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“Geil” 101: What Germans REALLY Mean when they Say “GEIL!”

“Geil” 101: What Germans REALLY Mean when they Say “GEIL!”

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Geil is one of these words in German that you absolutely need to master if you want to talk like a native. Yes, it is rather informal but it is widely used among young people all over Germany and in most of the cases, geil simply means awesome/cool/great rather than referring to its other, somehow derogative meanings.

We will get there, don’t worry. Let’s tackle the different meanings of geil one by one.


What is the meaning of Geil?


Geil has the following four basic meanings:

1. großartig, toll  (great, awesome, cool, etc…)

2. üppig, wuchernd (lush, rampant)

3. stark gedüngt (heavily fertilized)

4. sexuell erregt (sexually aroused, horny)


The funny thing is that two of them I have never even used in my whole life.

Number 1 is by far the most common of these four basic meanings of geil.


So let’s just dive right into the subject matter and have some fun!


GEIL in the sense of great, awesome, cool and so on 

What does GEIL mean in German?


Have a look at the picture above:


Was für ein geiles Spiel! (What an awesome game!)


In this case, geil simply means großartig/cool and is used as an attributive adjective.

Teenagers and young people love to use the word geil in this way. And this is by far the most commonly used geil of all the geils that we are talking about. Please have a look at the last section of this article to get some nice sample sentences, illustrating the use of geil as just discussed.

If you use geil in this way, you should know that it is pretty informal. You can definitely use this with your friends and maybe also with your family (maybe not if you are 12 and are talking to your mother, though) but it wouldn’t necessarily be the most suitable word in your toolshed when talking to your teacher or your 85-year old neighbor.


What geil has to do with agriculture…

What the….? What does this plant have to do with the German word “geil”? Well, read on to find out!


Well, meaning two and three of geil are closely tied to agriculture. And this is maybe also why I have never even heard about this usage of geil. But apparently, geil can be used to say “rampant plants.”

So the plants that you see you in the picture above are literally geile Pflanzen.

On top of that, it is apparently also possible to use geil to get the meaning of “heavily fertilized” across. Duden, one of the most popular German dictionaries, illustrates this with the following sample sentence:


Der Boden ist feucht und geil. (The soil is wet and heavily fertilized.)


It seems that if geil is used in this sense, then it usually functions as an adjective to describe soil.



Ok, this is the one you have been waiting for…

Yes, it is true that geil can also mean horny. But there is a but, a biiiiig BUT…(but with one t, just to make that clear).

To tell you the truth, dear Linguaholics, geil is rarely used in that way. So whenever you are dropping a geil, Germans won’t immediately think that you use it to express your “hornyness” (does that word even exist?; well, if it doesn’t, let’s call it a neologism), unless…

…the context in which you say that kinda supports the fact that it should mean just that.

What is that supposed to mean?

Well, if you will ever hear someone saying geil in some xxx-rated material, you can be pretty damn sure that it is meant in that way…

In everyday speech, though, geil signifying “horny” is rarely used.


You are just so…HOT or well…GEIL!

Well, I said that there are four basic meanings of geil. And that is true. But let me add another one at this point because I feel that geil is very often used in that way, too.


In which way?


To express how hot a guy or a woman is (looks like). It is very common among young people to refer to a good-looking woman or man as geil, therefore HOT.


Lennox: Kennst du Sabine? Die ist voll geil.  (Do you know Sabine? She’s hot as hell)

Me: Sorry, die kenn ich nicht. (I am sorry, I don’t know her. )


Geil: Wrapping it all up 

There you have it. All the different meanings of geil that you could ever wish for. Well almost. But first things first.

Let’s have a look at our arsenal of geil vocabulary so far (in terms of what geil can signify):

  • good
  • great!
  • cool!
  • awesome!
  • nice!
  • horny
  • sexy
  • hot
  • rampant (e.g. plants)
  • heavily fertilized (soil)


And now, Ladies and Gentleman, as a bonus, we will have a look at some more geil words. This time around geil will function as a suffix (geil will be slapped at the end of another word to create yet another new awesome geil word).

Drop one of these the next time you are having a discussion in German and people will be impressed (or maybe shocked…).


How to take Geil to the NEXT LEVEL!

Geil is already a pretty strong statement but you can take this even further by slapping an ober in front of geil, and you will have something even more geil than geil:


Jason: Hast du die Serie Peaky Blinders gesehen, Alter? (Have you seen the TV Series Peaky Blinders, bro?)

Me: Ja, die ist echt obergeil! (Yes, this series ROCKS!)


You think that’s all? Not so fast! Slap an affen between ober & geil and you can take this even further:


Tina: Wie war dein Urlaub in Vietnam? (How was your vacation in Vietnam?)

Me: War echt oberaffengeil! (It has been abso-*******-lutely amazing!)


So that’s it? ALMOST! Instead of ober” you can also use “end” to get the same meaning as obergeil across:


Kevin: Kennst du das Forum 4chan? (Do you know the forum 4chan?)

James: Ja, das ist echt endgeil! (Yes. It is the bomb. )


So, there you go. We just learned that geil can also function as a suffix and can, therefore, be slapped at the end of some words to intensify their meaning.

Now, have a look at the picture above (the one with the pig inside). This is yet another word that you can construct with geil.

So what does saugeil mean? It simply means that something is extremely (very) geil.


You gotta love the flexibility of the German language, right? Truly one of a kind!


Example Sentences using GEIL



Richtig geil, dieses Spiel. Vor allem der Multiplayer-Modus macht richtig Spaß!

Translation: This game is so cool!. Especially the multiplayer mode rocks!


Ist das Kleid neu? Sieht richtig geil aus!

Translation: Is that a new dress? Looks so nice!


Lennie: Ich habe gestern im Lotto gewonnen,  Lennie!

Me: Wie geil ist das denn!



Lennie: I won the lottery yesterday, Lennie!

Me: Just how awesome is that, man!


Die Party gestern bei Kim war richtig geil! Ich kam erst um fünf Uhr morgens nach Hause. 

Translation: The party yesterday at Kim’s place was really awesome! I didn’t come home until five o’clock in the morning.


Me: Kennst du Shu Qi?

Bernd: Ja! Noch selten so ne geile Frau gesehen!



Me: Do you know Shu Qi?

Bernd: Yes! What a hotty!


Ich find die Serie Breaking Bad richtig geil! Vor allem Bryan Cranston in der Rolle von Heisenberg!

Translation: The Breaking Bad series is amazing! Especially Bryan Cranston in the role of Heisenberg!