16 Long German Words All German Learners Should Know

German learners in a ship Long German words

Long German words have always been a source of fascination and a challenge for German language learners. The German language is known for its complex grammar and the creation of compound words by combining smaller words into a single, lengthy word.

In this article, we will delve into the longest words in German that German learners might enjoy.

From the longest German word of all to other fascinating compound words, these German words offer a glimpse into the intricacies of the language.

The Longest German Words

First, let’s take a look at some of the longest German words so you can see first-hand the German language’s penchant for combining multiple words to express a specific concept concisely.

Learning these words highlights the German language’s ability to combine multiple words into one cohesive term. Then, we will dive into some more funny and useful long German words.

1. Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän (Danube Steamship Company Captain)

The word Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän means “Danube steamship company captain.”

In the past, the Danube River was a bustling hub of steamship activity, and the captain of such a vessel held great responsibility. This extraordinarily long word is not used in day-to-day life, but it is a fascinating look at the German language.

2. Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz (Beef Labeling Regulation Assignment Transfer Law)

This is the longest German word of all, and it translates to “beef labeling regulation assignment transfer law.” 

It refers to the ultra-specific concept of regulating beef labeling. Like the first word, it is not in everyday use by German speakers, but it is intriguing from a linguistic standpoint.

Funny Long German Words

Now for the funnier side of the German language. These long words have a comical nature that all learners can appreciate.

3. Erklärungsnot (Explanation Poverty)

This hilarious German word means “explanation poverty” and it is used to describe anyone who cannot worm their way out of trouble with their lies.

For instance, a lying, cheating spouse, a kid who has been caught red-handed doing something naughty, or a politician whose excuses are not convincing.

4. Handschuhe (Hand Shoes)

Handschuhe literally means “hand shoes” and this is a fascinating example of how the German language can create compound words that give a literal meaning to objects.

While the term may seem peculiar to English speakers, it is the German way of saying “gloves,” and there is a certain logic to the word.

Embracing such words enables learners to appreciate the nuances of the German language and its capacity for creative and descriptive expressions.

5. Wildpinkler (Wild Urinator)

The term Wildpinkler refers to an individual who urinates in public spaces outside designated areas, often without regard for social norms or legal restrictions.

This behavior is considered uncivilized and disrespectful, posing health and hygiene risks to the community. Wildpinklers may face legal consequences, such as fines or even criminal charges, depending on local laws.

6. Backpfeifengesicht (Slap Face)

Backpfeifengesicht literally translates to “slap face.” It is used to describe a person who has a face that appears deserving of a slap due to their unpleasant or obnoxious demeanor.

While the term is subjective and not encouraged for personal interactions, it is very funny to know and can come in handy in a joking setting.

7. Freundschaftsbeziehung (Friendship Relationship)

The term Freundschaftsbeziehung means “friendship relationship” and this compound word is used to explain the deep and meaningful connection between friends.

This wholesome word encapsulates the depth and power of friendly relations.

8. Sitzfleisch (Seat Meat)

Sitzfleisch literally translates to “seat meat” and it implies you have a sturdy bottom on which to sit. This term refers to the ability to sit still for long periods, often used to describe someone’s endurance or patience.

This comical term highlights the value of dedication and perseverance in various aspects of life.

9. Dreikäsehoch (Three Cheeses High)

Dreikäsehoch translates to “three cheeses high.” It is a colloquial expression used to describe a person, typically a child, who is short.

The term conveys a sense of endearment or affectionate humor when referring to someone’s height. While playful, it is important to use such terms with sensitivity and respect, considering the feelings of those being referred to.

10. Kummerspeck (Grief Bacon)

Kummerspeck literally translates to “grief bacon.” It refers to the weight gained from emotional overeating, usually as a result of stress, sadness, or heartbreak.

While this term is fun and comical in nature, it has some sad undertones, so be careful when you use it with friends not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Useful Long German Words

Now that we have explored some of the more comical compound words in German, let’s explore some more useful long German words.

11. Brustschmerzen (Chest Pain)

Brustschmerzen, which translates to “chest pain,” is a term that holds significant importance in the area of healthcare and well-being.

Understanding this word is important for German learners, as it enables them to describe and communicate discomfort or distress in the chest area, or help someone else if they are asking for help.

12. Nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit (Food Intolerance)

Nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit, translating to “food intolerance,” is a significant term in the field of dietary health and wellness.

German learners should know this word, as it enables them to discuss and navigate the complexities of food intolerances.

It is important to be able to communicate your dietary needs and understand the dietary restrictions of others to prevent a crisis. You will need to know if someone in your home has a nut allergy, for instance.

13. Lungenentzündung (Lung Inflammation/Pneumonia)

Lungenentzündung, which means “lung inflammation” or “pneumonia,” is a term of significant importance in the field of respiratory health.

If you intend to go to medical school or work in healthcare in a German-speaking country, it is a good idea to learn the related vocabulary in German.

As with healthcare, there are long words in German associated with other fields such as engineering and manufacturing – if you are interested in these fields, you might want to learn more related vocabulary.

14. Kühlschrank (Refrigerator)

Kühlschrank, which translates to “refrigerator,” is a common word that you may use several times a day.

By understanding the meaning of Kühlschrank, you can navigate real-life situations at work and at home in German.

15. Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung (Speed Limit)

Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung, or “speed limit”, is a term that is significant in ensuring road safety.

By knowing this German word and other related terms, you’ll be able to take directions from a German GPs system or a German-speaking local, read road signs easily, and keep yourself safe on the road.

16. Wörterbuch (Dictionary)

Wörterbuch, which means “dictionary,” is not only a fun word that literally means “words book,” but it is also an indispensable tool for German learners seeking to expand their vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the language.

Speaking of dictionaries, what better tool is there for finding more long compound German words? You can use a German dictionary to confirm the meaning of new words you learned from German movies, songs, or books.

FAQs About Long German Words for Learners

As you can see, the German language has no shortage of long words and hilarious compound phrases. Now, let’s explore some frequently asked questions about long German words.

Why does German have compound words?

German has compound words to express complex concepts concisely. Combining words allows for efficient communication. There are many compound words in the German language, and some of these are very witty, clever, and fascinating for learners to unpick.

What is an example of a compound word in German?

A great example of a German compound word is Fernweh, which combines Fern (“distance”) and Weh (“pain”). It describes a longing or homesickness for faraway places, a sort of “ache” for travel. It captures the bittersweet feeling of wanting to explore the world beyond. If you want to explore the German-speaking world, you should continue with your German studies and note down the most useful and fun compound words that you learn.

Why study compound words in German?

German learners should study compound words because they are a fundamental aspect of the language. Understanding compound words enhances vocabulary, improves comprehension, and enables the construction of more precise and nuanced sentences. It also provides insights into German culture and the language’s ability to express complex concepts efficiently.

What German word has 79 letters?

The German word with 79 letters is Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft. This long German word is a humorous creation and is not officially recognized as a legitimate term in the German language dictionary. It was coined to mock the tendency of the German language to form long compound words.

Summing Up: Long German Words All German Learners Should Know

Learning long words in German is not only fun linguistically, but it also deepens your understanding of the language and expands your vocabulary.

From regulations and health terms to everyday objects and silly phrases, the long words explored in this article have provided you with an opportunity to explore the complexity and richness of the language.

As German learners, embracing the challenge of mastering compound words opens up a world of possibilities for effective communication.

So continue your exploration of the German language, armed with these valuable words, and unlock a whole new level of linguistic proficiency.