Word of the Day – “Faulpelz”

Hello everyone,lazy kitten

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will look at the meaning of the word:

der Faulpelz (pron.: foul pelts)

The kitten in the hammock is one, I am one when I have a day off and you sure are one as well every now and then… a little… oh no! Let’s not be lazy and just translate – we’ve got a whole post to fill! So let’s have a quick  look at the two words Faulpelz consists of. The first one is the word faul. The pronunciation strongly suggests that it is a relative to the English foul as in rotten. This is true but faul has a second meaning in German as it is THE word for …. lazy.
“Oh that is sooooooooo German of you Germans, using the same word for foul and lazy… as if being lazy were automatically bad… you and your damn discipline and stuff”. Well can’t argue with that really, we do use the same word for foul and lazy. But actually it does not feel like it… to me it feels like 2 different words that just happened to be spelled the same.

As far as faul like foul is concerned there is actually another similar word which is faulig. I think that I use faulig a little more often but I guess that depends on the context.

  • It smells foul.
  • Es riecht faulig.
  • Es riecht faul. (This sounds very epic though)
  • This apple is a bit rotten.
  • Dieser Apfel ist faulig.

Faulig does not mean lazy by the way and I am not sure as to whether people would actually understand what you are trying to say if you accidentally use faulig in a sense of lazy.
The rotten faul is also used in a number of idioms such as:

  • Es ist was faul im Staate Dänemark.
  • Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. (yeah I am so quotin’ Shakespeare)
  • Das klingt alles ganz gut, aber irgendwas ist da faul.
  • It all sounds really good, but there is something fishy goin’ on.

The noun for the rotten faul is die Fäule or die Fäulnis (the decay or the rot) and the verb is faulen (to rot) or verfaulen (to go bad).

The lazy faul also has a noun and a verb but they are different and must not be mixed up with the ones of the rotten faul. The noun is die Faulheit.

  • Lang lebe die Faulheit!
  • Long live laziness.

The verb, yes German does have a verb for to be lazy,  is actually a pretty pretty word as far as I am concerned. It is faulenzen. … What’s that? No! I do not agree that it looks like flatulent. How old are you anyway? It’s a nice word period! It contains faul and it contains lenz which is a poetic term for the season Spring.

  • Dieses Wochenende werde ich so richtig schön faulenzen.
  • This weekend I will not do anything but being totally lazy.

Knowing faul, all we need to do now is to look at what a Pelz is. And that actually had me go to Google to look for the precise difference between Pelz and Fell. Do you know the difference between pelt and fur by the way? If so it wont matter here as the German difference is … different… damn feels like difference is the word of the day. Anyway, according to Wikipedia, Fell is fur with up to 400 hairs per square centimeter and as soon as it has more it is called Pelz… yeah I know I know … Germans… So Pelz is dense fluffy fur like mink fur and Fell is what a dog or a bear has. Pelz is also the wardrobe. So rich ladys are wearing Pelz. Oh and when your tongue is furry you say pelzig.

So when faul means lazy and Pelz means fluffy fur Faulpelz must mean lazy fluffy fur… which is exactly what the kitten on the picture is. Seriously though, Faulpelz is a nice way of calling someone a lazy person. It’s not all positive so it depends a little how you say it. If for instance you want to talk shit about that one guy in your office to your boss, you use Faulpelz combined with a fake ass concern in your voice and the message will be clear.

  • Ja, ja Thomas is manchmal schon ein bisschen ein Faulpelz.
  • Yes it is true, I guess one could say that Thomas is kind of a bit lazy every now and then..
  • Du kleiner Faulpelz hast nicht abgewaschen.
  • You little piece of laziness did not do the dishes.

The second example is something a girlfriend might say to her boy… when she is NOT mad. If she is mad she won’t use Faulpelz though, she will use fauler Sack … lazy sack/jerk.

We are almost done with this one… only the grammar is missing. So, the plural of  Faulpelz is Faulpelze and yes it does get an extra ‘n’ in third case plural. Faulpelz is a masculine word and thus a very very good example for the randomness of the gender… I really don’t see why it would be masculine ;)….

Anyway, be a Faulpelz every once in a while! It will keep your soul in balance and your mind relaxed.

Hope you liked it and see you next time.