Word of the Week: Spatzenhirn

Sep 9, 2016

Spatz Enlarge image (© www.colourbox.com) What do you call someone who is not very intelligent? A Spatzenhirn, of course!

Literally translated, Spatzenhirn means "sparrow's brain" and it refers to someone who isn't very smart. Sparrows are small birds with small brains and it has long been assumed that because of the size of their brains, they are not very intelligent. Thus, the comparison arose between sparrows and humans who are not the brightest.

If you have a friend who is forgetful and fails to comprehend simple tasks, you might accuse him or her of having a Spatzenhirn!

Spatzenhirn Enlarge image (© www.colourbox.com) In English there is a similar colloquial term to describe the less-intelligent friends of ours: "bird brain." But even though birds have small brains, they are not as dumb as we think: new research shows that birds have more neurons per square inch of their brains than mammals. This means that even though their brains are small, they have a relatively high level of cognative ability. Thus, Spatzenhirn may not be the insult that it seems!

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany

© Germany.info

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