The Goethe Institute held a competition to find the word that would most benefit the English language.
Elaborating she said that “one-track specialist” was not quite right because “a specialist is nobody you would call an idiot. A one-track specialist is somebody who knows a lot about a particular field; a Fachidiot as well.”
“The difference is that a one-track specialist still notices what is going on around him, in the world which has nothing to do with university. A Fachidiot simply does not, or not anymore.”
This might seem like what English speakers would call a nerd. I assure you, it is different. An Übernerd perhaps? It’s like Gemütlichkeit. Yes, it can mean cozy or comfortable, but it just doesn’t hit the nail on the head.
This article also mentions one of my all-time favorite German words: Backpfeifengesicht – a face that cries out for a fist in it. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Arschkrampe.
Here is more info about so-called “migrant words” that have German origins.
Here’s a secret for those who kept reading this far….
Germans, when prefixing a word to get the meaning that is intended by English speakers with the prefix Über-, would probably use Ober- instead. In some cases Über- might work, but I find that Ober- is used more often by the natives to express the desired meaning.
At an American office, you might here this: I dunno how the server should be configured. Let’s ask whatshisname in the basement. He’s the übergeek around here.
German: Keine Ahnung wie der Server konfiguriert werden soll. Frag mal den Heini im Keller. Der ist hier der Oberfachidiot.
If you are unsure, just use Mega-. It works both ways and usually leaves no doubt. Hää Alda, Du bist ja ein Megatrottel!