Daily adventures, Vienna basics

Viennese for beginners, lesson 1


First time in Vienna? Hearing some strange words you never heard or read before. We prepare you for your day in the city. 5 Viennese words, their meaning and the way to use them in conversations with Vienna’s people.

First and foremost. People in Vienna don’t speak German. Well, kind of. Actually they speak Viennese. A dialect far away from standard German. Believe me. You already know that I was born and raised in Vienna. As far as that I’m familiar with most of the typical Viennese words – like leiwand. You won’t find leiwand in your German-English dictionary. And you will have a loooot of question marks in your head while listening to Viennese people, searching through your clever dictionary and wondering wtf they are talking about.

Sei einmal leiwand.

Unless you continue reading this post. We tell you the most tricky and most often used Viennese words and their meaning. Just go ahead. Viennese for Beginners, Lesson 1:


  • OIDA [′⊃yda]//this word can actually mean almost everything depending on the accentuation//starting from „dude…“ to „come on!!!“ to „are you serious?????“ to „what the f***“//you can use „oida“ at the beginning or the end of almost every sentence although it’s definitely not a charming word to use ;-))//the universal genius among the most often used Viennese words
  • LEIWAND [′laivant]//this simple word has a lovely meaning (no „what the f***“ this time, promised!)//it’s used as an adjective and stands for something that is really cool and super like: a great aka leiwandes restaurant, a cool aka leiwander song or you can use it as a single word as an emphasis if you want to say: „That’s awesome!“ („Leiwand!“)
  • BABA [ba′ba]//2×2 letters, easy as that//if you want to say „bye, bye“ or „see you“ like the Viennese do, just say: baba//be aware to really pronounce a soft b, otherwise you’ll mess it up with „Papa“ (meaning Daddy)//Vienna’s übercool popband Wanda sings about the „Bussi“ (Bussi Baby) aka a kiss – so if you want to grab the attention of a Viennese who’s close to you, you can try „Bussi Baba“ instead of only saying „Baba“ when you say goodbye
  • OBI GSPRITZT [o:bi g∫pritst]//ok, this one is tricky…gsp…tzt…how would one ever WANT to use this word?!?! And who the f*** is Obi?! (That’s what you might think)//No. This word is not a about a Jedi Master//It’s about apple juice (Obi is actually the name of a brand but entered common currency and is now often used as a synonym for apple juice)//And the extension „gspritzt“ adds some tap water or soda water to it//That’s it. Obi Gspritzt is the Viennese favourite non-alcoholic drink//You can never go wrong with that one. Goes with Schnitzel, Sausages and even Kaiserschmarrn. Prost! (Cheers!)
  • BIM [bim]//You can now order something to drink, say goodbye, tell someone that he or she is cool („Du bist leiwand“) and – of course – you know the universal magic word „oida“//Your survival in Vienna is nearly guaranteed//Just one last word in our first lesson. Bim. This word will take you around in Vienna. Just ask where the next bim station is//these three letters are the Viennese word for tram/streetcar//there are nice old bims driving around in the city but also new ones that are especially recommendable in summer because they are air-conditioned//Sure, we do have an underground and busses but we love our good old bims//Make sure to drive around the Ringstraße in one of these vehicles


Stay tuned for Lesson 2…

And let us know in our comments if there are any other strange Viennese words crossing your way that we can explain to you in our dictionary-like manner ;-)))


Picture: Vienna in a nutshell, T-shirt Kitsch Bitsch/Vienna in a nutshell’s own

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