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The 18 long German words that you will have fun with. Yes, have fun trying to pronounce them!

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Why are there very long German words? Would you like to know what this part of speech means or what term belongs to? Below are 18 that make you wonder.

Even Germans themselves find the following tapeworm words a bit of a challenge. The stringing together of several nouns only exists in German. In theory, everyone can invent infinitely long German words. Below is a list of 14 long German words with an explanation and examples.

Long German words that Expats will hear in Germany. Don’t try to understand them! Just smile and try not to laugh!

Long German words are made up of a string of shorter words that allow German speakers to be more precise while keeping their language compact. That makes sense. Right?

This is made possible through compounds. The details are in the grammar and the concept itself isn’t that difficult. In fact, compound nouns also occur in the English language:

  • carwash – a car wash
  • blackboard – a black board
  • flowerpot – a pot for flowers
  • notebook – a book for taking notes

6 useful long German words

Rank Long German word – useful Number of letters
1
Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung
36
2
Arzneimittelmarktneuordnungsgesetz
34
3
Arbeitsmigrationssteuerungsgesetz
33
4
Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz
33
5
Straßenverkehrszulassungsordnung
32
6
Lastschrifteinzugsverfahren
27

1. Straßenverkehrszulassungsordnung

Abbreviation: StVZO

Put simply, this law regulates whether a vehicle is allowed to drive on the road or not, i.e. whether it is roadworthy. Actually quite logical, right? The StVZO is currently being dismantled and transferred to other regulations.

2. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung

Abbreviation: Kfz-Haftpflichtversicherung

This 36-letter term is relatively simple and easy to understand: “liability insurance for motor vehicles“. Incidentally, long words often have something to do with law and order. But only the common ones make it into the dictionary as tapeworm words. And motor vehicle liability insurance comes easily from the lips of every German motorist.

3. Arbeitsmigrationssteuerungsgesetz

Abbreviation: AMSG

The AMSG refers to the law on the labor market-adequate control of the immigration of highly qualified people and on the amendment of other regulations on residence law (Labor Migration Control Act)

Lowering the minimum income limit for issuing a settlement permit to highly qualified persons, issuing a residence permit under certain conditions for particularly well-qualified tolerated persons.

4. Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz

Abbreviation: BAföG

The Federal Education Promotion Act regulates the state support for the education of pupils and students in Germany. The abbreviation BAföG is also used colloquially to refer to the funding resulting from the law. If you plan on studying on Germany, you better get used to this word. One hears about this law quite often. It is popularly called BAföG for short. It guarantees that pupils and students can finance an education, even if the family cannot support them. The state gives them a loan.

5. Lastschrifteinzugsverfahren

Abbreviation: LEV

This refers to the direct debit procedure, also known as electronic direct debit, authorizes the seller to debit the due claim from the buyer’s account. If you look at the bank account contract you received when opening a bank account in Germany, you are bound to find this long German word.

6. Arzneimittelmarktneuordnungsgesetz

Abbreviation: AMNOG

The aim of the AMNOG is to curb the rapidly increasing drug expenditure of the statutory health insurance companies. The law paves the way for fair competition and a stronger focus on the well-being of patients. The AMNOG creates a new balance between innovation and affordability of drugs. The additional benefit of drugs for patients will determine the price of drugs in the future.

6 long German words that make you wonder what they were thinking

Rank Long German words – don’t bother memorizing them Number of letter
1
Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft
79
2
Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung
67
3
Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz
63
4
Vermögenszuordnungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung
55
5
Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe
48
6
Telekommunikationsüberwachungsverordnung
40

1. Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung

Abbreviation: GrundVZÜV

Regulation on the delegation of authority concerning land conveyance permissions, real estate transaction permit competence transfer ordinance” Good lord! Try saying this word and understanding it. Many Germans do not know exactly what it means. You will mostly find it in legal jargon. For years, according to the Duden dictionary, it was the longest German word that was actually used. Thank god you don’t need to learn the word. The ordinance has since been abolished.

2. Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänswitwe

Abbreviation: DDSG

A classic among the tapeworm words that is often quoted. The Danube Steamship Company can do it even better – or worse, depending on whether you are a fan of such long words …

3. Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft

Abbreviation: DDSG

This word comes to 80 letters. Although it is not in the Duden, it landed in the Guinness Book of Records in 1996. Do you understand what it means? The definition is also pompous: “Association of the sub-officials of the headquarters management of the Danube steamers electrical services” Could it be more self important?. This word isn’t really useful; it is rather a desperate attempt to extend under the word.

4. Telekommunikationsüberwachungsverordnung

Abbreviation: TKÜV

Hopefully you never have to deal with this when you are in Germany! In short, this is about monitoring phone calls – but only when a person is a suspect. Telecommunications providers must ensure that technology makes eavesdropping possible. It contains regulations as to which technical precautions are to be kept by whom, so that all necessary interfaces are already available in the event of a possible later telecommunications monitoring.

5. Vermögenszuordnungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung

Abbreviation: VZOZÜZ

This law regulates the transfer of the responsibilities of the chief finance president of the regional finance directorates in the new federal states according to the property allocation law to the federal office in order to regulate open property issues. Was is it really necessary to have a 55-letter word for it?

6.  Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

Abbreviation: RkReÜaÜG

The 63-letter beef labeling monitoring task transfer law from the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state law was for years the second longest word in Germany. The law was introduced to protect consumers from the BSE epidemic. But it fared like the real estate transfer permit transfer of jurisdiction ordinance: It was abolished in 2013.

6 long German words that are not that boring. Really?!?

Not really! Some of them are funny and lighthearted! Not all compound words need to be about contracts and regulations. For example, take a look at these:

Rank Long German words – at least some of them are not boring! Number of letters
1
Telekommunikationsdienstleistungsunternehmen
45
2
Aufmerksamkeitsdefizithyperaktivitätsstörung
44
3
Nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit
32
4
Orangenfruchtsaftgetränk
25
5
Kaiserschnurrbarttamarin
24
6
Katzenkopfpflaster
19

1. Aufmerksamkeitsdefizithyperaktivitätsstörung (Aufmerksamkeit + Defizit + Hyperaktivität + Störung)

long german words

They just thought 1 word to describe “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” (attention + deficit + hyperactivity + disorder) was better than 1.

Jesus! There goes Germans trying to be #1 at everything. We are perfectly OK saying the 4 words!

2. Orangenfruchtsaftgetränk (Orange + Frucht + Saft + Getränk)

long german words

“Orange fruit juice drink” (orange + fruit + juice + drink)

OJ, would have been easier. But this word makes sense.

3. Nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit (Nahrungsmittel+ Unverträglichkeit)

long german words

“Food intolerance” (food + intolerance)

OK. This one is to be expected. Food intolerances and sensitivities are extremely common and seem to be on the rise.

4. Telekommunikationsdienstleistungsunternehmen (Telekommunikation + Dienstleistung + Unternehmen)

long german words

Telecommunication service company (telecommunication + service + company)

OK. I think just saying o2, Telekom, or Vodaphone is easier that making up this word.

5. Katzenkopfpflaster (Katze + Kopf + Pflaster)

long german words

Cat head plaster (cat + head + plaster)

It’s just a wierd word because it has nothing to do with cats or plaster! Cobblestones … yes, they were looking for the longest word that means cobblestones!

6. Kaiserschnurrbarttamarin (Kaiser + Schnurrbart + Tamarin)

Emperor mustache tamarin (Emperor + mustache + tamarin)

The mustache tamarin comes from the marmoset family. They got their name because of his magnificent beard, which resembles the German Emperor Wilhelm III. Their habitats are the rule forests in the southwestern Amazon basin in South America. Like all tamarins, they feed on fruits and insects and are therefore omnivores.

Is there a letter limit for long German words?

Due to the purely theoretically infinite possibilities of recomposing existing words, there is no limit to word length in German. It is similar with languages ​​that also allow compound nouns. 


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Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.
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