As of June 30, 2018, live e-Tutoring has been discontinued.
Please click here for more information.

February Idiom: Einen Kater haben


The idiom for February is a very useful one if you plan to go to Germany and to imbibe a little too much while you are there. Chances are you will wake up the next morning feeling positively rotten.
Germans have a perfect idiom for this condition: "Einen Kater haben".
It literally translates to "to have a tomcat" and means to have a hangover.


Charlie hat gestern zu viel Bier getrunken. Jetzt hat sie einen Kater.
Charlie had too much beer last night. Now she has a hangover.

Sei Vorsichtig! Wenn du verschiedene Alkoholsorten mischst, hast du morgen bestimmt einen Kater.
Be careful! If you mix different kinds of alcohol, you will surely have a hangover tomorrow.

A related expression is the "Muskelkater", which means sore muscles.


It is believed that "Kater" has nothing to do with the male cat but rather with the word "katarrh" which used to refer to a cold or the sniffles which have similar symptoms to the hangover. 
While I'm no expert, I have always thought that the connection to the word "Katzenjammer" is most likely. The expression "Katzenjammer", literally cat misery, is used  when you feel positively dreadful. Here once again is the connection to cats. If you  have the noise cats make in your head somehow, you are probably experiencing misery and pain.
Anyway, that is my two cents. 
Enjoy your Kater in Germany!


Register or Sign In to comment.