Auf wiedersehen lange deutsche Wort!

Floor Sander Hire shopToday I learnt that the longest word in the German language has been eliminated.

This 63-letter megaword is: Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz . It refers to a law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling. Maybe you would like to pause for a few moments and try and say this word out loud!

I have always enjoyed the German language and how new words can be made by combining existing words.  For example, German wine styles have names like Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese (“dried berries selection”).

But these words are short by comparison to words like Handschuhschneeballwerfer (a person who wears gloves to throw snowballs) or Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften, a term for car insurance that is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest German word in common use.

The photo at the top of this article is of a shop that specializes in floor maintenance  – Fussbodenschleifmaschinenverleih (Fuss-boden-schleif-maschinen-verleih). Google Translate tells me this means “Floor sander hire”.

What are your favourite German words – long or short?

Further reading:

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8 thoughts on “Auf wiedersehen lange deutsche Wort!”

  1. torschlusspanik – (tor = door, shluss = shut, panik = panic) the fear of an unmarried German lady in her late twenties that time is passing her by and she’ll miss the chance to have children.
    Richard Wagner’s fusion of music/drama/etc GesamtKunstWerk is another favourite word (capitals added to help pronounce it)
    Finally, the beer Lowenbrau is pronounced “lervenbroy”.

  2. I’d like to correct a few things:

    First, how do you eliminate words? The fact, that for instance you are able to write it down and to tell it to other people means that it hasnt been eliminated. Words can’t be eliminated…

    Second: A “Rechtsschutzversicherung” is a legal expenses insurance company.

    And, by the way, the headline would be “Auf Wiedersehen, langes deutsches Wort!” (But i would leave it as it is because it sounds kind of “cute”.)

    At last i have another long word for you (which is a typical example beeing told when talking about german compounds):

    Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän

    It can easily be prolonged and/or varied. And it even has its own english wikipedia entry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizit%C3%A4tenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft

    🙂

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