German words you need to know: Pappsatt

Cardboard set is a colloquial adjective used to describe feeling especially stuffed after eating: ‘as full as a tick’ or ‘fit to burst’, some may say in English. Other than being a rather satisfying word to say, its derivation is intriguing. Among other definitions, the word sat refers to feeling ‘full’ and ‘sated’, so it is papp which conveys the emphasis of feeling full to the point of bursting.

Papp in specific regions translates to the word ‘mush’, while Cardboard as an attributive noun (from the German cardboard) translates to ‘cardboard’. The digital German dictionary Digital dictionary of the German language of the 20th century Century (DWDS) notes that it is also a nursery word which German children make to imitate the sounds of eating.

On the subject of papp, there is also the phrase: can no longer say papp (translated to something like ‘can’t say mush anymore’) which is another way to express feeling very full. German dictionary Duden notes that this is likely to come from the idea that someone’s mouth is so full they can’t even say the word papp.

Maybe it’s worth stuffing yourself at dinner, just so you can use the word cardboard in its full glory.

QUIZ: How well do you know German food culture?


I’m completely fed up!

I’m completely stuffed!

I can no longer say papp!

I’ve eaten far too much!

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by providing useful words and translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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