Word of the Day – “hauen”

hauen-abhauen-reinhauen-meaHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of

hauen

 

A word that you’ll probably not find in text books and that means it’s probably super cool.
The origin of hauen is the super ancient Indo European root *kāu-, which meant to strike, to hew.  And yes, to hew is also an offspring of that root, as do the word hay and the German translation das Heu, which literally are “that which is hewn”. And you know what other word belongs to the same family? Code

How does that work? Well, in Latin, a codex  originally simply meant trunk of a cut down tree. Then people started using it for wooden tablets they would cut from trunks and then it slowly shifted toward the laws that people wrote down on such tablets. But the very origin is the old Indo European root *kau and the idea of striking, hewing.
But enough with the history. Let’s get to our actual word of the day hauen.
Unlike code and hay, this has barely changed at all.  Hauen still mean to beat, to punch, to strike.  It’s basically a synonym for schlagen (to beat, to punch). It sounds a bit less forceful and you can often find it in context with little kids quarreling.

  • Frau Lehrerin, Billy hat mich gehauen.
  • Miss teacher, billy punched me.
  • “Haumich und Pflaumich sitzen auf dem Baum. Pflaumich fällt runter. Wer bleibt oben?”
    “Haumi… oh mist.”
  • “Hunchme and Punchme are sitting on a tree. Hunchme falls down. Who’s still up there?”
    “Punchm… oh crap”

The second one is classic prank on elementary school yards. If you say the name “Haumich” you’re basically saying “punch me!” and then the other kid goes like “Okay” and punches you. Yeah, kids fancy themselves soooooo clever. When I have kids I’m gonna try to turn that joke on them. Like this…

Shmiledothedishes and Illdothedishes are sitting on a tree. Shmiledothedishes falls down. Who’s still up?

Ha… can’t wait to see their faces when they realize what they just said.
Anyway, hauen is not limited to the kids world, especially not with prefixes so let’s look at some of those, too.

  • Wenn Marc keine Argumente mehr einfallen, haut er zu.
  • Whenever Marc is out of arguments, he starts punching/resorts to violence.
  • Ich habe mir beim Holzhacken fast den Finger abgehauen.
  • I almost chopped off my finger while chopping wood.
  • Thomas hat seinem Bruder eine reingehauen.
  • Thomas punched his brother in the face.

There are also a few related words. A Bildhauer for instance is a sculptor, the noun der Hieb is a rare word for punch and ein Hauer  is the German term for the tusk of a boar. Which might make go like “Yeah… the dusk of bore. That’s actually what I feel like I’m entering right now. Why the hell are we talking about hauen again?”
Well, because there are so many cool colloquial expressions with hauen and …

they’re all super common

Seriously… if  you want to sound like a German, if you want to impress your friends with how idiomatic you sound… hauen can make a huge difference so let’s take a look.

“hauen” –  colloquial expressions

Let’s start with umhauen and raushauen. Umhauen can literally mean to knock over but it’s also used in a more abstract sense of to impress and raushauen basically means to put out… just with an energetic feel to it.

  • Dieser Preis wird Sie umhauen.
  • This price will knock your socks off. (lit.: will knock you to the ground)
  • Star Radio wird 5 Jahre alt… deshalb hauen wir diese Woche  jeden Tag 10.000 Euro raus. Also bleibt dran.
  • Star Radio turns 5 years old … that’s why this week we’re cranking out 11.000 Dollar every day, so stay tuned.
  • Thomas haut manchmal die krassesten Sprüche raus.
  • Sometimes Thomas drops the craziest lines/one liners.

I think for these two,the original sense of striking, punching is still quite visible. That’s also true for the next one, hinhauen, in sense of lying down for a napLiterally you’re “punching” yourself down.

  • Ich hau mich ein bisschen hin.
  • I’ll lie down for a bit.

But hinhauen has a second meaning, and that’s not quite as obvious. The second meaning is something like to work out, not in sense of sports but in sense of to go well. It’s used for small scale, short term stuff where you try something. Like… trying out a new, complicated recipe, fixing a computer or even controlling numbers.

  • Ich hab’s neu installiert. Hat alles hingehauen. Danke für den Tipp.
  • I reinstalled it. Everything worked out/worked well. Thanks for the advise.
  • Ich bezahl 15 Euro, du 10… ich glaub das haut ungefähr hin.
  • I’ll pay 15 Euro you’ll put in 10… I think that’s about right.
    (two people splitting a bill at a bar without actually adding up the drinks)
  • Ich habe 100 Stunden gearbeitet aber nur 800 Euro bekommen. Da haut irgendwas nicht hin.
  • I worked 100 hours but I only got 800 Euros. Something doesn’t add up there.

What that has to do with hinhauen… I don’t know. Maybe it’s about having an effect or something. In either case, it’s quite common and when you’re in Germany I’m almost sure you’ll hear it at some point.
And what I’m absolutely sure you’ll come across are abhauen and reinhauen. We’ve already seen that it can mean to chop off. But what it’s really used for is leaving, hastily going away. 

  • Hau ab, du idiot!
  • Piss off, you idiot!
  • Der Manager ist mit dem Geld abgehauen.
  • The manager bolted with the money.
  • Ich glaub, ich hau gleich ab.
  • I think I’m gonna take off soon.

This is already super common but the crown jewel is reinhauen. Reinhauen also means to leave but unlike abhauen it has no notion of fleeing in it. It is more like leaving from a party or leaving from work and at least in Northern Germany, it’s even used as a way to say good bye.

  • Ich glaub, ich hau rein.
  • I think I’m gonna head out/leave.
  • Lass mal reinhauen.
  • Let’s head home/leave.
    (destination depends on context, but it’s somewhat homeward bound so don’t use it when you start a journey)
  • Hau rein. /Hauste rein, wa./Rinjehaun.
  • Take care man/bye.
     The latter two are Berlin dialect

The last one has a high slang factor though, so you shouldn’t use at the end of a meeting with your boss or after the first dinner with your crush.
And speaking of eating… that brings us to the next meaning of reinhauen. Yes, it has more than one. Reinhauen can also mean to eat a lot and with joy. You punch the food in your mouth, if you will.

  • Haut rein.
  • Enjoy your meal, guys.
  • Wenn’s irgendwo Kaviar gibt, hau ich immer orderntlich rein.
  • If there’s caviar somewhere I always dig in.

And as if that wasn’t enough reinhauen is also used in context of alcohol or drugs having a strong effect.

  • Boah, dieses Starkbier haut ganz schön rein.
  • Dude, this strong beer does go to your head.

I don’t really know a cool, colloquial expression for that in English.

Anyway, so is hauen a cool word or is it a cool word? Especially abhauen and the various reinhauens are really cool and if you raushauen one at the right time you’ll will definitely  umhauen you friends :).
Make sure you don’t overdo it, though. ‘Cause that kinda thing… like… when ur tryin’  real hard to sound like a native and stuff… that gets ridic right quick. Faster than shit through a goose.
See what I mean ;).
All right folks, that’s it for today. This was our look at hauen and its numerous colloquial uses. If you have any questions or if you want to try out some examples before using them in the wild, just leave me a comment.
I hope you liked it and see you next time. Haut rein. 

Click here to download all audio files (zip-archive, mp3 files)

 

** vocab **

hauen – the punch, beat
der Hieb – the punch
der Bildhauer – the sculptor, the carver
Hau-den-Lukas – high striker/ring-the-bell (this funfair thing where you have to test your strength)

reinhauen – head out/home, dig in (with food), have a strong effect (especially in context of drugs)
jemandem eine reinhauen – punch someone in the face
abhauen – chop off, quickly leave, bolt, flee
umhauen – knock over, seriously impress
raushauen – put out, crank out
hinhauen – work out, add up (a bit tricky to use idiomatically)
zuhauen – strike a blow, also used as a generic word for getting violent

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Petreneue
Petreneue
2 months ago

Hi Emanuel
I am watching a German show for learning English and it translated “Wenn ich sie alle reinhaue.” As “When I f*** ‘em all up.” I didn’t find reinhauen to be a curse word anywhere else. Maybe they translated it like that because the character was acting real intimidating when her pretty blonde self said it so it just emphasized her hardness but might it be a “bad” word like the translation “f***” would imply?

Petreneue
Petreneue
1 month ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Thanks for responding!
It’s actually from a short series on Lingopie called “Pax Aeterna”…and I just found it on YouTube at https://youtu.be/0RQDtrSYGg8
The line happens at about 6:20.

Petreneue
Petreneue
1 month ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ah, got it. I’ll add that to my Fighting Words vocabulary list. Is that considered “adult language” or would that show up on kids shows in Germany?

Pedram
Pedram
4 months ago

Hi Emanuel 

This article reminded of one of recent episodes of EasyGerman podcast. They use the verb “raushauen” a couple of times. I don’t remember the exact sentence but as they are talking about Olaf Scholz, Cary says something like this:

  • Er kann raushauen, ohne irgendetwas zu sagen.

It’s probably the same as:

  • Thomas haut manchmal die krassesten Sprüche raus.

I didn’t find enough about this verb. duden says “spontan äußern” but it doesn’t help much. Could you please give me more details. What does it exactlz mean when used in combination with words like “Spruch, Wort, Satz”.

Thanks a lot!

Pedram
Pedram
4 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

It makes more sense now

I think it’s one of the words that I need to see or hear in different contexts before I get a better feeling for.

I read your Articles a few times per month but they are among most important resources for my language learning.

Thanks Emanuel

Last edited 4 months ago by Pedram
alokgarg47
alokgarg47
1 year ago

Hi Emanuel!

First i would like to thank you for your great blog. Is it possible that reinhauen and abhauen have their origin from knocking on the table when leaving a big group or the act of closing the door shut while u leave? Just curious!
Best Regards

karenzshea
karenzshea
1 year ago

> You punch the food in your mouth

hilarious. will not forget this.

I recently heard a coworker use “anhauen” and when I asked someone about it, they explained it to mean “to call on someone”, but I’m still not quite sure what it means.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

Hi Emanuel

Ich habe kürzlich den folgenden Satz gelesen:

Wenn sie keine Lust hat, dann haut sie ihre Hausaufgaben einfach schnell hin.

Ich verstehe diesen Satz nicht ganz. Es scheint widersprüchlich zu sein. Er bedeutet, gut zu arbeiten, aber jemand hat nicht den Wunsch dazu. Was gibt es hier?

Wie immer, Vielen Dank!!!

paula
paula
6 years ago

For those interested in more examples with reinhauen, Deutsche Welle explained this word in one of their posts here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152171834627394.1073741833.146790007393&type=3 They have a whole album on fb called Wortschatz that is literally the dream of every german learner!

Our Sal
Our Sal
6 years ago

I came across the word hauen in the satirical verse of Jan Boehmermann that has so upset the Turkish president – (http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/tv/jan-boehmermann-das-sind-die-fakten-der-staatsaffaere-a-1086571.html)

Thanks for explaining its meaning and origins.

Auntie Widdershins
Auntie Widdershins
6 years ago

In kanada beer was limited to 4.5%, now IPA is around 7%. However “Everclear” packs a punch and will knock-your-socks-off.

Alan
Alan
6 years ago

I think I would say, ‘this beer blows your head off’.

Aoin D
6 years ago
Reply to  Alan

I need some of that beer :D

Aviv Avitan
Aviv Avitan
6 years ago

Danke!! deine Posten und Beiträge sind wie immer sehr interessant und hat mich etwas neue gelehrt. Während meine Reise nach Deutschland habe ich diese Wort getroffen, aber leider bis jetzt nicht richtig verstehen. Laut die Spectrum von Bedeutungen, es ist kein Wunder. Hau rein :)

learninggerman2016
6 years ago

Ich finde Ihre Website super, um umgangssprachliches Deutsch zu lernen. Könnten sie bitte ein Paar weitere Beispiele für Redewendungen mit ,hauen’ erzählen, z.b. ,Das haut mich vom Hocker’ und “Wir haben richtig auf die Pauke gehauen’?

Anna Miell
Anna Miell
6 years ago

Great stuff! Always thought ‘hauen’ was only prevalent in my home country, Austria. Hence ‘Fleischhauer’ for ‘butchet’. I also grew up in Vienna with the slang expression ‘sich abhauen’ when we found something amusing. “Ich hau mich ab.” “What a laugh. ” Seems a long time ago, though – not sure how much this is in use now. I love reading about origins of words. Thank you for your posts!

Jo
Jo
6 years ago
Reply to  Anna Miell

“Ich hau mich ab!” sounds like “That cracks me up!” in English.

Shannon
Shannon
6 years ago

not so sure about the vocab definition of zuhauen (“do one blow”). I think to hit someone or strike a blow might be better. in English ‘do blow’ is to take cocaine.

berlingrabers
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Is it necessarily literal? Like, Marc runs out of his arguments, so he starts actually hitting people?

“Lash out” would fit the context there, but it’s more likely to be figurative.

berlingrabers
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I actually hear “zuschlagen” a lot for “reinhauen” with food from somebody I know (who grew up in Bavaria, if there’s any regional aspect to it).

person243
person243
6 years ago

When I read “raushauen” I thought you would speak about prisons. It did later occur to me that you did not refer to this meaning of the word. For me the meaning: “jmd. aus etw. raushauen” is even stronger than the “to put out” meaning. You know if your friend is in a difficult situation and he really needs someones help like if he is arrested for inappropriate behavior you would say:

“Keine Angst. Ich hau’ dich da schon raus.” = “Don’t falter. I will get you out of there.”

You might not go as far as actually hitting your way through the police force but you play your cards pay money persuade lawers and judges. “raushauen”.

By the way thanks for another cool word of the day.

person243
person243
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Well, yes, I am. But that does not mean I can’t read your post, does it? I mean there are evidently other Germans who enjoy your website and I can understand them. It is great. I stumbled upon it because a friend of mine learns German and I wanted to explain something to him and was frankly out of words. I linked him to you but I think nowadays I am more often on this site than he is. So, that was my story. By the way it also helps to broaden my English understanding if I read your posts. (At least that is what I am telling myself…)

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 years ago

What is the relationship to “die Haut” (the skin)?

Heiner
Heiner
6 years ago

I never ever heard reinhauen for abhauen. That must be a regionalism in Berlin. BTW a Hauer can also denote a hewer – a miner who loosens rock and minerals in a mine.

Aoin D
6 years ago

Thanks for another great post Emanuel. I believe you have correctly identified a cultural phenomenon about drinking culture in the anglosphere. While it might be OK for your mum to declare that a glass of beer has gone straight to her head, anyone who wants to sound cool had better keep that shit to themselves!

Dan
Dan
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

This is tricky and contextual. I could say to my friends, who know me, that “this drink is strong”. Just from that, they’d know that I mean the alcohol is going to affect me. But if certain other friends were to say that, I’d know they just meant the taste is strong. I can’t think of a single phrase that carries the same intent as reinhauen. Maybe the word potent, but that sounds more formal to me.

berlingrabers
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Trying to think of a good way to say this… probably the closest that comes to mind is “has (got) a kick to it.” That’s not alcohol-specific, but definitely has the right meaning.

But yeah, “go to one’s head” sounds kind of stiff and definitely not colloquial nowadays. Part of the problem is that it’s much more commonly used figuratively – power or fame goes to somebody’s head, that sort of thing.

Aoin D
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

“Having a kick” tends to be reserved for over proof hard liquor and is equally to do with the burning sensation in the throat as the dizzying effect on the brain. Standard spirits tend to be described on a scale from “rough” to “smooth”. If a beer is genuinely strong then I just don’t think there’s a cool or particularly colloquial way to say it. If remark should need to be passed, some variation of “this is strong” would do the job.

berlingrabers
6 years ago
Reply to  Aoin D

Maybe it’s regional, but I wouldn’t at all restrict it to hard liquor – actually, googling it now, I find that it’s most commonly a reference to spiciness in food. So I’ll agree that “kick” is more likely to do with flavor or sensation, but I think it could be understood with reference to alcoholic potency in context perfectly well, regardless of the specific beverage.

Aoin D
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I’ve thought of something you could say if you really wanted to, although it would sound a bit like you were an undercover marketing tout for the beer in question: “this beer/cider will knock/hit you for six (i.e. cricket)” or “… knock you sideways”. I can imagine using those terms for my first few breathlessly enthusiastic encounters with “Thatcher’s Dry” (a rough dry cider from near Bristol – worth the price of a summer trip to Bristol by itself).

Dan
Dan
6 years ago
Reply to  Aoin D

That’s true! I could definitely say “this will knock you off your feet”…definitely fits with hauen.

Dan
Dan
6 years ago
Reply to  Dan

And among friends, ‘this will knock you on your ass”.

berlingrabers
6 years ago
Reply to  Aoin D

“Knock you on your ass” is probably the first American equivalent that would come to mind.

Aoin D
6 years ago
Reply to  berlingrabers

Yes, anything with “knock”. Thinking about it more (I really should get back to work), an assortment of idioms denoting the effect of a “severe personal setback” can be and are, I think, also used by young people, in a positive sense, to communicate the effect of their favourite poison. E.g. “a couple of pints of snakebite (strong lager mixed with strong cider) will defo fuck you up”

Cole
Cole
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I frequently use phrases with hit to talk about the effect of alcohol, especially if I’m a little surprised. Examples: that beer/drink/alcohol hit me hard; I think/I can tell/whoa the alcohol is hitting me now.

Nicklas Kulczycki
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

“Hitting me hard.” Booze can hit you hard, weed can hit you hard, etc. However, things like news can also hit you hard, or the passing of a loved one; in this sense, it means to affect you emotionally. On the internet, you’ll often see (albeit facetiously) that something can “hit you (right) in the feels”.