German Language Blog

German Word of the Year 2019 Posted by on Dec 11, 2019 in Culture, Language

Guten Tag! Today we will look at the Wort des Jahres in Germany. Each year, the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (GfdS) – The German Language Association – picks a word as their Wort des Jahres – ‘Word of the Year’. This is often a word related to a prominent topic in the country during the year, and is usually interesting from a linguistic perspective, too. The Word of the Year has nothing to do with how often the word has been used, but is more about the word’s significance. What’s great about learning the German Word of the Year is that it gives us an insight into Germany’s current events, politics and culture, whilst teaching us some quirks of the language, too. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the Wort des Jahres 2019!

The Wort des Jahres 2019 is:


This literally translates to ‘respect pension’ (der Respekt + die Rente). There has been great debate in Germany this year over new laws that are set to change the German pension, ultimately leaving Rentner and Rentnerinnen (pensioners) at a disadvantage.

Those against the proposed changes have deemed them disrespectful to those who have worked hard their entire lives and deserve to enjoy their retirement properly. The term ‘Respektrente’ came about because they believe people deserve a retirement pension that respects a life of hard work.

Image via Pixabay

Don’t be confused by the word die Rente (pension). This word could be deemed a false friend, because on first glance you’d assume it’s the German word for rent, which is in fact die Miete.

The runners-up for the Wort des Jahres 2019 are as follows:

Rollerchaos – ‘Scooter chaos’

Fridays for Future

Schaulästige – combination of Schaulustige (onlookers) and lästig (annoying)

Donut-Effekt – ‘Donut-effect’

brexitmüde – ‘Brexit tired’

gegengoogeln – ‘Google against’ (to check something on Google)

Bienensterben – ‘bee death’

Oligarchennichte – ‘Oligarchen niece’

Geordnete-Rückkehr-Gesetz – ‘Orderly return law’


I will go into more depth on the runners-up in a separate post!

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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.


  1. Judith Ann Hardy Walters:

    I am of German heritage but I do not an accent. I do not know how to pronounce the words. My dad was Germany in WWII. He said was n.a. then. The Jewish was getting killed and left for dead where they were killed. Hitler was a terrible person.

  2. Pasvhal ukaegbu i:

    Respektrente and respektmiete.The tenants and landlords ,vs pensioners and government which one needs more attention?

  3. Eirene:

    We need to coin a similar phrase; respectpensioners!