to each other.
#10 – “Selter”
A “Selter” is like “Soda/ mineral water”. Easy to pronounce, easy to learn, easy to use!
#11 – “Alsterwasser”
This is also one of the Hamburg expressions, which is insanly typical for our city. In this case people from other cities within Germany would also look at you like you are a big weirdo, if you want to order an “Alsterwasser” in a bar or a restaurant out of Hamburg. It’s basically a “Sprite” – beer mix, which tastes quite nice. The expression derived from the “Alster”, which is a river in Hamburg. So, because in Hamburg beer is like water to us, we drink a water from the Alster. I guess, you get the connection 🙂
#12 – “Schietbüddel”
“Schietbüddel” is sooo typical for this metropole as well. This is one of the Hamburg expressions, which might be missunderstood, if you don’t explain them. If you translate “Schietbüddel” into English, then it means “Shit Bag”. But we don’t mean it in a bad way at all. It’s more of a phrase for very cute, little kids/ babies. So, don’t be suprised. People in Hamburg are just more direct and don’t really mean what they say often times 🙂
#13 – “Franzbrötchen”
Another big one is a “Franzbrötchen”. It’s basically a sweet cinnamon curl. In any other region of Germany it is actually called cinnamon curl as well (translated to English). Just in Hamburg it is different. I honestly don’t have a clou why we do so, but it is how it is. And make sure to give these delicious sweets a try. You’ll fall in love with them. Promised!
#14 – “Mors”
“Mors” means butt. This is a word, which we don’t really use any more, but it’s one of these Hamburg expressions, which will probably be used in for the next 1.000 years, if not longer.
#15 – “Buddel”
The “Buddel” is one of the most important Hamburg expressions. You probably know, we Germans like to drink beer. A lot… So, a “Buddel” is the same as “bottle”. For every other person in Germany it would be a “Flasche”, but as said, we just do it differently sometimes 😉
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