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In English, 'butterfly' sounds warm, and kinda tasty (see 'butternut' and 'butter popcorn'). In French, 'le papillon' sounds, well, typically French and limp-wristed. In German, DER SCHMETTERLING sounds like something that could do you serious damage. It sounds like it would casually flap towards your face, then slap you in it with its 10" schlong. Not to be fucked with.
"Hey man, did you see that schmetterling just now?"
"Yeah, my face still hurts."

"Don't make me call the schmetterlings to sort you out."
by SOTBS October 24, 2009
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A German, an American, and a Frenchman are having lunch. They are taking turns complimenting the beauty of each other's languages. The American says "I love the delicacy of French! Like your word for butterfly: "papillon". The word "papillon" is so delicate - just like a butterfly!" The Frenchman answers "And I love the playfulness of English: like "butterfly"! It sounds just like a butterfly if you change the letters around: "flutter-by". Such a beautiful word.

There's a long pause while the American and the Frenchman give the German some side-eye. And the German finally says "Und vot ist wrong mit 'Schmetterling'?"
by Randonym July 25, 2018
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