German Language Blog

Germany’s Youth Word of 2018 Posted by on Nov 21, 2018 in Culture, Language

Guten Tag! Every year, the Langenscheidt dictionary selects a word it calls the Jugendwort des Jahres – the Youth Word of the Year. People have the opportunity to vote from a selection of shortlisted teen slang, and then the winner is picked by a jury. The Jugendwort des Jahres for 2018 was revealed recently, so today we’ll be looking at that and some of the other contenders who were in the running for the title. This is a great way to get an insight into the German spoken today by young people – it’s not something you would find in a textbook, for example!

The Jugendwort des Jahres 2018 is:

der Ehrenmann/die Ehrenfrau

This literally means ‘man of honor’ or ‘woman of honor’. You would call someone an Ehrenmann/frau if they were very polite, kind and/or reliable, and always did nice things for you. This is similar to how you might call a man ‘a gentleman’. However, the term is also used sarcastically, if someone is quite the opposite of polite and never does anything for you.

Image via Pixabay.


Breaking the word down

Breaking the word down into its components, it consists of the word die Ehre (honor) and der Mann (man) or die Frau (woman). Because compound nouns always take the gender of the last word- in this case, that of either Mann or Frau- it means this word is either feminine or masculine:

Der Ehrenmann (male)
Die Ehrenfrau (female)


Don’t get confused!

These words are not to be confused with the German words der Ehemann and die Ehefrau, which mean husband and wife respectively.

Der Ehemann – husband
Die Ehefrau – wife

These words are often shortened to just ‘Mann’ and ‘Frau’. The word die Ehe is the German word for marriage.


Other contenders for the Jugendwort des Jahres included:

  • verbuggt (full of mistakes; ‘bugged’)
  • glucose-haltig (sweet, lit. ‘full of glucose’)
  • Lauch (idiot; also the German word for a leek)
  • Ich küss dein Auge (Way of saying you like someone a lot, or a very big thank you – lit. ‘I kiss your eye’)


And here are a few that didn’t make the top 10:

  • breiern (mixture of ‘brechen’: to vomit and ‘feiern’: to party. Means to continue partying despite having thrown up.)
  • einwrapen (to roll oneself up in a blanket, like a wrap)
  • zuckerbergen (to stalk; a reference to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook)
  • Gymkie (extreme fitness junkie; mixture of English ‘gym’ and ‘junkie’)

The full list of words that made it (and didn’t) can be read here on the Langenscheidt website (in German).

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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.