Ten words you didn’t know had German origins

I often get asked which English words have German origins.

I’m not talking about ‘baby’ or ‘party’, where they’re exactly the same word, I’m talking about the words you might think are English, when in actual fact they are German. You could easily google a list, but it’s probably more fun to read my Top 10.

  1. Poltergeist

That scary, invisible being in your home that continually opens cupboards and throws things at you… of course he’s German!

  1. Doppelganger

Also often with a paranormal insinuation, that crazy person you just saw who looks exactly like you, is also German.

  1. Wanderlust

Wanderlust
The scenery around here makes you want to go wandering

Such a beautiful word, how can it be German you ask? This simply translates as having a desire to go wandering.

  1. Kaput

I always laugh when I hear it now, because I’d generally only ever heard it being used in a half-joking kind of way. But it’s commonly used in Austria.

  1. Angst

If you’re scared of something here, you simply say you have ‘angst’ for it. Eg. I have angst about spiders

  1. Kindergarten

Most people know this one, but did anyone other than me just assume it because Arnold was in Kindergarten Cop?

  1. Abseil

New one for me! But apparently traversing down a rocky cliff face is a German word, who would have known?

  1. Zeppelin

Zeppelin
Look at him, he’s German

It’s a funny sounding word, so it’s not really surprising. That giant blimp you see up in the sky… that’s a German word.

  1. Kitsch

The ‘sch’ is a dead giveaway that it’s a German word. It’s that tacky, arty stuff you have around your home. Oh, sorry, my bad, your random house ornaments are definitely classy.

  1. Hamster

Hamster is a German word
The scenery around here makes you want to go wandering

And one straight out of left field. Hamster, as I have recently discovered, is a German word. So go for it, give your furry friend a strong German name!

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