4 German Words For ‘Clothes’

Posted on 29. Apr, 2016 by in Language

Guten Tag!

Today I want to start talking about some of the vocabulary surrounding clothes. Though we have all probably learnt the names for trousers (die Hose), jacket (die Jacke) and shoes (die Schuhe) in German class at school, I am aware that there are a few words and expressions in this category that can be confusing to a learner of German. Hopefully the next couple of posts I write will clear up any confusion!

So let’s get started with the German word for clothes.


Photo by cleanwalmart on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY 2.0)


There are actually several German words for clothes:

die Kleidung (also sometimes die Bekleidung).

die Klamotten.

das Gewand.

die Anziehsachen.

What is the difference between these words? First of all, they all mean ‘clothes’ in one way or another. So despite the fact that I’ve written an entire post on them, don’t stress too much about which one to use! But, for the purposes of learning, I will try to explain the differences between them now.

Die Kleidung (also die Bekleidung) is the most general word for ‘clothes’. Unlike English, where you say ‘My clothes are comfortable’, in German you say ‘My clothes is comfortable’ (‘Meine Kleidung ist bequem’). There is a similar word, die Kleider, which also means ‘clothes’. But the word Kleider is also the plural of das Kleid – a dress. So be aware of the context when hearing or reading the word Kleider – are they talking about dresses specifically, or clothes in general?


Bunte Kleidung – bright clothes. Photo: 63405864@N04 on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Die Anziehsachen is the most literal of the bunch, with a translation of ‘the things to put on/wear’. It comes from the words anziehen – to put on/wear, and die Sachen – things. This word has a very functional, no-frills feel to it. You might use it when saying what you’ve packed in an overnight bag, for example.


I would say you use Die Klamotten to talk about clothes in a less formal, sometimes pejorative way – like when there’s a dirty pile of clothes you want someone to put in the washing basket. It is never used in a formal way – it is more colloquial. Some say it’s the German equivalent of calling clothes ‘clobber’, ‘gear’ or ‘scrubs’. But it can also be used as a general term for clothes, – again, context is important. However, I’d say if you wanted to talk about clothes in a negative way, this word is your best bet!



Klamotten? Photo: zerolives on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY 2.0)


Finally, Das Gewand is one I am very familiar with, though it might not be immediately obvious. Das Gewand is simply another word for Kleidung, predominantly used in southern Germany & Austria. Sometimes it gets translated as ‘garment’. So if you see the word Gewand anywhere, just know it’s another German word for clothes. 🙂


So, to summarise:

die (Be)Kleidung – Clothes/clothing/outfit/attire
(die Kleider – The plural of das Kleid (dress), and another, less common word for clothes)
die Anziehsachen – Simple, ‘functional’ term for clothes
die Klamotten – More colloquial term for clothes; sometimes also used pejoratively
das Gewand – Regional term for clothes (southern Germany, Austria)


Finally, just like in English, when clothes go into the washing basket, come out of the washing machine, or hang on a washing line, they transform from Kleidung/Anziehsachen/Klamotten/Gewand into die Wäsche – the washing/laundry. 🙂

clothes horse

No longer die Kleidung (clothes) but die Wäsche – the washing/laundry! Photo by 79157069@N03 on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY 2.0)

Stay tuned for a second post on clothing vocabulary!

Bis dann!

Animals in German

Posted on 27. Apr, 2016 by in vocabulary

Mein Kaninchen. Own photo

Hello and welcome to another post! I’m going to be giving you vocabulary for animals in this post. What I find interesting is that it’s not just the animals that have a German name, but also the noises they make are in the German language! For example in English a dog would say “woof”, but in German he would say “Wau wau” (pronounced as “vow vow”), and a frog would say “ribbit” in English but in German he says “Quak”. After discovering that animal’s noises are also in German it inspired me to write this post, I hope you enjoy it!

die Haustiere                                                                                   

(Pets – literally translates to “house animals”)

der (die) Hund(e)                                                            the dog(s)

die Katze(n)                                                                       the cat(n)

das (die) Kaninchen                                                       the rabbit(s)

die Maus (Mäuse)                                                           the mouse (mice)

das (die) Meerschweinchen                                       the guinea pig(s)

der (die) Wellensittich(e)                                              the budgie(s)

der (die) Fisch(e)                                                         the fish

die Schildkröte(n)                                                           the turtle(s)

der (die) Hamster                                                           the hamster(s)

der (die) Papagei(en)                                                    the parrot(s)

die Schlange(n)                                                            the snake(s)

Talking about pets in conversation:

Hast du Haustiere? (informal, hence ‘du’)

Do you have pets?

Ja ich habe ein Kaninchen und zwei Meerschweinchen, und du?

Yes I have one rabbit and two guinea pigs, and yourself?

Nein leider habe ich keine Haustiere

No unfortunately I don’t have any pets



das (die) Pferd(e)                                                            the horse(s)

der (die) Löwe(n)                                                            the lion(s)

der (die) Leopard(en)                                                    the leopard(s)

der (die) Elefant(en)                                                      the elephant(s)

das (die) Schwein(e)                                                      the pig(s)

der (die) Affe(n)                                                              the monkey(s)

das (die) Hu(ü)hn(er)                                                    the chicken(s)

der (die) Hirsch(e)                                                          the deer(s)

das (die) Eichhörnchen                                                 the squirrel(s)

die Ziege(n)                                                                       the goat(s)

Do you have any pets or Lieblingstiere (favourite animals)? If you do share them in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading 🙂


German Parallel Texts: Language Apps

Posted on 24. Apr, 2016 by in Culture, Current Events, Language

Hello, language learners! Today I’ve got another beginners’/easy parallel text for you, designed to help improve your reading comprehension! This time the topic is on an app that is helping refugees living in Germany to learn German, so the main vocab is on language, people and technology. The extract of the German article (from Nachrichten Leicht) is on the left, and my English translation of it is on the right. Key words are in bold, and there’s a vocab list at the end, too – plus a link to our very own Transparent Language app! To read the entire article, click here!

Next Generation

Photo by solaika on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY-ND 2.0)




Viele Flüchtlinge, die nach Deutschland kommen, sprechen noch kein Deutsch. Sie müssen sich aber trotzdem verständigen, beim Arzt oder in einer Behörde. Dabei soll ihnen jetzt ein Programm für das Handy helfen.


Das Programm heißt “Einstieg Deutsch”. Es kann Sprachen übersetzen. Zum Beispiel Arabisch. Arabisch sprechen Menschen, die aus Syrien kommen.


Die Menschen können mit der App Sätze nachgucken, die man beim Einkaufen braucht. Oder beim Arzt. Oder sie können nachgucken, was man sagt, wenn man jemanden begrüßen will. Sie können sich die Sätze auch anhören. Zu jeder Situation gibt es ein Bild.



Many refugees who come to Germany do not speak any German. Nevertheless, they still need to make themselves understood when they go to the doctor, or to an authority.  Now there is a mobile phone app that can help them to do it.


This app is called ‘Einstieg Deutsch’. It can translate languages. Arabic, for example. Arabic is spoken by people who come from Syria.


People can use the app to look up sentences you need when shopping. Or those you need at the doctor’s. Or they can look up what to say when greeting somebody. They can also listen to the sentences. There is a photo for each situation.

German article source: Sprach-Lern-App by Nachrichtenleicht.de. English translation by Constanze Arnold.


die Flüchtlinge (s: der Flüchtling) – refugees

der Arzt – doctor

die Behörde – an authority eg. the council

das Programm – another word for app, in this context

das Handy – mobile phone

die Sprachen (s: die Sprache) – languages

übersetzen – to translate

Arabisch – Arabic

Syrien – Syria

die Menschen (s: der Mensch) – people

die/das App – phone app (English loanword)

die Sätze (s: der Satz) – sentence/phrase

das Einkaufen – shopping

nachgucken – to look up/check/see

anhören – to listen to

das Bild – photo



German flag

Learn German with the Transparent Language app! Photo: fdecomite on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY 2.0)


If you’re reading this and thinking you’d like to use an app to help you learn German, too, then look no further! Did you know that Transparent Language has its very own FREE app for Android and iOS, used in conjunction with a subscription to Transparent Language Online? It of course supports German, as well as many other languages! Read more about it by clicking here.


To complement the Transparent Language app, I recommend an app called DIC-o German-English, which is basically a German-English dictionary. You can look up words in German OR English and have them translated into the opposite language. You don’t need an internet connection to use it. I find this app extremely useful for my work and for day to day life!


My other recommendation when it comes to phones is this: If you play any games on your phone and they have the option to switch to other languages, why not try playing the game in German one day? I used to do this a lot with an app called National Flags Quiz, as a way of learning the German names of lesser-known countries – but you can do it for any game you like!


Hope this helps! Happy language learning, und schönes Wochenende!