Outline of German expressions in English

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The following outline is presented as an overview of and topical guide to German expressions in English:

A German expression in English is a German loanword, term, phrase, or quotation incorporated into the English language. A loanword is a word borrowed from a donor language and incorporated into a recipient language without translation. It is distinguished from a calque, or loan translation, where a meaning or idiom from another language is translated into existing words or roots of the host language. Some of the expressions are relatively common (e.g. hamburger), but most are comparatively rare. In many cases the loanword has assumed a meaning substantially different from its German forebear.

English and German both are West Germanic languages, though their relationship has been obscured by the lexical influence of Old Norse and Norman French (as a consequence of the Norman conquest of England in 1066) on English as well as the High German consonant shift. In recent years, however, many English words have been borrowed directly from German. Typically, English spellings of German loanwords suppress any umlauts (the superscript, double-dot diacritic in Ä, Ö, Ü, ä, ö and ü) of the original word or replace the umlaut letters with Ae, Oe, Ue, ae, oe, ue, respectively (as is done commonly in German speaking countries when the umlaut is not available; the origin of the umlaut was a superscript E).

German words have been incorporated into English usage for many reasons:

As languages, English and German descend from the common ancestor language West Germanic and further back to Proto-Germanic; because of this, some English words are essentially identical to their German lexical counterparts, either in spelling (Hand, Sand, Finger) or pronunciation (fish = Fisch, mouse = Maus), or both (Arm, Ring); these are excluded from this list.

German common nouns adopted into English are in general not initially capitalised, and the ß is generally changed to ss.

German terms commonly used in English

Most of these words will be recognized by many English speakers; they are commonly used in English contexts. Some, such as wurst and pumpernickel, retain German connotations, while others, such as lager and hamburger, retain none. Not every word is recognizable outside its relevant context. A number of these expressions are used in American English, under the influence of German immigration, but not in British English.

Food and drink

Sports and recreation

Other aspects of everyday life

German terms common in English academic context

German terms sometimes appear in English academic disciplines, e.g. history, psychology, philosophy, music, and the physical sciences; laypeople in a given field may or may not be familiar with a given German term.






Selected works in classical music
Modern songs








Minerals including:


(Some terms are listed in multiple categories if they are important to each.)

The Third Reich

Other historical periods

Military terms



Mathematics and formal logic



Physical sciences





German terms mostly used for literary effect

There are a few terms which are recognised by many English speakers but are usually only used to deliberately evoke a German context:

Terms rarely used in English

German quotations used in English

Some famous English quotations are translations from German. On rare occasions an author will quote the original German as a sign of erudition.

See also


  1. Collins English Dictionary - Definition of “schmalz” http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/schmalz
  2. "Definition of foosball". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  3. "Definition of Kutte in German". Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache, DWDS. Retrieved 3 November 2011. External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. "Productivity Measures: Business Sector and Major Subsectors". BLS Handbook of Methods. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  5. Rutherford, Prof. Thomas F. "Modeling Unanticipated Shocks: An Illustrative GAMS/MCP Model". MPSGE Forum. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  6. "Drude" (9 February 2006). "Economic Curiosity. [Solow model]". PhysOrg.com. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  7. Lequiller, François; Derek Blades (2006). "ch. 6". Understanding National Accounts (PDF (4MB)). Economica. Translator: F. Wells. Paris: OECD. p. 160. ISBN 92-64-02566-9. Retrieved 11 April 2008. “K” (for the German word “kapital”) indicates capital accumulation items.
  8. W. R. F. Browning (1 December 2004). A dictionary of the Bible. Oxford University Press. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-19-860890-5. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  9. Matthew S. DeMoss (1 August 2001). Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek. InterVarsity Press. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-8308-1464-0. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  10. John Barton (October 1984). Reading the Old Testament: method in biblical study. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-664-24555-9. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  11. Richard N. Soulen; R. Kendall Soulen (November 2001). Handbook of biblical criticism. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-664-22314-4. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  12. Matthew S. DeMoss (1 August 2001). Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek. InterVarsity Press. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-8308-1464-0. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  13. Richard N. Soulen; R. Kendall Soulen (November 2001). Handbook of biblical criticism. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-664-22314-4. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  14. David L. Petersen (April 2002). The prophetic literature: an introduction. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-664-25453-7. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  15. Mark F. Whitters (2003). The Epistle of Second Baruch: a study in form and message. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-8264-6216-9. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  16. http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-german/out%20+%20hand Hinaus or Heraus


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