How rude is "Quatsch!"?



I've seen Quatsch! translated as Bullshit, which I was fine with as I had only heard it used among friends. Today, a university teacher used the Q-word in response to a student's serious suggestion in a somewhat professional setting.

How rude is Quatsch?


Posted 2011-05-24T21:00:32.343

Reputation: 8 597

2I regurlarly use “Nee, Quatsch!” in front of students, however always because I said something stupid right before (e.g. “33 weniger 24 ist 8... Quatsch! 9!”). I wouldn't do it if I thought it'd be rude. – cgnieder – 2012-04-26T18:52:44.143

Let me guess: that teacher has a propensity for rudeness in the classroom? Because that reaction was rude. – Jürgen A. Erhard – 2011-05-24T22:04:29.643

16@jae not necessarily. Imagine a student expressing the opinion that you should parse HTML using regular expressions for example. Or something else that is blatantly untrue, or an often-misquoted urban legend. Depending on the tone, "Quatsch" can then be just a very straightforward dismissal - but not necessarily rude. – Pekka 웃 – 2011-05-24T22:16:42.407

16is more like nonsense than bullshit. – None – 2013-03-06T22:11:27.893

Hmm. I used to watch a German show and they used to say "Quatsch" at least twice every episode. – Anurag Kalia – 2013-03-08T17:09:37.363

1I guess the rudeness depends on context and how harshly it is pronounced. – anonymous – 2013-03-08T17:08:10.030

2So would Quatsch! be more akin to Crap! or Bullcrap!, perhaps? – Kyralessa – 2011-06-02T03:03:44.133

9I would usually translate "bullshit" to "Schwachsinn". – balpha – 2011-05-25T08:10:51.980

My dad likes to call badly designed products or things that don't work / he isn't used to "Quatsch". He means something like "rubbish" by it. I have built up a certain ignorance against him calling digital technology "Quatsch", as soon as he can't handle it ... – Sam – 2014-11-16T22:32:37.113

A more fashionable/sophisticated way of saying that is: "Quatsch Mit Soße". :) – bchetty – 2012-01-04T15:39:34.613

Sorry for unburying this, but I believe “poppycock” is a very good translation of Quatsch. – Philipp – 2015-09-22T16:31:46.417



Quatsch is not vulgar at all and can be used in normal everyday speech to denote "nonsense":

Kinder machen Quatsch. (The children fool around in a harmless and funny way, e.g. making faces.)

But replying with "Quatsch!" might be perceived as offensive in the same way as "Nonsense!" would be in English - depending on the tone, facial expression and other situational factors.

Edit: If you're in Bavaria or in Austria, you could use the equivalent expression "Schmarrn!".


Posted 2011-05-24T21:00:32.343

Reputation: 32 543


+1 for Schmarrn :) !

– Sebastian – 2011-06-01T11:57:13.660

1I am from Austria and i tend to use: "Blödsinn" – HectorLector – 2013-03-08T13:51:52.193

1I am from Vienna and i tend to use: "geh' bitte!" – Nikolaj-K – 2013-06-21T08:04:26.453

11In British English, I think "rubbish" would be more common than "nonsense"; but with that word too, the offensiveness depends on how you say it. – Nick Dixon – 2011-06-03T10:42:17.663

1@HectorLector Bledsinn... – Andreas Niedermair – 2014-06-25T13:57:12.497

2On the Oktoberfest I once found a sign announcing Kaiserschmarrn ( a sort of sliced pancake) as emperors nonsense, which is obviously complete Quatsch! – guidot – 2014-06-27T20:26:25.457

6My grandmother used to become angry when I said "Quatsch" to her. The term was/is perceived as much more offensive by older people. – Tomalak – 2011-05-25T11:54:50.483

1@Tomalak Quatsch! – splattne – 2011-05-25T12:04:21.077

@splattne: Sach nich Quatsch zu mir! – Tomalak – 2011-05-25T12:05:10.953

I think it also depends on the fact how well you know the person you say it to, and/or what situation you're in. For example, it's not something one would use in a business meeting, or when talking to a stranger. – takrl – 2011-08-23T11:22:58.113

2what about "Quatsch mit Soße" ? – Johannes Schaub - litb – 2011-09-16T21:52:58.553

27+1 for “nonsense”, that’s actually a very good translation! – poke – 2011-05-24T21:06:24.950

5I would like to emphasize on the relevance of the tone. Quatsch itself is more or less inoffensive, but using a loud and angry tone can make it quite offensive. That's probably quiet similar to the English nonsense. – Koraktor – 2011-05-24T21:21:42.723

in many settings it is still considered as somewhat informal. i would not advise to use "quatsch" when talking with people who strongly value professionality – Lonely Neuron – 2017-10-23T09:24:09.687


Quatsch is not as strong as Bullshit.

In Germany you can use Ach, Quatsch for example if someone tells you some news you can hardly believe, and it won't be offensive at all. You may not want to use it in a very formal context.


Posted 2011-05-24T21:00:32.343

Reputation: 1 812

5true, a tiny little "ach" before makes it much less offensive. :) – ladybug – 2011-05-25T12:35:31.943


Quatsch states that something is nonsense. In your described situation, it is not appropriate to say this to a student but it is not offensive.

It is the informal way to say: "This obviously does not make sense".


Posted 2011-05-24T21:00:32.343

Reputation: 346


Welcome to the university, where (like it or not) students' 'serious suggestions' are often utter bullshit, or rubbish, or what have you, and where professors (like it or not) are tasked with the responsibility not to be polite, but to formulate and express coherent, accurate thought.

Also, no, it doesn't mean 'bullshit.' It is more like saying, 'That's absurd!'


Posted 2011-05-24T21:00:32.343

Reputation: 69