“Lebensabschnittspartner” & Other Ridiculously Long German Words
Unsplash: Sebastian Herrmann
When two or more words are combined, a compound term is produced. And compound words are not new. They've been around for ages, and we continue to use them in our everyday lives.
That thing that you brush your teeth with is called a toothbrush, from the words tooth + brush. That thing where your mail is delivered to is called a mailbox, from the words mail + box. That thing that you wear on a rainy day is called a raincoat, from the words rain + coat. The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.
Now, when it comes to the German language, compound words are extremely common. And German compound words are interestingly long but not a total eyesore. Because of their length, these words may appear to be a tongue and an eye twister. Ooh, what a zigazig uh!
As you may have heard through the grapevine, the longest word in German is 63 letters long. Nope, that is not a joke. The term is rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, and it has a total of 63 characters. That 63-letter-word means the law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling. Whew! Let’s face it, pronouncing this legal term sounds like a mouthful. But no need to worry, because the term has been made irrelevant. Tschüss, rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.
What do you say, are you ready to tread along the winding road of long German words?
Freundschaftsbeziehungen (24 letters)
This word might not be that easy to say, but its meaning is quite touching. The translation of Freundschaftsbeziehungen pronounced as (froynd-shafts-bitzee-yungen) is “bonds of friendship” or “friendship relations.”
Giphy / Friends
Nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit (31 letters)
WARNING: This is a long word, so please remember it like you remember to take your allergy medicine. For those of you who are allergic to nuts, fish, milk, eggs, soybeans, wheat, gluten, and more just remember nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit which means “food intolerance.”
Giphy / The Simpsons
Betäubungsmittelverschreibungsverordnung (40 letters)
Don’t judge the word by its length. Betäubungsmittelverschreibungsverordnung (BtMVV), otherwise known as the Narcotics Law, is a regulation that requires the prescription of different medications. So even if you can’t read your doctor’s handwriting, make sure you have that piece of paper with you when getting your prescription, because the law is the law.
Giphy / Dream Corp LLC
Lebensabschnittspartner (23 letters)
Oh, this one is cute! Lebensabschnittspartner simply means “the person you are with today” and it can be anyone, or maybe even your lover. On another note, lebensabschnittspartner is another name for “partner” or “significant other.”
Giphy / Taylor Swift
Mullautohintendraufsteher (25 letters)
If you see the garbage collector at the back of a truck, that is called the mullautohintendraufsteher.
Giphy / The Simpsons
Mutterseelenallein (18 letters)
Mutterseelenallein is one of those untranslatable German words. Its literal translation is “mother soul alone” but its meaning transcends beyond the translation. Mutterseelenallein is this deep, deep sense of loneliness.
Streichholzschächtelchen (24 letters)
The term "matchbox" may simply refer to the container in which matches are kept. But if you want to use a different word, with extra pizzazz then say the 24-letter German word streichholzschächtelchen. Consider what might happen if the band Matchbox 20 decided to call themselves Streichholzschächtelchen 20. Oh mein Gott!
Giphy / umair anwar
Unabhängigkeitserklärungen (26 letters)
The “Declaration of Independence” is made up of 3 words and 27 characters. But the German term for such an important document is unabhängigkeitserklärungen – made up of 1 word and 26 letters.
Giphy / ClickUpLearn German