German word of the day: Die Nervensäge

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Rebecca Spiess - [email protected]
German word of the day: Die Nervensäge
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Are run-of-the-mill insults like "Trottel" (dork) and "Dummkopf" (dunce) not cutting it anymore? We've got you covered.


This German word brings back a lot of memories from my own childhood. Specifically, my older brother introducing me (fondly, but mostly not so fondly) to his friends as "die Nervensäge." 

An inventive playground insult, “Nervensäge” is used to describe someone who is being a pest and nuisance, although the literal translation is much more interesting.

Nervensäge breaks down into “nerve saw” (Nerven=nerves, Säge=saw). Instead of getting on your nerves, someone is “sawing” at them. The word can be applied to any annoying or irritating person.

Whether aimed at siblings, co-workers or friends, it remains a relatively harmless, if not creative, insult.



“Du bist ‘ne echte Nervensäge.”

“You're a pain in the neck.”

“Die Kleine kann wirklich eine Nervensäge sein.”

“The little girl can really be a pest.”



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