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Two of the Longest Words in German Posted by on Jan 22, 2019 in Language, Literature, Practice, vocabulary

As an English speaker we are used to short, simple words, which means it can be quite intimidating when reading German words that are three times as long as what they are in English! Here’s a post with two of the longest German words, what they mean, and some tips on helping you decipher those long words that you may come across.

The longest German Word

Get ready for it, the longest Geman word is Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz which has 63 letters. Although the word is very, very long, no one actually uses such long words in everyday life! These words are German compound words, so really all they are are lots of little words put together. Let’s break this word up:
Rindfleisch                            beef
Etikettierung                         labeling
Überwachung                      monitoring
Aufgaben                               tasks
Übertragung                         transfer
Gesetz                                       law

From cutting the word into 6 little words we now know it’s about a law on correctly labelling beef. Since 2013, Germany has actually dropped this word as we apparently don’t need it anymore (did we ever need such a long word?!), so it is technically no longer Germany’s longest word.

The longest German Word in the Dictionary

The longest German word that you can find in the dictionary is Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung with 36 letters. Not too long, and also something you might hear in everyday life if you own a car. Let’s cut the word up again:
Kraftfahrzeug                    motor vehicle
Haftpflicht                         liability
Versicherung                     insurance

So the 36 letter word just means car insurance!

Also spelling out numbers can make very long words. Try deciphering this number: Siebentausendfünfhundertsechsundzwanzig. Write your answer in the comments below.

My advice is to first see if you recognise any words that could be hidden in the word and from there try cutting the word up into smaller words. Do you know any long words in German that can be used in everyday life?

Thanks for reading,


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About the Author: Larissa

Hello I'm Larissa. I live in Germany and I am half German and half English. I love sharing my passion for Germany with you through my posts! Apart from writing posts I teach fitness classes in Munich.