You Think That’s English?

There are several English words that have made their way into the German language, but take on a completely different meaning.

Let’s look at three of them today: beamer, oldtimer and body bag.

If you talk about a ‘beamer’ in the English-speaking world, people will think you’re talking about a ‘BMW’. You most probably mean a ‘projector‘.

If I talk to you about ‘oldtimers’, I mean elderly people. But you probably think I’m talking about cars. The English translation of ‘ein Oldtimer’ is ‘a vintage car‘ or ‘a classic car‘!

A ‘body bag’ is used to carry a dead body from a battlefield or the scene of an accident or crime (in German a ‘Leichensack’). What you most probably are thinking about is a ‘bum bag‘ (that’s British English), a ‘fanny pack‘ (that’s American English) or even a ‘messenger bag’.

Of course, we native speakers in Germany will probably understand you. But other native speakers might be confused.



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