Senior Member
English - England
I don't have a specific context. l've seen a few uses of it and it seems a generic term of abuse like idiot or rubbish? I can't find a dictionary definition.
  • Hutschi

    Senior Member
    It is a metaphor. So without context it is not clear.

    In context of idiot it can mean idiot, in this case there are lots of words with very small differences.

    I give some variants:

    Birne can be a metaphor for Kopf insome areas in coll. language. In this case "Du bist eine Hohlbirne" means "Hohlkopf" - "in your head is nothing but a hole."
    This is basically "you are an idiot."

    This might be transfered to the person as metaphor.

    Hohlbirne | Übersetzung Englisch-Deutsch gives:

    Edit: crossposted with Demiurg.

    PS: I searched whether it is used in a technical sense like "birne=lamp" and "Hohlbirne" is a kind of housing, but it is not. I did not find it.
    And I did not find that it is anywhere used for the fruit. It is always used for a person or the person's head in an extremely pejorative sense.
    Last edited:


    German - Germany
    It is a metaphor. So without context it is not clear.
    I don't agree. The meaning is clear, there are no contexts where this means something else than idiot, airhead, blockhead... But I don't hear it often.