My favorite (descriptive if not lengthy) German word is Froschmausekrieg. It means "war between the frogs and the mice" and the file in this photo was so named by Helen Dukas (Einstein's secretary and literary executor) to describe the long and bitter dispute between the School of Math and the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study. A good word to know when facing such a dispute.Link to full-size. (Thanks, George!)
Reader comment: Michael Shaughnessy of Washington and Jefferson College says,
The German word should be Froschmäusekrieg with an umlaut over the 'a' (alt 132) It is actually a poem attributed to Homer (Batrachomyomachia) and is a good satire about the pointlessness of war or feuding. But for more fun -- and real -- German words, see my visual lexicon for German: Link.
Reader comment: kurt von finck says,
Another great German word is "lustigmacabre." "Lustig" means funny, the rest you can figure out. Think "Hitler in a tutu." Only the Germans ...
Reader comment: Roger Braun says,
I don't want to spoil the fun, but don't go around telling Germans how "lustigmacabre" something is. I am a native german speaker and have never heard the word, and neither has Google (It's still a nice word, it's just not german). Rather give a link to Mark Twain essay about the awful german language (Link) which is also mostly correct ;-) Or try to figure out what "Donaudampfschiffahrtskapitänskajütentürschlüsselbart" means...
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.