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German Words of the Year
Wörter des Jahres


Complete Lists by Year
with English definitions/explanations

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Ger. Words 1 > Ger. Words 2 > Word List 1 > List 2 > List 3

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?

Ger. Words 1 > Ger. Words 2 > Word List 1 > List 2 > List 3

DAILY > German Word of the Day - Wort des Tages

MORE > English-German Glossaries for German vocabulary

MORE > Swiss-German Words of the Year

MORE > GfdS/Links > Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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