List of English Words of German Origin

Are you looking for a list of English words of German origin? If so, you have come to the right place. Some of the words are very Americanized, and you would never be able to tell where they came from. However, a number of them retain hints of their "German-ness." Even if you have never realized it before, once you take another look at these German words in English, you will most likely see their heritage shining through!

List of English Words of German Origin List of English Words of German Origin
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English Words of German Origin (A-F)

Explore this “a” to “f” list of English words of German origin. Along with each word, you’ll find a definition indicating how the term is used in English.

  • abseil - descend by rope
  • achtung - attention (popular reference in U2 album called Achtung Baby)
  • angst - fear, depression, anger
  • ansatz - entry; mathematical approach
  • anschluss - connection
  • autobahn - an expressway
  • automat - machine
  • bagel - dense circular bread that is both boiled and baked
  • bildungsroman - literary term meaning a coming of age story
  • blitz - energetic effort; a football strategy that involves disrupting the quarterback
  • bratwurst - a type of sausage
  • bretzel - a pretzel of the soft or hard variety
  • carabiner - metal safety clip used by outdoors enthusiasts
  • cobalt - chemical element; a shade of blue
  • cringle - part of a sail on a boat
  • dachshund - breed of small dog that has short legs and a long body
  • delicatessen - proper name for a deli; sandwich shop that sells cheese and meat
  • doppelganger - someone's double, often used in literature
  • echt - true, genuine
  • edelweiss - type of flower
  • eiderdown - a type of down made of duck feathers, used in comforters and pillows
  • einkorn - an ancient type of wheat
  • ersatz - not genuine or real; item used in substitute for another item
  • feldspar - specific types of minerals
  • fest - feast, celebration, party
  • fife - a small type of flute
  • flak - judgment, criticism, back-talk

English Words of German Origin (G-M)

Browse this “g” to “m” list of English words from German, along with the definition of each term.

  • gedankenexperiment - thought experiment, a term used by Albert Einstein
  • gelandesprung - ski term
  • gestalt - a psychological theory of the mind; indicates there is more to something than just its parts
  • gestapo - secret police force
  • gesundheit - bless you
  • graupel - form of snow, known as "snow pellets"
  • hamster - a small rodent and popular pet
  • haversack - a bag worn over the shoulder
  • hinterland - backwoods
  • homburg - a felt hat, generally for a man
  • kaput - not working, broken
  • kindergarten - school grade before first grade
  • kitsch - tacky art; art mocking something else
  • knapsack - a backpack or book bag
  • kohlrabi - type of cabbage
  • kuchen - coffee cakes
  • langlauf - cross country running or skiing
  • leberwurst - type of sausage
  • lederhosen - leather shorts
  • leitmotif - theme, often used in literature
  • liverwurst - a type of sausage; a spread made from this type of sausage
  • meistersinger - member of a certain German guild from the 15th and 16th centuries

English Words of German Origin (N-Z)

Peruse this “n” to “z” list of German words used in English, along with a simple definition of each word.

  • noodle - pasta
  • nosh - food, or to eagerly eat food
  • panzer - a type of German tank
  • pitchblende - a mineral
  • plunder - taking goods by force
  • poltergeist - ghost
  • prattle - utter sounds, meaningless chatter
  • pumpernickel - type of bread
  • putsch - violent attempt at overthrowing a government
  • realpolitik - political practice
  • reich - tyranny, tyrannical empire
  • rucksack - backpack, knapsack
  • sauerbraten - a type of pot roast
  • sauerkraut - fermented cabbage
  • schadenfreude - delighting in the misery of others
  • schnapps - a strong liquor, often with fruit flavor added
  • schnauzer - a breed of dog
  • seltzer - type of soda
  • sparerib - a cut of pork ribs
  • spritz - a small amount of something, usually a liquid
  • stollen - sweet yeast bread
  • streusel - a dessert type of food
  • ubermensch - superhuman
  • umlaut - a specific linguistic mark over vowels (ä, ö, ü)
  • verboten - forbidden
  • vorlage - a skiing position
  • wagnerian - a follower of composer Richard Wagner
  • waltz - a formal dance
  • wanderlust - pleasure, desire or longing to travel
  • wunderkind - child prodigy
  • zeitgeist - predominant mood of a certain timeframe or era
  • zeppelin - large airship
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Exploring English Words of Foreign Origin

Now that you’re aware of some of the many English words originating from the German language, including basic everyday selections and some more advanced terms, it’s only natural to wonder what other words used in English are actually based on another language. Expand your language horizons by exploring more English words of foreign origin. Get started by discovering which English words originate from Spain. Exploring word origins will boost your knowledge of etymology.