German Word of the Week: Warzenhof

There’ll be light blogging for the next few days, because I’ll be visiting a seminar in beautiful downtown Recklinghausen.  Thanks for your patience.

But before I go, quick: What is Russian actress Svetlana Metkina accidentally showing in this picture? If you said "nipple," you’re only 10% right. In fact, she’s mostly showing aureola, the nipple’s staging area, or plush honeymoon-suite bed, or landing strip, or perhaps just ‘hood.  That circle of brown around el areal sensitivo.

Which brings us to German. German words for body parts are frequently priceless, and the more sensitive the body part, the more risible they are. One look at "shame-region," for example, and you’ll see what sort of killer material Freud had to work with.

The word for nipple in German is Brustwarz. "Breast-wart." I don’t suppose the nipple is very happy about this, but what can he do? Grow a tongue and begin talking? If he could, he would probably point out that, under the same logic that saddled him with his ludicrous appellation, we should be calling our mouths "face-anuses," or our toes "foot-cysts."

As compensation, though, our friend the breast-wart gets to dominate the aureola, which is not called aureola in German, but rather Warzenhof, which you could translate as "wart-corona," "wart-yard," or my favorite, "wart-court."

All hail the nipple! Warty little king of his bouncy, circular court!

12 thoughts on “German Word of the Week: Warzenhof

  1. Nippel or Brustnippel are also commonly used as expressions which brings us to Mike Krüger’s smash hit from 1980, “Der Nippel”…


  2. It’s pleasant to read your plaisanteries and musings about the German language. May I add in this particular case, that the word “Warzenhof” is – if ever – used only in the language of doctors, but not in colloquial speak. Among young people, “der Nippel” has pretty much replaced “die Brustwarze” (ugly term indeed). I have, however, heard my 84-year old aunt once refer to “der Hof” when she was somewhat shamefully talking about a pain she was feeling in that region.


  3. The small dark circle around the nipple is properly called areola, not aureola. The latter is a golden radiance (usually around a saint in religious imagery). Curiously this is not the first time I’ve seen this mistake. This sort of thing would not happen, of course, with an expressive and understandable expression like Brustwarze 😉


  4. > The small dark circle around the nipple is properly called areola, not aureola

    It could have been a typo as well as a Freudian slip – honi soit qui mal y pense: there are objects much less worth of religious infatuation (nudge nudge, know what I mean – do 144 nipples ring a bell?). Sind wir nicht alle ein bisschen Bluna? If not, shouldn’t we they be?

    PS:for those inclined towards things etymological, religious, and sensual – here‘s a treat: Ibn Warraq in–of all places–al-Guardian on–of all things–virgins, telling us about Christoph Luxenberg’s “Die Syro-Aramäische Lesart des Koran.”

    PPS:for those inclined towards things religious, sensual, and nipple related: here you go full throttle.

    > if you keep a better check on your monomaniac rants about Muslims
    > being the incarnation of all evil in this world…

    Junger Gott: as you see, I’m yet to find the grip to get on monomaniacal self… Andrew poking his–literary–finger on assorted warzenhöfe won’t help – areola, aureola, nipple, nippel, brustwarze – it’s all infidel rock’n roll to me. All things considered, I wonder how they manage to go forth and multiply.


  5. Just to wedge this in: both Ibn Warraq and Christoph Luxenberg are Islamic scholars who use pen names for good reasons. You’re not supposed to mess with those our Minister of the Interior feels compelled to confer with, as he rightly noticed world wide Ummah to have quite some oomph regarding things interior, too.


  6. Speaking of neat words, Knochenarbeit (“bone labor”) is one of my favorite — very hard work. And then there is is Geisterfahrer (“ghost driver”) for somebody who is coming at you in the wrong lane.


  7. If you don’t like the idea of a “breast wart” … I just came across the following sentence in a book review:

    Ständig werden wir über Brustknospen informiert, die unter der Bluse hervortreten oder über Strümpfe, die eine Sekretärin anhat.

    Hm, breast buds … that’s not so bad.


  8. @norbert
    Mike Krüger did not mention someone’s (breast) nippel with this song, he referred to mechanical parts (eg. schmiernippel; doppelnippel, etc. see:


  9. for Warzenhof, “wart station” is the image that I get, personally. Kind of like Bahnhof, except that it is a station for warts instead of trains.


  10. for Warzenhof, “wart station” is the image that I get, personally. Kind of like Bahnhof, except that it is a station for warts instead of trains.


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