German Words of the Year
Wörter des Jahres
Complete Lists by Year
with English definitions/explanations
Below you'll find the top-ranked words and expressions for 2002-2004 with an English explanation for expressions that may not be obvious to English-speakers. Each year's words are selected by the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (GfdS, the German Language Society) and are listed by rank in their respective years. (See the full article for more about the GfdS selection criteria.)
Also see the Swiss-German Words of the year
Die Wörter des Jahres 2004
WORT des JAHRES 2004
Hartz IV - This controversial German pension reform plan is named for its creator, Dr. Peter Hartz. The IV refers to the fourth section of a total government financial reform package, dealing with pension costs. "Hartz IV" also appeared on our Wort des Tages page in 2004.
Parallelgesellschaften die, pl. - "Parallel societies" refers to a tolerant attitude regarding people of different cultures living together
Pisa-gebeutelte Nation die - Germany was all shaken up over criticism of its education system after a poor showing in the international PISA study.
gefühlte Armut die - "felt poverty," a word referring to the actual situation of people in poverty, as opposed to mere statistics
Ekelfernsehen das - The German term for "disgusting TV" reflected growing criticism of German television programming.
Praxisgebühr die - A new German health insurance charge starting in 2004, which required a "doctor's office fee" from patients for the first doctor's visit in each quarter.
Ein-Euro-Job der - A "one euro job" refers to a German unemployment insurance program intended to give serious job-seekers a bonus.
aufgestellt - Borrowing of a sports term, expanded to refer to business and politics, inferring better quality brought about by "putting a team together"
Rehakles - A play on words that combines the name of the Greek hero Herakles with the name of the German soccer coach, Otto Rehhagel, to form the heroic sounding "Rehakles" in honor of his success in leading the Greek soccer team to victory in the 2004 European championship games.
... & mehr - The phrase "... and more" became a German cliché that imitated the English slogan "Miles & More" (an airline mileage plan), now tacked on to almost anything: "Computer & mehr," "Erholung & mehr."
Source: Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (GfdS)
Die Wörter des Jahres 2003
WORT des JAHRES 2003
das alte Europa - Donald Rumsfeld's "old Europe" phrase became a badge of honor in Germany
Agenda 2010 das - Chancellor Schröder's (SPD) label for his reform plans
Reformstreit der - the fighting over "Agenda 2010"
SARS/Sars das - the worldwide disease outbreak (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
eingebettete Journalisten - imbedded journalists (in Iraq)
Maut-Desaster das - failure of an autobahn toll/tax proposal
Steuerbegunstigungsabbaugesetz das - legislation to end tax advantages
Jahrtausendglut die - Europe's heat wave in the summer of 2003; rhymes with Jahrtausendflut, a 2002 Word of the Year referring to the devastating eastern German floods that year; the Swiss called the heat wave the Jahrtausendsommer.
googlen - to "google" (use a search engine)
Alcopops pl. - sweet (soda-pop-like) alcoholic drinks
Satz des Jahres 2003
Deutschland sucht den Superstar (DSDS) = Germany seeks the superstar (TV show)
Die Wörter des Jahres 2002
WORT des JAHRES 2002
Teuro der - a mixture of teuer (expensive) and Euro that reflects the German perception that the euro currency, which went into circulation in Jan. 2002, caused prices go up - pron. TOY-RO
PISA-Schock der - PISA stands for Programme for International Student Assessment. German students did not rank highly in the PISA study, causing a national educational shock.
Jahrtausendflut die - Refers to the terrible 1000-year flood that hit eastern Germany in 2002
Kakophonie die - German chancellor Schröder used the term cacophony to characterize the arguing and disharmony of his government's red-green coalition (the 1998 word of the year)
Ich-AG die - A term referring to a proposed program that would allow individuals to incorporate, reducing moonlighting, unemployment, and tax evasion.
Bush-Krieger - A play on the German word for "bush warrior" that was adopted by German opponents of Bush's Iraq policy.
Job-Floater - This English term refers to a German proposal to provide low-cost loans to companies in job-poor regions of the country.
verhunzigern - A verb based on the name of lobbyist Moritz Hunzinger. It describes a method of lobbying based on a subtle form of bribery.
Arzneimittelausgabenbegrenzungsgesetz das - As in 1999, a word describing a new German law made the list. This one limits payments for prescription medicines.
Es gibt nur ein' Rudi Völler! - A phrase that comes from the German second-place win in the 2002 soccer World Cup.
NEXT > German Words: 1998-2001
MORE > The Longest German Word?
DAILY > German Word of the Day - Wort des Tages
MORE > English-German Glossaries for German vocabulary
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