German word of the day: Meckern

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Kathrin Thams - [email protected]
German word of the day: Meckern
Photo DPA

If you love complaining, then this German word is just right for you.


What does it mean?

“Meckern” means  to complain, bitch, nag, whine, or criticize, depending on in which context you are using the term and what you desire to express with it.

READ ALSO: 10 essential phrases to complain about the weather like a German

It is also used to refer to the sound that goats make, for example “Ziegen meckern” (Goats bleat).

How is it used?

This colloquial phrase mostly expresses dissatisfaction, annoyance or anger.

Often the act of “meckern” is viewed as unnecessary and irritating, because it is not a single complaint, but usually a constant nagging.

British politician Matt Hancock might be able to 'meckern' like the Germans. Photo: DPA

You would use “meckern” to complain about something that is not really a big problem, but when you’re simply in a bad mood. For example, nagging about the weather, or complaining about the prize you won at the raffle.

Sometimes you just “mecker” for the sake of complaining.

But it is also used in a humorous, endearing sense to note that someone loves complaining, almost as if it were their hobby. 

A few words have even developed from “meckern”, such as “Meckerziege” (Grouchy goat), “Meckertante” (Complaining aunt) or “Meckerliese” (someone who constantly complains).


“Hör mal auf zu Meckern. Es nervt langsam.”

“Stop complaining. It’s getting annoying.”

“Na du Meckerliese.”

(Here it is used in a humorous, endearing way to express that the other person, once again, is complaining a lot.)

“Du bist wirklich eine Meckertante.”

“You really are a complainer.”




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