Word of the day – etepetete

Here’s a nice German word I came across today: etepetete, which means fussy, finicky, pernickety. According to Wikipedia, this word is used mainly in northern Germany, particularly in Berlin. The equivalents in High German are eingebildet and geziert.

This word comes from the French être, peut-être, meaning ‘to be, perhaps’.

Example of usage
Du bist so etepetete = You are so prim

This entry was posted in German, Language, Words and phrases.

11 Responses to Word of the day – etepetete

  1. Joseph Staleknight says:

    Would you believe it? A word that is onomotopoeia (“Ette-pette-tette”, said the guy fidgeting over his tuxedo.) in German. I ought to add that to my vocabulary.

  2. Tomensnaben says:

    One of those words that’s just fun to say, like the Latin “pluit,” the Spanish “doy,” or the name “J.D.B. DeBow.”

  3. jdotjdot89 says:

    Other fun words to say:
    “el champú” in Spanish
    “trabajaba” in Spanish
    and for some reason, I just like the word “הוצאתיך” in Hebrew. Obviously, it’s Biblical, but I just happen to think its a fun word. It’s interesting.
    Maybe I’m just strange.

  4. BG says:

    Some funny words in German:
    “die Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung”

    (I was Honoratus previously, it’s my Latin name)

  5. Mike says:

    @BG: “Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung” is my favorite German word! A favorite among kids in my high school German classes was “Fach”, for its similarity to the most infamous English swear word. 😉

  6. Simon says:

    The Irish words faic (nothing), as in faic na fride (not one jot), and feic (to see/see!) also cause much amusement.

  7. Stuart says:


    Out of interest, what does this mean in English? Some thing to do with speed?

  8. Logan says:

    Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung = speed limit.

  9. SamD says:

    Isn’t “fart” also the French word for ski wax?

  10. Benjamin says:

    Wikipedia is correct: I know the word etepetete, but I never hear anyone say it, and I live in German’s south.
    I can’t really see why this word should be onomatopoetic, though… I think other words are more onomatopoeic, like “Krach” (noise) using [kr] and [x].

    Anyway, I think Joseph might be right, that German doesn’t have too many onomatopoetic (lautmalerische) words (or at least, you don’t notice them easily), but actually I can live with that. 😉
    Maybe Germans haven’t thought so much of onomatopoeia, but rather how to complicate the grammar. We Germans are just soo mean. 😉

  11. retop says:

    the funny thing about german language is that you may compose words as you like.. you even may construct words like “Donaudampfschiffahrtskapitänskajütenjungenmütze” if you want. But who the hell wants to decipher that?

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