Some food is so tongue-tastic it needs a word to describe it: in German, that word is “lecker”!
Lecker in English: German for delicious
In your German language class, you might have been taught to say “Es schmeckt gut” to say you like the way something tastes, but there’s also a far more colloquial way of putting it. The simple word “lecker” is used by most Germans to say that something is delicious, often in response to the question, “Schmeckt’s?” … “Ja, lecker!”
The word comes from the Middle High German word “lecker”, which is also where we get the word “lecken” (to lick) – so the word lecker literally means “licker”, which makes an odd sort of sense!
In certain regions of Germany, particularly in the south, you might still hear people use the word “lecken” in the context of tasting something – “Willst du mal an meinem Eis lecken?” – and so in this sense, the word lecker could be taken to mean “tasty”.
Is lekker a German word?
For the most part, the German word lecker is used only to describe food and drinks, and specifically their taste or smell. In some parts of Germany, it can be used as a slang word to describe someone as attractive – “Was für eine lecker Frau!” – but this is very, very informal and could get you into trouble in the wrong situation (for instance, it’s definitely not safe for work) – you have been warned!
This usage is similar to the way the word “lekker” is used in the Dutch language, which has stretched the meaning of the word to make it a cover-all term to describe pretty much anything as good or pleasant.
Food, people, places and even actions can be described as lekker in Dutch: it would be perfectly acceptable to say, “Slaap lekker” in the Netherlands, but in Germany you will face funny looks, if not laughter, if you wish someone to “Schlaf lecker!”
So, now you know: describe your food, and possibly sometimes people, as “Sehr lecker!” in Germany, and you’ll get by fine, but don’t be tempted to get too creative in your use of the word. It’s not likely to go down well…