In German, there’s a special word for a really bad idea: Schnapsidee. Directly translated, this word means “booze idea” – and it describes a plan of action that’s so bad that you must have been drunk when you dreamed it up!
The German word Schnaps is a term for clear spirits, but it is often used to refer to alcohol in general. When someone is under the influence of alcohol, they are more likely to come up with crazy ideas that Germans call Schnapsideen. Getting a ridiculous tattoo might be considered a Schnapsidee – especially if you do it impulsively after a few drinks.
But you don’t have to be drunk to have a Schnapsidee. Germans use the term to refer to any outrageous or unrealistic ideas, regardless of your sobriety status. Buying a horse for your backyard is probably a Schnapsidee (unless you live on a farm). For most, base jumping would also be a Schnapsidee – as would be rappelling off the side of a cliff. The term, however, is relative: for some, anything out of the ordinary would be a Schnapsidee, while for the more adventurous, only few things would be an outrageous “booze idea”.
What’s your idea of a Schnapsidee? Having children? Skydiving? Moving to Africa? Let us know in the comments!
By Nicole Glass, German Embassy
3 thoughts on “Word of the Week: Schnapsidee”
my schnapsidee is being alive. and every day brings more blessings!
Would electing an orange tinted man as President qualify as a schwer Schnapsidee?
RE Electing the Idiot in the White House would this a SCHNAPS IDEE