You might have realized that one can find many Geran words in English. With the big immigration movements in the last two centuries, Germans brought their language all over the world. Today, we use a lot of words in English that are originally based in German. Find out 5 German words widely used in English.

Five common German words which are widely used in English:

The German noun “Angst”

Number one in this list is the noun “Angst”. While in German, “die Angst” means fear, the word rather refers to anxiety or depression when used in English. The noun is female die / eine Angst and is commonly used with the verb “haben“. For instance, you could say: “Ich habe Angst” (I am afraid)


The idea of the “Doppelgänger”

The next common German word that we often use in English is “Doppelgänger”. This noun stans for a look-alike in both languages. Literally, the word “Doppelgänger” means “double walker” and gets the article “der”.

singular male: der / ein Doppelgänger

singular female: die / eine Doppelgängerin

plural: die Doppelgänger

plural female: die Doppelgängerinnen


What about the “Kitsch”

Personally, I do think that if you say the German word “Kitsch“, it sounds very much like what it is! It describes a design that we perceive as being bad taste. Also, it does not matter if the bad taste refers to clothes, furniture or behavior. The German noun “Kitsch” has a male gender and it is only available in the singular. The appropriate German adjective is “kitschig”.


If you have some “Schadenfreude”

One man’s pain is another man’s pleasure, and this is exactly what the German word “Schadenfreude” stands for in both languages. Literally, it means “happiness about harm” ;). Not surprisingly, it refers to the mischievous joy over the misfortune of another person. The word “Schadenfreude” is used with the article “die”. Take care, you cannot use “Schadenfreude” with the indefinite article since you will always refer to something specific if you use this word. The adjective that bases on this noun is “schadenfroh”.


Bringing your kids to “Kindergarden”

Last but not least, almost everybody knows the word “kindergarten” in English. Guess what! It is also loaned from German. The literal meaning of “der Kindergarten” is the “garden for children”. It is a pre-school which was invented in the 18th century as in some families both parents started to work. Therefore, they needed a place for their kids to stay during this time. Today, in Germany, kids normally go to a “Kindergarten” from the age of three until they are six or seven.


Common 5 German words in English

I hope that you enjoyed getting to know these 5 German words which are widely used in English and that you will use them the next time when a suitable situation arises.

Bis bald!



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