German Language Blog

German Word Of The Year 2018 Runners-Up (Part 2) Posted by on Apr 24, 2019 in Culture, Language

Guten Tag! As you may know from previous posts, each year the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (GfdS) – The German Language Association – picks a word as their Wort des Jahres – Word of the Year. They also publish the top 10 most voted for out of all of the words submitted. You can read about the 2018 winner, plus the two runners up, in this blog post here. But what about the other seven words that made the top 10? Surely they have interesting stories behind them, too. Today we’ll look briefly words 7-10. Not only is this a good way to see the creativity of German language in action, but it gives a great insight into what kinds of political and cultural topics were being discussed at the time. If any of these interest you, I hope this gives you a base to do further reading on them.

Here are the words in places 7-10. For places 4-6, click here.


All images: Pixabay

In 7. Platz (7th place) is the word das Diesel-Fahrverbot (also sometimes written without the hyphen: Dieselfahrverbot) – ‘diesel driving ban’. In 2018 it was announced that several cities would start to ban diesel cars from being driven in them. This relates to older diesel cars who do not meet the current environmental standards. The ‘diesel-driving-ban’ is a way of being more umweltfreundlich (environmentally friendly). Hamburg and Stuttgart have already enforced the ban.


In 8. Platz (8th place) is Handelskrieg ‘trade war’. This is made up of the words der Handel (trade) and der Krieg (war). This is not a new word, but it was used in 2018 to talk about the US/German trade issues under President Trump.


In 9. Platz (9th place) is the fairly self-explanatory Brexit-Chaos. One thing to note here is that, although it looks like an English word, das Chaos is the German word, too. It is pronounced like ‘CAR-oss’ rather than the English ‘KAY-oss’.

die Mutter aller Probleme

And in 10. Platz (10th place) is die Mutter aller Probleme ‘the mother of all problems’, which is the controversial statement politician Horst Seehofer made to describe die Migration (migration) in Germany today. In response, Angela Merkel said,

‘Ich sage, die Migrationsfrage stellt uns vor Herausvorderungen. Und dabei gibt es auch Probleme.’
‘I say, migration presents us with challenges. And with those also come problems.’

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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.