German word of the day: Wonneproppen

Imogen Goodman
Imogen Goodman - [email protected]
German word of the day: Wonneproppen
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

If you or a friend has recently welcomed a tiny new addition to the family, this is a German word you'll want to know.


Why do I need to know Wonneproppen?

Because this adorable little word is a need-to-know when talking about young babies, and also has an interesting literal translation.  

What does it mean? 

Der Wonneproppen (pronounced like this) is a lighthearted term of endearment that's usually used to described cute, chubby, chuckling little babies. It can be well translated in English as "bundle of joy", though it also has a jokey association with being a little tubby, or having baby fat.

In literal terms, it's a combination of the noun 'die Wonne', meaning joy or happiness, and a colloquial pronunciation of 'der Propfen', which means something like a bottle-stop or cork. So a giggling little baby is rather sweetly described as a cork of happiness due to its infectious joy and its short, round physique. 

A baby lying down

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

As a German learner, you're likely to have learned 'die Freude' as the best translation of 'joy' in German. However, die Wonne can also be used when you're looking for a slightly more elegant or formal way to describe overwhelming bliss or happiness. In other words, the type of joy new parents are likely to feel when their newborn arrives in the world. 


Use it like this: 

Was für ein Wonneproppen der Kleine ist!

What a bundle of joy this little one is!

Mein Mann passt auf den kleinen Wonneproppen heute Abend. 

My husband is watching the little bundle of joy tonight.


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