German word of the day: Fuchsteufelswild

When you see someone who is fuchsteufelswild, you should probably leave the room immediately – or be very careful about your next words. That is because fuchsteufelswild, literally translated to “fox-devil-wild,” means “furious” or “hopping mad.”

Time’s running out to join the Lingoda Language Marathon. Click here to learn German for free! Limited places, offer ends soon.

The adjective has quite an early origin. Its first appearance, where it was still called fuchswild (fox-wild), was in the 16th century. Back then, though, it was never actually defined. Hence, other definitions had to be created.

Some German professors connected fuchswild to the old German word ficken (which was not as vulgar back then as it is now and just meant hitting or whipping, often in rage).

The brothers Grimm later then defined the word fuchsteufelswild in their dictionary from the middle of the 19th century. There the word is defined as “so upset that it seems like you’re with the devil.”

Nowadays, fuchsteufelswild is sometimes connected to foxes having rabies therefore being really aggressive. This definition can be found in several dictionaries published by PONS.

So when you see somebody who is fuchsteufelswild, it means that they’re so angry they could lose control at any minute – if they haven’t already lost control.

If you aren’t the cause of the anger, it makes a lot of sense to turn your back and get out of the person’s sight as quick as possible – at least until they have calmed down again.

Living in Germany? Never learned German? Join the Lingoda Language Marathon and learn for free.

Most likely this man is ‘fuchsteufelswild’. Photo: depositphotos/olly18


Als sie ihm vorwarf, sie betrogen zu haben, wurde er fuchsteufelswild.

When she accused him of cheating, he became furious.

Ich schaffe es nicht, ruhig zu bleiben, ich bin fuchsteufelswild.

I can’t manage to stay calm, I am hopping mad.

Learn German in three months, for free. Join the Lingoda Language Marathon today.

Do you have a favourite word you’d like to see us cover? If so, please email our editor Rachel Stern with your suggestion.

This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.

Article source: