99% of People Can't Guess What These Commons Items Are Called in German! Can you?

By: Madeleine
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

German, or "Deutsch," is the second most widely used Germanic language after English with over 100 million speakers. The greatest concentration of speakers live in Central Europe, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium, and a small part of Italy. Interestingly, though, most people don't know even the most basic German. Do you?

Schuh, or "shoe" in English, is pronounced similarly to the way English speakers pronounce their version of the word. Schuh is now a popular footwear retailer started in Scotland with a total of 118 stores in the UK, Ireland, the British Isles and Germany.

"Rot," or "red" in English, is the most commonly used German word to describe the color red, although "fuchsrot" is also used at times. However, it more describes a "foxy red" or "ginger."

Grün is the German word for the color green. Here it is used in a sentence: "gras, Frösche und Kiwis sind grün," which means "grass, frogs and kiwis are green."

Hut is the German word for hat in English. If used in a sentence, such as "I placed my hat on the table," the translation would be "Ich legte meinen Hut auf den Tisch."

Hand in German is spelled the same way as it is in English, and it's pronounced almost the same way as well. If used in a sentence like "I write with my left hand," it's "Ich schreibe mit der linken Hand."

Auge is the German word for eye. In a sentence, "I have two eyes," would be translated to "Ich habe zwei Augen." If eye is used as a verb, such as "she eyed that dress," the German word turns into "betrachten" and the translation goes, "Die Frau betrachtete das Kleid."

Blau is the German word for blue. If used as a noun such as "the color blue is supposed to be relaxing," in German the translation is "Die Farbe Blau soll entspannend sein." However, sometimes when "blue" is used an adjective such as "when I was feeling blue," the German word changes to traurig and the phrase would be, "Als ich traurig war."

Katze is the German word for cat. Used in a sentence, "we've always had a cat as a pet," for example, translates into "wir hatten immer eine Katze als Haustier." Cat as in the saying "to let the cat out of the bag" is still the same word, "katze" in German, hence, "die Katze aus dem Sack lassen."

Hund is the German word for dog. (Other less common terms for dog include rüde, haushund, mitnehmer, and knagge.) Used in a sentence, such as "this little dog," translates into "Dieser kleine Hund ist niedlich" in German.

Auto is the German word for car as in an automobile. (Meanwhile, wagen is used to describe a train car, and fahrkorb is used to describe an elevator car.) Auto used in a sentence such as "my car has new tires" is "mein auto hat neue reifen."

Bus means the same thing in English and German, and it's pronounced similarly in both languages. Occasionally, German speakers also use the word omnibus when referring to a school bus.

Buch is the German word for book. (Heft means book, too, but it more applies to a small book, booklet or issue.) Used in a sentence such as "this is my book" is "das ist mein buch" in German.

Papier is the German word for paper as in "I cut the paper into strips." However, arbeit is used to describe school-type papers; zeitung is used for newspapers; and abhandlung is used for academic or critical papers.

Weiß is the German word for the color white. In a sentence such as "white suits you well," in German it's "weiß steht dir wirklich gut." However, to say eggwhite, it's eiweiß.

Schwarz is the German word for the color black (while the verb blacked is schwärzen). "Black and white photography," for example, is "schwarz-weiß-fotografie." However, to say someone looks black and blue, the saying is "grün und blau."

Fuß is the German word for foot, while füße is the word for feet. The word is used the same way as in English, except when it comes to certain sayings. For example, "my foot hurts" is straightforward as "mein Fuß tut weh" in German, but to say "to be on one's feet," in either a literal or figurative sense, is "auf den Beinen sein."

Shirt means the same thing in both German and English, and it's pronounced almost the same in both languages. "Weißes Shirt" and "schönes Shirt" mean white shirt and nice shirt, respectively. The word t-shirt is also used the same way in English and German.

Jacke is the German word for jacket. In a sentence such as "I like your jacket," it's "Ich mag deine Jacke" in German. Meanwhile, a men's tailored suit jacket is jackett; and a book jacket is schutzumschlag.

Milch means milk in German, and milche and milchen are the plural forms of the word. To use the word as a verb, however, like "the farmer milked the cow," the German form becomes melken.

Kaffee is the German word for coffee, and while the words are definitely spelled differently, the English and German pronunciation of the caffeinated beverage is surprisingly similar. "Two coffees, please," is "zwei Kaffee, bitte" in German. The German word for coffee shop is coffeeshop.

Geld is the German word for money. For example, "I got all my money back" is "Ich habe mein gesamtes Geld zurückerhalten" in German. However, German speakers sometimes substitute geld for other words when they're not referring to straightforward cash. For instance, to say "there's money in it" is "das ist sehr lukrativ" in German; "what's the money like in this job" is "wie wird der Job bezahlt?" and "to earn good money" is "gut verdienen."

Saft is the German word for juice. In a sentence, like "I'm making fresh juice," it's "Ich mache frischen Saft." When referring to a specific type of juice, German combines the type of fruit/vegetable and the word for juice into one word such as zitrussaft (lemon juice) and cranberrysaft (cranberry juice.)

Benzin is the German word for gasoline. For example, "I need more gasoline" is "Ich brauche mehr Benzin" in German. However, the most common way to refer to gasoline in both English and German is actually "gas," and it's pronounced almost the same way, too.

Gelb is the German word for yellow. For example, to say, "she wears the color yellow all the time," it's "Sie trägt die Farbe gelb die ganze Zeit." However, when applied as a verb like "this piece of paper has yellowed," the word takes on a different form such as "gelb werden," "vergilben," or "gilben."

Hamburger, as in the iconic American pleasure sandwich with a ground beef patty on a bun or roll, is the same word in English and German. The word derives from Hamburg, Germany's second-largest city, and is similar to other famous meat foods, like frankfurter and wiener, in that they are named after cities in which they originated, like Frankfurt and Vienna (Wien), respectively. That being said, many Americans argue the hamburger came to be in the States in the early 1900s and gained widespread notoriety at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

Apfel is the German word for apple and used in many variations to describe apple-related items. For example, apple cider vinegar is apfelweinessig; apple tree is apfelbaum; and apple pure is apfelpüree. To explain that someone is "the apple of one's eye," however, the words augenstern or augapfel are used instead.

Orange, the fruit, is the same word in English and German, however, they're pronounced quite differently in the two languages. (It's actually originally from French.) In German, like in English, orange describes the fruit and the color. For example, orange juice is orangensaft.

Banane is the German word for the fruit, banana, and although spelled slightly differently, the German and English versions of the word are pronounced similarly. In a sentence, "monkeys loves bananas" translates to "Affen lieben Bananen" in German. A Banana split is bananensplit or bananendampfer; and banana boat is bananenboot.

Spielzeug is the German word for toy, as in "Alle Kinder spielen gern mit Spielzeug," which means "all children like playing with toys." To use the word as a verb, however, such as "he toyed with my feelings," it's "Er spielte mit meinen Gefühlen."

Ball, as in "my dog loves to chase a ball," is the same word in German as in English although the "a" is pronounced slightly differently. In German, however, other words that involve balls, such as a ball of wool is "knäuel," curl up in a ball is "sich zusammengerollt," and a billiards or croquet ball is "kugel."

Blume (blumen for plural) is the German word for flower. For instance, German for "a vase holds flowers" is "eine Vase hält Blumen." Interestingly, "blüte" also means flower, but it's more aligned with how English speakers might use blossom (although most often we still use the word flower.) For example, "a broom is a shrub with yellow flowers" would be "Ginster ist ein Strauch mit gelben Blüten," and a case where "blüten" would be used instead of "blume."

Baum (bäume for plural) is the German word for tree. It's used in the same way as the English word, except in certain cases. For example, "baum" is used for cherry tree (ein Kirschbaum), pear tree (birnenbaum), thorn tree (dornenbaum), and host tree (wirtsbaum),%0Dbut for oak tree it's "eine Eiche."

Arm is the same word in German as in English when describing the body part, although the "a" in the word is pronounced differently. To say "I have a tattoo on my arm" is "Ich habe ein Tattoo auf meinem Arm." When referring to arms as in weapons, however, the German word is "waffe" (or "waffen" for plural).

Bein is the German word for leg as in "she has nice legs," or in German, "Sie hat schöne Beine." However, leg in sports as in "he won the first leg of the race" is etappe; and leg as in a part of something, like "the second leg of our trip was the longest" is abschnitt. With figures of speech such as "that story [plan] [idea] has legs," the German word is laufen or klappen.

Fisch, fische for plural, is the German word for fish. For example, "he prefers fish to meat" translates to "Er isst lieber Fisch als Fleisch." Some sayings, such as "like a fish out of water," retain the word fische (wie ein Fisch auf dem Trockenen). However, others don't, such as "to drink like a fish" is "wie ein Loch saufen;" and "there are plenty more fish in the sea" translates to "es gibt noch mehr (davon) auf der Welt."

Vogel is the German word for bird such as "I gently picked up the little bird" or "Ich hob den kleinen Vogel behutsam auf." Less common German words for bird include puppe, mieze, braut, and tussi. With figures of speech that involve birds in English, "vogel" is mostly not used. For example, "a little bird told me" is "das sagt mir mein kleiner Finger," or "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" translates to "der Spatz in der Hand ist besser als die Taube auf dem Dach."

Flugzeug (flugzeuge for plural) is the German word for airplane as in "airplanes take you to faraway destinations," or in German "flugzeuge bringen Sie zu weit entfernten Zielen." Examples of other words that use the base word of airplane include airplane ticket or "flugkarte," airplane hangar or "flugzeughangar," and airplane wing or "flugzeugflügel."

Boot is the German word for boat. Other words for boat are schiff (ship, vessel or passenger boat), kahn (boat or barge), dampfer (steamer, steamship or boat), barke (boat or barque), schiffchen (boat or shuttle), and fährschiff (ferry, ferry boat or boat). Sayings such as "to miss the boat" and "we're all in the same boat" in German are "den Anschluss verpassen" and "im gleichen Boot."

Stuhl is the German word for chair as in "the man sat down on the chair," or, in German, "Der Mann setzte sich auf den Stuhl." Meanwhile, "lehrstuhl" is used to describe a professorship chair; "vorsitz" is used for a committee or board chair; and "vorsitzender" is used to refer to the chair of an association.

Küche is the German word for kitchen. In a sentence, it would be "ihr Haus hat eine große Küche," or, in English, "she has a big kitchen." Ways in which the base word küche is used include küchentresen (kitchen counter), küchenspülbecken (kitchen sink), versuchsküche (test kitchen), and designer kitchen (designerküche).

Schlafzimmer is the German word for bedroom. In a sentence, it would be "mein Haus hat acht Schlafzimmer," or, in English, "my house has eight bedrooms." Other less common words for bedroom include schlafraum, kammer (chamber or bedroom), and schlafstube.

Badezimmer, or more commonly "bad" for short, is the German word for bathroom. Other less commonly used terms include toilette (lavatory), WC (as in "water closet" in English), and klosett (which is also the word for closet).

Teller is the German word for plate. In a sentence, it would be used like "Sie servierte das Essen auf einem schönen Teller" or "she served the meal on a beautiful plate." Plate as in "the hull of the ship is protected by metal plates" is "platte," which is more similar to the English spelling and pronunciation.

Gabel is the German word for fork, as in "we eat with forks and knives" or "wir essen mit gabeln und messer." Meanwhile, a fork in a rail or roadway is gabelung; a fork in a tree is astgabel; and to fork right or left on a road is "sich gabeln" nach rechts abzweigen (to the right) or nach rechts abbiegen (to the left).

Messer is the German word for knife, as in "that knife is really dull" or "das messer ist wirklich stumpf." In figurative speech, "messer" isn't always used. For example,"to turn (or twist) the knife" is "Salz in die Wunde streuen;" "to put (or stick) a knife in it" is "böse zuschlagen;" and "you could have cut the tension with a knife" is "die Stimmung war zum Zerreißen gespannt."

Löffel is the German word for spoon. In a sentence like "I like to eat soup with a huge spoon," it would be "Ich mag Suppe mit einem riesigen Löffel essen." The word is often the base to describe other things such as dosierlöffel (measuring spoon), esslöffel (soup spoon), kochlöffel (wooden spoon), and metalllöffel (metal spoon).

Wasser is the word for water in German. When used as a verb, such as "I always water my garden at least once a week" ("Ich wohne jeden Morgen einmal mindestens einmal in den Garten" in German) German speakers instead use either "bewässern" or "gießen." In figures of speech, sometimes "wasser" is used and sometimes it isn't. For example, "to keep one's head above water" is "sich über Wasser halten," but "to get (oneself) into deep water" is "ins Schwimmen kommen."

Tür is the German word for door as in "there's someone at the door," or, in German, "da ist jemand an der Tür." Other less commonly used words for door are tor (also gate or gateway), klappe (also hutch), eingangstür (also entrance door or entrance), and türflügel. With sayings, sometimes tür is used such as "to show someone the door" which translates in German to "jdm die Tür weisen."

Fenster is the German word for window as in "the window was open" or "das Fenster war offen." However, the window of a shop is "schaufenster," the window on a computer is "bildschirmfenster," and the window in a bank is "schalter."

Bonbon is the German word for candy. "Süßigkeit" is also used, but it also means "sweetness." When used as a verb, however, which in English is "candied," in German it's "kandieren." So "he candied the lemon peel" is "er kandierte die Zitronenschale."

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