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German Loan Words in English

A Survey of German Words Used in English

Introduction: A-F > G-L > M-Z

National Spelling Bee Words
Two German loan words in the list below (marked **) determined the winner in the final round of the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The word that cost the second-place person the win was "Weltschmerz." The winning word, spelled correctly by eighth grader Katherine ("Kerry") Close, was "Ursprache." Other German words used in previous bees are marked *.

Also see > Porsche and Other German Words in English (with audio)

German Words in English
Part 2 (M-Z)
ENGLISH DEUTSCH MEANING
machtpolitik
Machtpolitik
e Machtpolitik Similar to "realpolitik" below. The English term "power politics" is derived from the German.
masochism r Masochismus Named for the Austrian novelist Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895)
Mergenthaler press Ottmar Mergenthaler
(1854-1899)
Named for the German-born inventor of the Linotype printing process
Neanderthal s Neanderthal Germany's "Neander valley," where the remains of ancient man were found; the valley was named for Joachim Neander (1650-1680) - Audio
nickel s Nickel nickel, Ni; see Chemical Elements
pinscher r Pinscher a dog breed; see "Doberman pinscher"
poltergeist poltern + Geist a ghost that makes mysterious noises, from the German poltern, to make noise
quartz r Quarz
(pron., kvartz)
quartz, a crystalline mineral/rock, SiO2 (silicon dioxide)
quartzite r Quarzit
(pron., kvartz-it)
quartzite, a type of hard sandstone
realpolitik*
Realpolitik*
e Realpolitik "realistic politics" - historical term for power politics and foreign policy based on expediancy rather than ethics or public opinion
Reich s Reich "empire, realm" - usually used in reference to the "Third Reich," the Nazi realm
Reichstag r Reichstag "imperial diet" - Der Reichstag was the German parliament prior to WWII. The word is often used in English, somewhat inaccurately, for the building (das Reichstagsgebäude) that now houses the Bundestag (federal parliament) in Berlin. See Reichstag photos.
Rottweiler r Rottweiler a dog breed named for the German town of Rottweil
rucksack r Rucksack "back pack"
sauerbraten r Sauerbraten "sour roast," a marinated beef roast
sauerkraut s Sauerkraut "pickled cabbage"
Schadenfreude e Schadenfreude enjoyment over someone's misfortune
schnapps
schnaps
r Schnaps "dram, nip" - Any strong, distilled alcoholic drink (brandy, whiskey, vodka, etc.); a strongly flavored Dutch gin (Hollands)
schnauzer r Schnauzer A breed of dog that takes its name from the German word for "snout" (die Schnauze)
schnitzel s Schnitzel "cutlet" - see "wienerschnitzel" below
schuss
schussing
r Schuss "shot," a straight run in downhill skiing
spitz
(pron. SPITS)
spitz
r Spitz
"pointed" - A spitz is a breed of dog with erect, pointed ears; a Pomeranian
strudel r Strudel a type of pastry made with thin layers of dough, rolled up with a fruit filling, as "apple strudel"; from the German for "swirl" or "whirlpool"
uber- / über-
(pron. OOBER)
über
(over, above)
a German prefix used to indicate a "super-something" or a "mother of all" whatevers, as in "Martha Stewart, the über-diva"
Übermensch r Übermensch superman, a super/superior being; from the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche
umlaut* r Umlaut dieresis, a diacritical mark (two dots) over a vowel indicating a change in sound; in linguistics, a change or shift in the sound of a word element
ursprache** e Ursprache original language, proto-language; a reconstructed, hypothetical source language
urtext r Urtext original text (literature, music)
verboten verboten forbidden
vermouth r Wermut vermouth (aperitif)
waltz r Walzer/walzen "waltz, to revolve" - a dance in 3/4 time that evolved from the traditional German Ländler folk dance in the 18th century; the Viennese waltz music of Johann Strauss, Jr. helped popularize the waltz in the 19th century.
Waldsterben s Waldsterben "forest death," a term used for the decline of the world's forests
Wanderjahr s Wanderjahr "wander year," a year of travel before settling down in one's vocation; orig. a custom for German journeymen
wanderlust e Wanderlust impulse or longing to wander or travel
Wehrmacht* e Wehrmacht "defense force" - name of the German armed forces during World War II; today's German armed forces are known as die Bundeswehr.
Weimaraner r Weimaraner "from Weimar" - a dog breed named for the German city of Weimar; the name derives from the Kurfürst (electoral prince) of Saxony-Weimar who favored and bred the dogs in the 18th century, but the breed goes back to the 15th century or earlier.
Weltanschauung e Weltanschauung "world view," a philosophy or conception of the world, universe, and human life
Weltschmerz** r Weltschmerz "world pain," melancholy over the state of the world
wiener
(pron. WEE-ner)
Wiener
pron. VEE-ner
"of Vienna" - Viennese sausage (Wienerwurst), a "hot dog"
wiener dog r Dachshund See "dachshund" for more
wienerschnitzel
Wiener schnitzel
s Wiener Schnitzel
s Wienerschnitzel
"Viennese cutlet" - breaded veal cutlet (not a hot dog, as many English-speakers mistakenly think); also made with pork or turkey
wunderbar wunderbar wonderful
wunderkind s Wunderkind "miracle child" - a child prodigy; plural: Wunderkinder
Zeitgeist r Zeitgeist spirit of the age/times
zeppelin* r Zeppelin rigid airship named for its inventor, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin
zinc s Zink zinc, Zn; see Chemical Elements
*Words used in past Scripps National Spelling Bees.
**Words used in the final round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in June 2006.
  Audio > Hear many of these words
  Also see: Erfinder/Inventors - German and other inventors

GERMAN LOAN WORDS in ENGLISH
A-F | G-L | M-Z

WORT des TAGES > German Word of the Day

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