From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
German terms commonly used in English
The German words of this category will easily be recognized by many English speakers; they are commonly used in English contexts. Some, such as wurst or pumpernickel, still retain German connotations, while others, such as lager and hamburger, retain none. Not every word is recognisable outside its relevant context.
Food and drink
- Beergarden (German spelling: Biergarten)
- Bratwurst (sometimes abbv. brat)
- Delicatessen (modern German spelling: Delikatessen; abbv. deli)
- Hasenpfeffer, a type of rabbit (or hare) stew
- Kirschwasser (in U.S. English only)
- Kraut (in U.S. English only — can also be a derisive term for Germans)
- Lager (beer)
- Liverwurst (from the German Leberwurst; e.g., Braunschweiger)
- Muesli (German spelling: Müsli, Swiss German Müesli)
- Pils, Pilsner, Pilsener (originally Bohemian town Pilsen (now Czech Plzeň) — in the Holy Roman Empire
- Pretzel (German spelling: Brezel)
- Pumpernickel, a type of sourdough rye bread, strongly flavoured, dense, and dark in colour.
- Schnapps (German spelling: Schnaps)
- Spritzer (from the Austrian and Bavarian 'G'spritzter', in Germany commonly called "Weinschorle", German word Spritzer-English squirt)
- Stein (i.e. "Bier Stein", pronounced [beer stīn], a large drinking mug, usually for beer, made of materials ranging from wood to plastic; the English word refers to the decorated, ceramic version of the artifact. In German, the word stein means "stone", but its English form originates from Steinkrug, meaning "stone mug"; Germans also refer to it as a Bierkrug.)
- Strudel (e. g. Apfelstrudel)
- Wiener (abbreviated from the German Wiener Würstchen, sausages from Vienna. In Austria, they are called Frankfurter.)
- Wienerschnitzel, Wiener schnitzel (German spelling: Wiener Schnitzel; Wien is the Austrian and German name for what an English person would refer to as "Vienna".)
Sports and recreation
- Abseil (German spelling: sich abseilen, a reflexive verb, to rope (seil) oneself (sich) down (ab))
- Foosball (German spelling: Fußball; refers to the field game football; in the United States and Canada, foosball refers exclusively to the tabletop football game found in bars, saloons, and pubs; also Tischfußball, Wuzzler, Kicker, or Krökeln in German, Töggele in Swiss German, and simply table football in the UK, Australia and the rest of the Anglic world.
- Carabiner (German spelling: Karabiner - Snaplink, a metal loop with a sprung or screwed gate, used in climbing and mountaineering); modern short form/derivation of the older word 'Karabinerhaken'; translates to 'Riflehook'
- Fahrvergnügen (the trick in aggressive inline skating. German: Fahrvergnügen, meaning "driving pleasure"; originally, the word was introduced in a Volkswagen advertising campaign in the U.S., one tag line was: "Are we having Fahrvergnügen yet?")
- Rucksack (more commonly called a backpack in U.S. English)
- Schuss (literally: shot — ski down a slope at high speed)
Other aspects of everyday life
- auf Wiedersehen, lit. "on seeing again," popularly used to express farewell
- -bahn as a suffix, e.g. Infobahn (ironic term for 'high-capacity data networks', after Autobahn.)
- Dachshund (a word that Germans rarely use; they say 'Dackel' or 'Teckel')
- Doberman Pinscher (German spelling: Dobermannpinscher, Germans often just say 'Dobermann')
- Doppelgänger ("double-goer"; also spelled: doppelganger) — usages: "double" or "replica"
- Dreck Literally dirt or smut, but now means "trashy", "awful"
- Dummkopf (dumm=dumb/not intelligent + Kopf=head) a stupid, ignorant person (used contemptuously)
- Ersatz, "replacement" as from the German Ersatzteil (spare part, replacement part); in English: "substitute", "imitation" (used derogatorily)
- Flak (Flugabwehrkanone — literally: aircraft-defense gun), for anti-aircraft guns or their shells, as in flak jacket; or in the figurative sense: "drawing flak" = being heavily criticized
- Gesundheit (German: "health"; an exclamation used in place of "bless you!" after someone has sneezed, an interesting theory traces this use back to the Bubonic plague epidemic.)
- Kaffeeklatsch ("get-together")
- kaput (German spelling: kaputt)
- Kindergarten, children’s garden, common in many countries, though not in the UK —
- Kitsch: cheap, sentimental, gaudy items of popular culture
- Kraut, a derogatory term for a German, because of assumed dietary habits (cabbage). Obsolete today, but current during World War I and World War II
- Lebensraum — space to live
- Meister, "Master", also as a suffix "-meister" — in modern English used sarcastically ; compare to Italian Maestro
- nazi — short form for National Socialist; now U.S. slang for people who behave very uptightly about something. This meaning was popularised in an episode of the U.S. television comedy programme Seinfeld, which features the soup nazi restaurateur character.
- Neanderthal (modern German spelling: Neandertal), of, from, and or pertaining to the "Neander Valley", site near Düsseldorf where early Homo erectus fossils were found.
- Oktoberfest — A Bavarian Folk Festival held annually in Munich during late September and early October.
- Poltergeist — 'mischievous, noisy ghost' cases of haunting involving spontaneous psychokinesis
- Rottweiler — breed of dog, named for its town of origin
- Schadenfreude, also Schadensfreude — happiness at the misfortune of others
- Schmooze (German schmusen, "to cuddle")
- Schnauzer (a German breed of dog with a close, wiry coat and heavy whiskers round the muzzle; also means "mustache")
- Spitz (a breed of dog)
- uber, über, (German spelling: über) "over", used to indicate that something, someone is of better or greater magnitude, e.g. überherren, cf. Übermensch.
- Ur- (German prefix): original or prototypical, e.g., Ur-feminist, Ur-language; Ursprache (proto-language)
- verboten (prohibited or forbidden)
- Volkswagen proper name in English; usually read with English phonetics (i.e. initial German v is sounded as English v, rather than German f; English w, rather than German v). In Germany, the abbreviation VW is often used instead of the long form.
- Wanderlust the yearning to travel
- Weltanschauung — World-view, underlying assumptions about reality.
- Wunderkind, "wonder child", a prodigy
- Zeitgeist "spirit of the time"
- Zeitnot (to be pronounced with a long o), to be in a rush
- Zeppelin, type of airship named after its inventor
- Waldsterben (deforestation, lit. "forest-death")