25 Longest German Words

25 Longest German Words

Das Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.

This strand of letters that you skipped without even attempting to read might seem like me simply bashing away at my keyboard, but in fact, this is a German word. Yes, a SINGLE German word.

It’s a real word that means “monitoring beef labeling regulation and delegation of supervision law.” As you can see, this word kind of unfolded into a number of English words that form a phrase, instead of a single English word.

Most languages, including English, mash up words together to create new ones. A boathouse is a house for boats, you get the idea. 

In Germany they do this too, except they take it to a whole other level. As Mark Twain famously said: “Some German words are so long that they have a perspective.”

What’s the Longest Word in German?

The longest German word used in everyday German is considered to be “Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften,” meaning “legal protection insurance companies.” This 39-letter word is an example of how German combines multiple concepts into a single word.

However, the longest word ever to appear in a German dictionary is “Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung,” which translates to “motor vehicle liability insurance.”

Another long German word, “Antidisestablishmentarianism”, is a 28-letter term that holds the title of the longest non-technical and non-coined word in the English language. This word represents the ideology against disestablishment, specifically opposing the separation of church and state.

So with that in mind, can there even be such a thing as the longest German word? Well, no, because there will always be another complex phrase that Germans will try to condense into a single monstrously long word. 

These extremely long words are very rarely ever used in real life, if at all. It’s more fun than actual useful German and the German language is simply the perfect medium to create these tongue twisters (or Zungenbrecher i.e. tongue breakers as they say in German).

But no matter how intimidating these words might seem to non-German speakers, you have to admire how simplistic they really are in nature.

Here is more from our blog on funny German words and what they mean, as well as how you can practice German on your own.

How to Make Sense of Long Words in German

Understanding the Sticklebrick concept in German language texts is essential to be able to understand every long compound German word you come across. Always look for that central primary word that everything else is hanging on.

For instance, if you look at the word Windschutzscheibenwischer and break it up into four parts, you’ll get Wind – wind, Schutz – protection, Wischer -wiper and Scheibe – window pane. So, translating the entire word in English gives us wind-protection-(glass)pane-wiper, which is a pretty accurate definition of a windshield wiper.

Just keep this in mind when the literal meaning doesn’t make sense, and try to use context it was used in to guess the meaning of the word or go into free association and ask e.g. what does look like a pear and glows?

25 of the Longest Words in German

Now that you know why German compound words can get so long, and how the complexity is really just an illusion, let’s go through a list of 25 German words that are hilariously long and (almost) entirely useless. 

One thing that you need to know before you start is that any compound noun in German has to be read from right to left as the last word in such a word combo always gives away what the word is all about.

Now here we go. Enjoy the beauty of the German language!


Can you even pronounce that with one breath? Because I couldn’t. 79 letters. What kind of madman would even use this in real life? Right, no one. Even the translation is a doozy: “association of subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services”.

This insane 79-letter word is the name of a pre-war club in Vienna and it’s not actually as useful as it is a desperate attempt at making the second word on this list longer. Remember: it’s the last word that gives away the main information.


In classic German, this is considered to be the longest word. It’s not really useful to anyone though, as it means “Danube steamship company captain”. This bad boy stands at a whopping 42 letters. 


This 39-letter beauty is a word you actually have a chance at pronouncing easily if you take it one syllable at a time. This word means “legal protection insurance companies.” As we mentioned, this is considered to be the longest German word in everyday use according to Guinness Book of World Records.


Ah, we meet again. In case you didn’t notice (I won’t blame you, I wouldn’t have read it either), this is technically the same 63-letter word from the very start of the article. And as I mentioned earlier, it means “beef labeling regulation and delegation of supervision law.”

Coined in 1999 after the outbreak of Mad Cow Disease, this word was German Word of the Year. Since this mouthful of a word is actually used sometimes in everyday life by very few people in Germany, they have come up with an abbreviation for it: it is written ReÜAÜG.


This 41-letter puzzle of a word can be really difficult to read, and its meaning is just as disorienting: “regulation requiring a prescription for an anesthetic.”

Can you guess which one of the many words included in the above German compound noun means “regulation”?


Seeing a word as short as 30 letters must be an ironic relief, but don’t let its brevity fool you, this term of four words pieced together is almost just as useless as any other on this list as it means “head district chimney sweep master.”


As David Sedaris said in his article about learning German on the New Yorker, this 22-letter word is roughly another option you could use instead of “lover” or “partner” but with a temporary twist, as it literally means “the person I am with in this phase of my life”. Here is more on dating in Berlin and slow dating from our blog.


As I mentioned earlier, Twain was fascinated, though a bit irritated, by how long German words can get, and he documented his frustrations in his book A Tramp Abroad. In his book, he notes this term as meaning “independencedeclarations”, which is just a mashed-up version of the Declaration of Independence.


In keeping with Twain’s frustrations, this is one word that even an English speaker can break down and understand easily. “Freund” simply means friend and the word as a phrase means ”friendship relationship” or “demonstrations of friendship.” Quite the positive meaning for a word that’s described as “clumsy.” 


This happens to be the longest German word according to the Duden German Dictionary, and it’s one you better learn to pronounce if you ever want to get started in insurance, because it means “motor vehicle liability insurance.”


In German, even numbers get the glued-lego, sticklebrick, compound-word treatment, as the cumbersome word you just read simply means 7.254. All those letters just to say 7.254? Honestly, I’m starting to question whether this system is the best out there as well. But one thing I’m sure of is that it’s the most fun.


You thought the first number was long? You’re in for a treat. This compound word is an insane 65 letters and it’s another number, a really cool number in fact. If you try to break it down into parts you’ll notice that there are a lot of sevens and you’d be correct, as this number is 777,777.


This modern-era word stands at a comparatively modest 49 letters, and like most of the other words on this list, it has a very VERY specific meaning. It translates to “social insurance broker trainee.”


This unique tongue twister has 46 letters in it and it really makes me appreciate just how efficient German is in condensing information into a shorter form, as the English translation is even more long-winded: “companies providing mass communications services”.


This 31 letter word means “food intolerance.” Yes. 31 letters. Just to say food intolerance. I’ll be honest, the word itself is giving me intolerance.


This 31-letter puzzle of a word is surprisingly short if you compare it to what it means in English. This German tongue twister translates to “Worker Accident Insurance Act”.


Even if this one is not among the longest German words, you might find it useful, especially on those days when someone won’t stop annoying you and you want to express your discontent. “Backpfeifengesicht” roughly translates to “a face in need of a fist.”


Much like the previous word, this compound word is also a fun one. It literally means “inner pig dog”, but in practice, you can use this long word to talk about your “inner beast” or the “devil inside you”.


If making this list has taught me anything, it’s that you can always depend on bureaucracy and economics to come up with the longest words and the most mind-twisting concepts. And this German word is no different, meaning “life insurance company.”


If you are the “garbage collector at the back of the truck”, which is the meaning of this word, you are going to need a really large name tag to wear, as this 25-letter job title definitely will not fit on a normal one. 


This modest 18-letter German word doesn’t stack up to others on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to translate. It literally means “mother soul alone”, but in practice, it has a really unique meaning which makes it a really special word. “Mutterseelenallein” means the mother of all loneliness, and I hope you don’t ever find yourself needing to use this word. 


So far, most of the words on this list have been long because they either mean something very specific that’s difficult to translate, or because they refer to a very complex concept. Not this 24-letter word though. This one means “matchbox”. A box for storing matches, nothing special about it, it just takes Germans 24 letters to say matchbox.


The shortest word on this list is something you probably have experienced if you kept delaying work until you had little time to do it. This 16-letter word means “last-minute panic” or literally the panic you get when you see the gates of the city close before you.

Be careful though: even Germans will often wrongly write and say this as Torschusspanik (without the L) which would be the panic of scoring a goal in soccer.


This 31-letter word refers to a shop that you’d visit if your new house floor needs sanding. It translates to “shop that lends floor sanding machines”, and it’s this point, it’s not even surprising that German has a specific word just for that type of shop. 


Finishing our list is this admirable 51-letter word that won the Austrian Word of the Year in 2016. It translates to “deferral of the second iteration of the federal presidential run-off election”, and reading its meaning makes me want to call my lawyer so he can explain it to me.

FAQs about long words in the German language

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the longest words in German.

What is the longest German word?

The longest German word recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records is “Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz,” a 63-letter term that refers to a law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling. However, this word is no longer in official use.

Why are German words so long?

German words are often long due to the propensity of the German language for compound words, which has, along with complex grammar, created a reputation of it being a difficult language. In German, multiple nouns and descriptors can be combined into one word, encapsulating a complex idea or specific thing in a singular term.

What German word has 67 letters?

“Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung,” refers to a regulation concerning the delegation of authority for land conveyance permissions.

Summing Up: Enough German words for today?

And I bet you used to think “congratulations” was long. German definitely takes the cake when it comes to long words.

I hope your eyes aren’t beginning to hurt when you’re trying to tell apart all the letters in the longest word on the list, but what definitely won’t hurt your eyes is this much easier German course

My favorite long German word from the list has to be Backpfeifengesicht. It’s just so expressive and punchy.