Hessian German – Lesson 1

Many travelers crossing Germany or landing in the country stumble across Frankfurt am Main, the city with the biggest airport nationwide, which also hosts the second biggest stock exchange in Europe. Thus, it is one of the most well-known German cities among foreigners. But what do you know about the dialect that is spoken in the region? Have you ever heard about ‘Ebbelwoi’ and ‘Ferz mit Krücke’? I am going to give you the first lesson in Hessian vocabulary here. Have fun while reading and studying intensely, so that you can confabulate with the locals when you get there. You find the Hessian word in italics, then the High German word, followed by an explanation.

aadatsche – antaschen, anfassen. To touch something. Specially used when something is touched that should not be touched.

Banähnsche – Banänchen. A small banana. Good for everything, especially for taking it into football stadiums.

Bembel – Apfelweinkrug. Apple wine jar. Receptacle for the Hessian national drink, the ‘Ebbelwoi’. Placed in the middle of the table so that everyone can pour out his own mouth-watering liquid.

beleidischd Lebberworscht – beleidigte Leberwurst. In the literal sense, this would be a ‘sulky liver sausage‘. Sensitive persons are called that way.

Bibs – Erkältung. ‘To have the bibs’ means to have a cold.

Derrabbel – dünne Person. A skinny person, mostly a male.

Dorschd – Durst. Thirst. Make sure you bring plenty of it when you enter Frankfurt.


Ebbelwoi – Apfelwein. Apple wine – the Hessian national beverage, found all over the place in various bars, restaurants and Ebbelwoikneipen. Rumors say that it was invented in a remote valley in the western parts of Lower Franconia but this is still cloudy.

Ferz mit Krücke – Fürze mit Krücken. ‘Farts with crutches‘. Term for a too ambitious or unnecessary enterprise.

flenne – weinen. To cry. A convenient saying would be ‘flenn net!’ – Don’t cry!

iwwer – über. Meaning ‘over’. Replacing a b by ww is very popular, see for example ‘siwwe’ – sieben (seven).

mer waases net – man weiß es nicht. ‚One does not know‘.  Say this whenever you feel you don’t have anything substantial to contribute.



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