How to Say That Someone Is Stingy in German

by Expath Language School

Do you always buy off-brand items and hate tipping? You might call it frugal but if it's extreme — you're stingy. We don't make the rules!


In the sense of lacking generosity, “stingy” can have several different translations in German. The main word for “miserly” or “cheap” is geizig. Its corresponding noun Geiz (m.) means “stinginess”. A stingy person can be called a Geizhals (“miser” or “scrooge” – literally “stingy-neck”). Another word is knauserig, with the noun being Knauser (m.).


Der alte Knauser ist so geizig. That old miser is so cheap.
Du bist so ein knauseriger Geizhals. You’re such a stingy cheapskate.

Another Meaning

In the sense of “petty” and “small-minded”, the German word is kleinlich. A “thrifty” or “frugal” person is sparsam. The nouns for both ends with -keit and are both feminine.


Diese ständige Kleinlichkeit geht mir wirklich auf die Nerven. This constant pettiness is really getting on my nerves.

Er ist sehr sparsam und achtet auf jeden Cent. He’s very frugal and watches every cent.