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The word “naschen”

Today, I found out that German apparently has a verb that specifically means eating sweets:


Like eating candy or chocolate.
It’s related to the Yiddish-English nosh and there might be a connection to the English to gnaw but that’s not entirely certain. Still, I find that image of gnawing on a chocolate bar or munching a bunch of gummy bears kind of helpful to remember the word.

  • Ich nasche gern.
  • I like eating sweets.
  • Hast du was zum Naschen?
  • Do you have something sweet?

Besides actually eating sweets, naschen is also used in the sense of taking a little bite of something for pleasure. Like eating some cheese at night, or taking a spoon of pasta sauce while it’s still simmering on the stove.

  • Ich habe ein bisschen von der Sauce genascht.
  • I nibbled a bit on your pasta sauce.

But it doesn’t work for drinks, and it’s also not used for is stuff like chips or salted peanuts, because for salty snacks, German has an extra word – knabbern.

  • Für den Filmabend brauchen wir was zum Naschen und was zum Knabbern.
  • We need sweet and salty snacks for the movie night.