7 Words That’ll Win You the Heart of a Wiener

No matter how well you speak German, these words will impress any Viennese.

Learning German is hard. But Viennese, that’s your Haberer. Austrians may nod approvingly if you put together a coherent sentence, harmonizing the Akkusativpronomen correctly with the subject. But they’ll adore and abbussel you if you enrich your vocabulary with just one word of Wienerisch. So, here’s our crash course.


The Viennese adore babies, but they also adore small dogs. And, of course, they adore it when somebody proves beyond reasonable doubt just how idiotic he or she is (what’s German for Schadenfreude again?). Luckily, one word fits the bill for all these purposes! A Zwutschgerl is originally a little kid or baby, but of course it can also be applied lovingly to fun-sized four-legged friend and, reproachfully, for anyone behaving like a real Depp.


A couple of years later, your Zwutschgerl may well turn into a Strizzi. (And no, we don’t mean a chihuaha becoming a German shepherd). Somewhat mischievous yet mostly adorable boys are lovingly called Strizzi. Cute, isn’t it? Before we forget, though, better not call an adult man that – unless you want to make it perfectly clear that they are a pimp.


The Viennese have an opinion on everything, but that doesn’t mean they want to get involved. So they came up with the fitting word Gschaftlhuaba for any busybody who needs to be constantly active. Can’t people just stand on the sidelines and complain, as any sensible Wiener would do?


Viennese wordsWhether you’re shopping for groceries or a new laptop, a Sackerl is how you bring it home. Beware of ever (!) using the word Tüte if you need a bag – in Vienna, you will just earn offended stares (weirdly enough, you can easily order a Tüte of ice cream; but Stanitzel is the more apt Wienerisch term). Finally, also beware of Sacklpicker – literally translated as “bag glu-er.” That’s what the Viennese call convicts.


Viennese wordsA Strawanza is somebody who gallivants all over town. Well, not quite perhaps. While the English verb “gallivanting” comes from the French gallant, i.e. the process of gallantly winning a lady’s heart, the Viennese strawanzen derives from the Italian stravagante, meaning strange, weird or extravagant. Well, I guess you know what kind of people roam Vienna’s streets.


Viennese wordsNow if you put them all together – the Zwutschgerl large and small, the Strizzis and Gschaftlhuabas, the Sacklpicker and Strawanzer – you most certainly get a huge Palawatsch. That is, sheer pandemonium– certified by Italians, who gifted us this word, originally balordaggine (clumsiness). The best thing you can do at such a time is just sit down and enjoy a tasty Palatschinke – the sweet pancake the Bohemians gave us to deal with all this Italian-induced chaos.


Viennese wordsAt the end, though, there is just one word to describe them all and our city. Wien ist einfach leiwand. Stated with the right intonation and conviction, a firm leiwand in pretty much any situation that’s cool, fresh, ace, sweet, cray-cray, savage, sharp, noice, or whatever else you can come up with, will melt the frozen (yet golden) Viennese heart.

Benjamin Wolf
Benjamin studied Journalism, History and International Affairs. After stints with Cafébabel in Paris and Arte in Strasbourg, he is now working as managing editor and COO for Metropole in Vienna. Fields of expertise are politics, economics, culture, and history.Photo: Visual Hub

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


RECENT Articles

Vienna’s Ultimate Swimming Pool Guide

It will be a summer like no other. This year due to corona, many Viennese will opt to spend a good part of their holiday in the city and surroundings. Lucky for us, there are few better places for relaxing in the shade and swim in pools or rivers than Vienna.

The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | School Vacations Started

With summer approaching, new challenges await Austria in dealing with the coronavirus. Here’s all you need to know about current measures and developments, including trusted sources and tips – regularly updated.

Liberal Freedom and Its Flip Side

The renewed struggle against discrimination is really two struggles: one about rights, the other about opinion.

Taste of India | Keep Calm and Curry On

Nestled in the 3rd district, The Taste of India’s second location serves authentic North Indian cuisine in a cozy atmosphere, balancing food and feeling.

Traditional Brand Icons and the New Sensitivities of Race

The worldwide Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has now spilled over onto the supermarket shelves. A look at Austria’s own racially problematic icons.

Grey Wolves Howl in Favoriten

Turkish political violence has spilled over on to the streets of Vienna: The hard right Grey Wolves confront an alliance of Kurdish and left wing protesters in the 10th District.


Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.