Depending on your stereotypes of German speakers, you may or may not be surprised to learn that there are a lot of German words for drunk. This post walks through 18 of them as well as words for discussing the aftermath of a night out. I’ve also put them together as a neat set of free Anki cards so you might have a shot at remembering them when the time comes.
Given that Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world and regularly sees over 6 million tourist annually, its no surprise that typical German stereotypes are usually steeped in beer—so much so that at least one tourist had to ask on the Fodor’s Travel forum: can a non-beer drinker visit Germany?" Is it even possible?
The answer, by the way, is no. I’m not so into beer myself, and I tried to visit Germany dry once. But the border checkpoint guy won’t let you through unless you finish off a full liter of beer (but not French beer) in front of him. Extra points if you drink it out of a boot.
So you’ll definitely need these words…
Jokes aside, if you do ever end up drunk in germanophone company and decide to flex your language skills, you can get by just fine with betrunken alone. An extensive list of synonyms is probably the last thing you’ll remember then anyways. But at least you’ll be well prepared to explain yourself the next day!
The angeheitert-hinüber continuum of German drunkness, with usage notes from a native speaker
While all of these words mean “drunk,” they aren’t all equivalent. Just like “tipsy,” “inebriated,” and “smashed” mean different things and are in very different registers, German words like beschwipst and besoffen mean very different things and aren’t used in the same context. Many are considered slang and could be rude in certain contexts, and others are more formal and more likely to show up in a newspaper than in conversation.
Because drunkenness is apparently pretty nuanced in German, I recruited my boyfriend to use his native speaker’s ear to sort these from least-drunk to most-drunk. He was sweet enough to help out, and provided some notes on connotation as well. But be warned: he’s Austrian, and Austrian German (or “cool German” as Clemens says) can be very different from German-German. So blame him if you raise a few eyebrows after whipping out one of these words in German company. The “super Austrian” words are marked with a little flag. 🇦🇹
Words are listed from least to most drunk, from angeheitert to _hinüber _(which can literally mean dead). Clemens' notes on usage are in parentheses. If you want to have a shot at remembering these in an appropriate context, check out the free Anki deck. It has an image and example sentence for every card, and my German Anki template automatically color-codes nouns by gender, highlights irregular verbs, and generates cloze deletions from example sentences.
I put a lot of love (and anxiety) into making my cards and Anki template, so if you like these decks you can pay-what-you-want. Or you can just download it for free. That’s what I’d do.
Anyways, with all that said: Prost!
18 ways to say “drunk” in German
- angeheitert buzzed, happy
- angetrunken - buzzed (“feeling the alcohol already a bit”)
- beschwipst - tipsy, a little drunk and acting silly
- benebelt - befuddled, a little drunk and confused because of it
- eingespritzt - [🇦🇹] mildly drunk (“has drunk something”)
- alkoholisiert - [formal] intoxicated “only used by police and newspapers”)
- betrunken - drunk (“this is what happens if you continue with trinken”)
- berauscht - [very formal] inebriated
- angesoffen - [very slangy] pretty drunk
- in meinem Öl - [🇦🇹 very slangy] pretty drunk, in my drunkenness (“synonym for angesoffen”)
- besoffen - [very informal] sloshed
- paniert - [🇦🇹 slang] very drunk (“sehr österreichisch, also used for schnitzl”)
- blau - sloshed (“strong word”)
- zu - [very informal] sloshed (“synonym for dicht, blau, besoffen, and voll”)
- dicht - [very informal], sloshed, also means high (“good word”)
- voll - [very informal], sloshed, full
- fett - [🇦🇹 very informal] wasted (“very Austrian, there’s a song about it”)
- hinüber - incredibly wasted (“also means dead, Austrians would say hinig")
Hear some of these words in action in this very Austrian song 🇦🇹 🍻
Did you get any of that? Don’t worry if you didn’t. Österreichisch can sometimes sound like a completely different language from Standard German—and there isn’t just one Österreichisch, either since there are lots of dialects just like in the rest of the German-speaking world. Still, listen to this stuff long enough and it starts to sound more like German. Looking at the lyrics while listening along can help a lot.
The song is pretty funny and worth deciphering. To get you started, the title in Standard German would be “heute bin ich wieder fett wie ein Radierer.” Not to give away the joke, but the song is roughly about how “drunk goggles” can sometimes have rose-colored lenses.
And even if you don’t understand or like the song, check out the comments section for a laugh. The comments sections on old Austrian songs are like some kind of bizzare oasis in the filth ocean of youtube comments sections—they’re always super wholesome. Everyone just seems to want to wave little mini Austrian flags along to the beat and share sentimental childhood memories. And they’re a good place to see how native speakers write online, which isn’t something you’ll find in a textbook.
The aftermath: blackouts & hangovers
Last but not least, some words for the consequences of a long night out. Hopefully you never need this vocabulary, but it’s best to come prepared:
- der Filmriss (-e) - blackout, literally “tear in the film”
- einen Filmriss haben - to black out, to have a blackout
- der Kater (-) - hangover, literally “male cat” (maybe because they yowl?)
- der Katzenjammer (-) - [colloquial] hangover, literally “cat wailing/lamentation”
- einen Kater haben - to have a hangover
- einen Kater auskurieren - to nurse a hangover
- das Katerfrühstuck (-e) - hangover breakfast—where is this word in English?
A very cute hangover
Get the free Anki deck of German words for drunk
That’s it for this booster pack. Don’t forget to check out the Anki decks if that’s your thing. Next time I’ll be sharing a set of hiking-specific words to lend some linguistic authenticity any pandemic daydreams of alpine hiking vacations that you might be nursing. I plan to post a booster pack on the first friday of every month. You can find a list of all of my booster packs and other Anki decks here.
Thanks for reading and leave me a comment below if you liked it or have feedback!
About “booster packs”
I worked part-time in a board game shop a few summers ago, and like many board game shops this one made most of its income selling Magic the Gathering booster packs. While you might not need them to play the game, booster packs what make it fun (or addictive?).
Learning vocabulary isn’t so different. You can get by with just the necessary words and should definitely focus on high-frequency vocabulary to start. But it’s the unnecessary words that make learning the necessary ones worth it.
The idea behind these vocabulary booster packs is to compile words that you wouldn’t usually find in vocabulary list but that are fun, important in certain specific contexts, or actually useful but too charged or taboo for a typical German course to cover—think words like “tampon” or “hiking pole."
I make these booster packs into free Anki decks with images, example sentences, plural forms, verb conjugations with highlighted irregular forms, and cloze deletions for each word. They use a special card format that automatically generates clozes and color-codes based on example sentences (a bit like this one except it works for verbs, too) that can be reused for your own cards as well!
A new booster pack appears on the first friday of every month.