3 German words and phrases to get you in the mood for Oktoberfest

Posted: September 13 2019

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Oktoberfest – one of the biggest folk festivals in the world – is starting this month. Yup, it actually takes place in September! Want to learn more things you didn’t know about Oktoberfest (such as about a place literally called ‘vomit hill’) and learn some quirky German words at the same time? Keep reading!


Gaudi = Bavarian fun, but like, a lot of fun.

Even if you don’t make it to the OG Oktoberfest in Munich, Bavaria (where most German stereotypes come from, like Lederhosen, yodelling and dachshunds), plenty of places around the world have their own little replica of it. It’s obviously fun to dress up and chuck 1-litre mugs full of beer in a huge tent while swaying to the music of a funny-looking German folk band. In Bavaria, having such lavish fun means it’s “Gaudi”.

Back in October of 1810, the people of Munich had such Gaudi celebrating their Crown Prince Ludwig’s wedding to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, that ever since they hold a rowdy party every year, now known as the Oktoberfest.

Having some Gaudi ol’ fun


Schunkeln = to sway to music

Where there’s a party, there must be music! If you’ve ever seen a picture of a beer tent at Oktoberfest during peak time (if not, check out the one below), you’ll know there’s barely enough space to turn around, let alone to whip out all your fancy dance moves.

Beer Tent during Oktoberfest

Dancing is restricted to what you can do at your table, which pretty much is to “schunkeln” to music – arms locked with the person next to you, swaying to the music.

At the Wiesn in Munich, where Oktoberfest takes place, if all the booze and schunkeln, give you a rumbly tummy, you can make your way to the Kotzhügel – literally translated as ‘vomit hill’ –  the place where lots of people end up after partying (or Gaudi-ing) too much.

Schunkeln, gurl


Oans, zwoa, g’suffa! = One, two, drink!

You probably know that the German word for “cheers” is “prost!”, but as Oktoberfest is more of a Bavarian thing, you should also learn how to clink your glasses with a Bavarian drinking cry.

“Oans, zwoa, g’suffa!” is the Bavarian dialect for “eins, zwei, getrunken!”, meaning “one, two, drunk!”. You’d hear this toast plenty of times at the Oktoberfest in Munich, seeing that visitors last year have toasted with an impressive 7.5 million litres of beer.

Oans, zwoa, g’suffa!

There you go, you are now more knowledgeable about Oktoberfest – and probably thirstier than before you started reading… either way, keep growing your knowledge of German with a quick German lesson with Memrise, start here! (Ok maybe go get that beer first).