Advent Calendar 3 – “Gettin’ snotty wit’ it”

advent-3Hello everyone,

day 3 of our Advent Calendar, this time with a nice shot of colloquial. Because, god knows… the textbook and course establishment don’t teach you how Germans really speak.
So today, we’ll learn one of those colloquial words that – if used at the right time – will really make you sound native. And this one will help you stand your turf if someone starts to forget about politeness. Get ready for

pampig

Pampig is based on the noun die Pampe and Pampe is … well… think of the Chicken Curry Maria made recently. That was some proper… oh wait, you can’t know that. Well, then imagine a puddle of mud…. that’s Pampe in there. A thick, greasy, slippery mush. 

  • “Ähh… Was ist das in der Schüssel da?”
    “Das ist selbstgemachter Pizzateig.”
    “Diese Mehlpampe?! Ich glaube nicht.”
  • “Uhm…What’s that in that bowl there?”
    “That’s homemade pizza dough.”
    “This gloop of flour?! I don’t think so.”

Now, kids love Pampe because it’s fun to touch it and play with it and they don’t have to do laundry yet. But for everyone else, Pampe has a negative touch.
And so it’s no wonder the adjective pampig got a negative touch, too. The literal meaning is “Pampe-like” but the word actually expresses the idea of snotty, stroppy, brazen

  • “Wie, keine Mandelmilch?!?! Das ist ja wohl ein Witz. Und Sie nennen sich ‘Coffeeshop'”
    “Hey, die Mandelmilch war einfach schon alle. Kein Grund gleich pampig zu werden.”
  • “What do you mean, no almond milk?!?! That must be a joke! And you call yourself ‘coffeeshop.”
    “Hey, we simply ran out of it. No reason to get snotty right away.”

The example is the perfect context: you say that people are getting pampig, when they talk back to you in a pissed way or, more generally, if they’re just offensively unfriendly. It’s always connected to specific situations though, so you wouldn’t say a person is pampig as a general characteristic.
Let’s look at some more examples.

  • Berliner Busfahrer werden schnell pampig.
  • Berlin bus drivers get snotty/arsey quick.
  • Warum hast du so pampig reagiert?
  • Why did you react so snottily?
  • Laptop mit einem Sprung im Display schicken und dann am Telefon noch pampig werden – wenn ich könnte würde ich -1 Stern geben.
  • Delivering the laptop with a crack in the screen and then giving lip on the phone – if I could I’d give -1 stars.
    (typical Amazon review lingo)

There’s also a verb anpampen but I don’t know how widespread that really is. Pampig is known all over Germany though, I think, so next time a waiter is really rude you could just say

  • Hey,bitte nich ganz so pampig, okay?

They’ll be so shocked by your skills, they’ll do whatever you want. Well.. or they’ll kick you out.
Anyway, that’s it for today. What about you? Have you heard the word pampig before? Which other German words do you know for this idea of snotty, arsey? And what’s your experience with Germans… do they get pampig easily compared to the people in your country?
Let me know in the comments and win today’s little give away about the German language. Oh and I’ll pick the winners sometime after Christmas, so you you can still enter the competition, even if you’re a week late.
Have a great day and bis morgen.

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Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

Wie „Pompous“, oder?

Emanuel
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Nee, as far as I understand it, “pompous” has a notion of epic, grandeur. Pampig doesn’t have that at all.

KatySAFC
KatySAFC
5 years ago

Hi! Thanks for the post and for teaching me a new word. :-) I’d never heard this one before, but like many adjectives in German, I love how specific this is. The closest relative I can think of is ‘frech’, but I know that implies something different . . . like cheekiness.

The one and only time I’ve ever been on the receiving end of pampig was whilst on our first holiday to Germany a couple of years ago and I tried out my best ‘school German’ with one of the Körbes. I ordered a Röggelchen (as it was written on the menu) for my husband, anticipating both an impressed nod from the waiter as recognition of my language proficiency and extra points from my husband for satisfying his hunger with a typical pork-based snack. The Körbe sniffed at me and abruptly said, “Ja, was mit?? Nutella??!!” I was mortified! :-)

I think that Körbes are maybe meant to be a little pampig – it’s part of their charm!

I love the use of the expression ‘to give lip’ in this article, too. I’m from the north of England and we often say, “don’t get lippy with me, now!”

Emanuel
Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  KatySAFC

Glückwunsch!! Du hast das kleine Give-Away gewonnen. Ich schreibe dir in den nächsten Tagen eine Mail mit mehr Infos.
Eine Frage noch… was ist ein “Körbe”? Ich hab’ das nie gehört.

KatySAFC
KatySAFC
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Oh wie toll! Das freut mich sehr, Dankeschön! :-)

Ach, ich bin so ein Trottel! Ich habe ‘Köbes’ gemeint und sie sind wie Kellner im Kölner Brauhäuser. *facepalm*

Mein ersten Neujahrsvortsatz ist richtig Buchstabieren zu lernen. . . ;-)

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

Is it offensive though? And is there a word in german for “the blues”

Emanuel
Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Yeah, “pampig” is fairly offensive. You shouldn’t use it if you’re going for appeasement :). As for blues… do you mean the music?

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

Hey Emanuel..longtime no wright…no my man deutsche leute sind nicht pampig in frankreich…ich wohne im Cite Universitaire ..its called la maison de l’allemagne. So i have always thought that germans behave differently in france..which is where i got to know them. They take a very different ‘tude than in germany. Spanish leute sind einmal pampig…In latinamerica man kann sagen venezuelan leute sind sehr sehr pampig..nur euch

Caroline W
Caroline W
5 years ago

the closest thing I’ve heard to “pampig” would probably be “spießig” which also means snotty/bourgeois/prissy

Emanuel
Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  Caroline W

Oh, but “spießig” doesn’t have much to do with “pampig”. Spießer actually don’t get pampig easily because they’re much too uptight to defy social conventions like that. Maybe think of pampig as “with a pissed attitude”

Aformanek
Aformanek
5 years ago

gotta say stroppy was as new to me as pampig (so Danke auch fuer ein neues Englischen Wort!) — I’m American and the word that popped into my head in the contexts above was “jerk” as in: “don’t be such a jerk” or “he was kind of a jerk about it” would that be close?

Emanuel
Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  Aformanek

Well, “being a jerk” is broader. “pampig” is limited to the way you talk to people. “Jerk” can also be someone who doesn’t wanna share his beer even though you shared yours a day before.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

I seem to recall hearing the word “zickig” and thinking it meant something like “pampig” I’ve told my children before, “Seid nicht so zickig!” They don’t speak German so the exact meaning was not so important to me. Pampig can describe a lot of their behaviors, though. Most of the time they are delightful

Emanuel
Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Yeah, “zickig” is pretty close. It’s like the female version of “pampig” (I hope the PC police doesn’t show up now :D

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

I’m American and have never heard of “stroppy” before. I do use “iffy” fairly regularly, in the same sense that others have commented on here. So happy to add “pampig” to my repertoire.

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
5 years ago

Would any of my (American) countrymen/-women use “stroppy”? I only know it from writing, and would assume it’s British-only. (Leo agrees with me.)

I’m not sure what I would like best as a non-obscene translation. Somebody said “pissy,” which I think fits very well. To me, “snotty” is OK, but tends to sound to me more like “bratty,” a description of how a badly-behaved kid would act or talk – more like all-around obnoxious, I guess, or maybe also arrogant. But I don’t know how representative my understanding would be.

I’ve heard “snippy,” but that sounds kind of old-timey to me.

polo
polo
5 years ago
Reply to  berlingrabers

No, I wouldn’t use it. I’m American too and stroppy does sound overbearingly British to my ears. But I am used to continental German speakers favoring translating words into British English over American English, so it doesn’t bother or surprise me. I think the very fine-tuned translation you may be Iooking for is “snooty” as opposed to “snotty”. I agree, snotty is a brat kid. Snooty, on the other hand, may be a well-to-do elderly lady complaining that the barista got her gourmet coffee order wrong. Which seems to be the flavor I am getting from pampig. Also, there was a word my Scottish grandmother used to use that came to mind immediately in re to pampig: “fresh”. I checked dict.cc and they do indeed list it as a synonymous translation for pampig.

susanearle
5 years ago
Reply to  polo

I agree with “snooty;” “stroppy” is British. The other word, which alas is now the header for this post, is not one I would use. (I may be that “(not) well-to-do (almost) elderly lady”!) In fact, if it is not too “pampig” of me, I find a lot of the English in these posts, not the comments, to be a little uncouth. I know the diction is casual, and I’m not socially conservative, but I don’t use words like that, and find them a bit ugly when I do. Then again, I wonder if it isn’t easier to use swear words, and street slang, if it isn’t in your language. For example, I have no problem saying “bloody” but probably wouldn’t were I English and not American. (Oh, sorry if that was vulgar to you Brits and English-speaking Antipodeans!)

nzrachel
nzrachel
5 years ago
Reply to  susanearle

Das Wort ‘stroppy’ klingt sehr normal für mich! Wir sagen auch “titchy” auf neuseelandiches Englisch, zumindest als ich jung war, aber in Schottland bedeutet “titchy” klein. Naja. Natürlich, haben die Schotten deren einigen Wort, ‘crabbit’.

polo
polo
5 years ago
Reply to  susanearle

Snot is slang for nasal mucous, and I did grimace a little when I saw the updated title. It wasn’t a word ever used in my family. But it seems I am in the minority as its use has become widespread both on television and in daily interactions. When an outsider learns a new language, they don’t have the benefit of having gleaned the past history of each word to fully understand all its shades of meaning. They learn only its current, popular use, which as we all know may be very different from its origins.

Emanuel
Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  berlingrabers

My god, this is so complicated. Thanks a lot Dict.cc, you really blew it on this one. I think pissy is the best then. “Arrogant” is way too broad and not aggressive and annoyed enough. Also, it’s too general. “Snippy”… I can’t judge. It sounds like the German “schnippisch”. The first association for that are rich women acting all stuck up to a waiter.

polo
polo
5 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Pissy does sound the most accurate so far. But as susanearle would probably agree, it isn’t polite enough to use in all situations. Taking a poll: how do we all feel about “snarky” for pampig?

Glenda
Glenda
5 years ago
Reply to  berlingrabers

Stroppy has been in common usage in Australia. It’s becoming less common now and used mainly by older people. It is specifically used to describe a person who has a short fuse or arcs up very quickly. For some reason I’ve always thought it had a connection to horses and hence it’s decline in use, but of course a cut throught razor is sharpened with a few quick slaps on a leather strop so perhaps that’s where it comes from.

els76uk
5 years ago

However, iffy does work as a headline, if you read it as people being ‘iffy’ with you. Well done :)

els76uk
5 years ago

I’m from UK, agree with the others, iffy is only ever questionable or not quite right – eg, “The chicken smelled a bit iffy, so we decided to leave it to one side.”

Helpful post, as always, though. Thanks. I’ve needed to use it a lot – one particularly memorable time was in a cafe, when the server misheard my order, and was particularly pampig with me when I insisted on what I’d actually ordered, rather than what she thought I’d ordered. That said, I think a more appropriate adjective would be verarscht :)

david
5 years ago

“Iffy” here in New England means “questionable, and it’s gonna take some convincing to make me think this isn’t gonna be bad.”

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

In my part of the US iffy is used for questionable (good examples Polo) but I have never heard stroppy used, I had to check the dictionary. I would use “pissy” for pampig, although moreso amongst friends, or snotty works with everyone.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years ago

Agree with everyone above as to “iffy” not meaning “pampig” – stroppy seems to be the closest translation. Interestingly, I’ve never heard anyone use “iffy” here in the US and when I use it (I like that word!), I usually get bland looks :-)

polo
polo
5 years ago

“The cheap hotel looked like it was in an iffy part of town. So we decided that, for our safety, we would pay a little more money and get a room in the nicer hotel in the better part of town.”

The closest synonym I can think of besides the example of “questionable” given above, is “sketchy”.

polo
polo
5 years ago

Beispielsatz: “The cafeteria’s kitchen wasn’t very clean looking, additionally the mystery meat casserole they serve looked particularly iffy, so we decided not to eat there.”

Emanuel
Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  polo

Based on this comment and the others I’d say “iffy” is “komisch” and “verdächtig”

Charles Gleaves
Charles Gleaves
5 years ago

In my several but brief forays into Germany I recall no one ever being “Pampig”. On the other hand when I encounter Germans in the U.S. and bore them with my interest in German and Germany I evoke “Pampig” behavior as often as not.

Emanuel
Admin
5 years ago

Wow, this is weird. Like… why would someone get “pampig” because you’re interested in their language and culture. I guess they have some issues with Germany and their own German-essity which they don’t want to face (and no I don’t mean the whole Nazi stuff… more the stiff-ness, “stick in the butt”-ness

parisbongi
parisbongi
5 years ago

Being rather new in Germany I can’t say my research into the pampig nature of Germans is extensive. Early results indicate… not so much.
On the other hand, or rather, on the other side of the Rhine, my research has been extensive. And it isn’t coincidental that there are many terms for pampig there – including one that is particularly colorful which could be translated as sexually frustrated.
Nice start to the calendar, thanks!

Emanuel
Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  parisbongi

Which is the colorful one :)

5 years ago

“Iffy “-no, “sniffy” – yes. Probably from that gesture when you raise your nose and sniff, to show that you think that the other person is not worth talking too. A bit like the Gallic shrug. “Iffy” is more “not quite right”, “questionable” in UK, as Mega said. As in ” It would be OK, if…..”

MegaMu
MegaMu
5 years ago

I have to say I have never heard iffy being used to mean snotty either. In Australia iffy also means questionable…

I might use the word snotty. If we are being even less polite we would say someone is ‘shitty’. Which in that case means they are temporarily being unfair/annoying/rude and is more about the situation at hand and their frame of mind at that point and doesn’t really reflect so much on them as a person.