Just curious: Which words are often used in everyday English?

I came across the Wikipedia article about List of German expressions in English.
There are listed thousands of words. I was surprised about the mass and that almost every word that I checked has its entry in Oxford Dictionary; but though, I can barely think of that all these words are known by native English, let alone frequently used.

One example of which I know that it is used is zeitgeist, at least the Guardian has a rubric zeitgeist.

closed as not constructive by Andrew Leach, Hugo, RegDwigнt May 27 '12 at 17:42

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    AFAIK bratwurst is pretty common. Chess terms, of course, such as zugzwang... That's what comes to mind – Armen Ծիրունյան May 27 '12 at 10:38
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    The large amount of the words in that wikipedia list are, as you surmise, not known or rare and decidedly non-native sounding. I am unsure how to give an official answer though...a sublist that is of non-rare words hardly recognizable as German? – Mitch May 27 '12 at 13:18
  • The question is interesting, but I'm guessing from reactions not especially a good fit here. Also, pretty much every word on the is could have a separate ELU question. Also, whatever direction you want it to go (see tchrist's list of 'what is meant'), they will be an awful lot that is centrally about German, and that is sadly considered off-topic. – Mitch May 29 '12 at 17:42
  • @Mitch Yeah, but I don't understand the last point you mentioned. If the question really would be about German, I would ask the question on GLU, not here. But it's OK now. There are some very good answers. Though, I'm pretty sure being less picky the question would've got much more good answers. – Em1 May 29 '12 at 20:27

With reference to the Wikipedia article List of German expressions in English, most of the words in that list are, as you conjecture, rare and noticeably German sounding. The following is my selection from that list of those words that I would consider to be 'naturalized' or native to English now, that is, you could use them without sounding strange or German. The definitions I leave to the wikipedia page or OED, I'll just give the English nuance if necessary.

  • blitz
  • bratwurst or brat
  • bundt cake
  • karabiner
  • delicatessen or deli
  • frankfurter or frank
  • Gesundheit - it might have some German sound to it, but is about as common as 'bless you' (this is worth a fuller ELU question)
  • wiener - a bit less frequent nowadays as it is also a (somewhat lame) euphemism for penis
  • kitsch - yiddish sounding
  • kindergarten
  • kohlrabi - foreign sounding but it's what it's called in the grocery store
  • lager
  • muesli - foreign sounding but not noticeably German
  • Nazi - either the historical term or someone who is particularly autocratic
  • pumpernickel - funny sounding but not foreign or German
  • rucksack - it is much more common to say backpack in the US
  • sauerkraut
  • schnaps - sounds a little German (the 'shn-' sound is not native English, another Yiddish sounding sequence)
  • schuss - almost onomatopeia
  • spritzer - very Yiddish sounding
  • strudel

Most others on that list that are not rare I just would not include in that above list are things like dog names (poodle, dachshund, rottweiler, etc) which are English assimilated (not German sounding), or obvious Germanl words that will never be native English like Schadenfreude or Gemutlichkeit which wil always be exotic sounding in English.

  • It is my opinion that the name 'hamburger' is supposedly a made up word to go along with the formerly existing meat patty (I couldn't find any direct online evidence o support this, but that is why I didn't include hamburger on this list) – Mitch May 27 '12 at 14:00
  • I don't think you're right about that, Mitch. I remember hearing on a tv programme many years ago, that it comes from the name Hamburg, because the food has an association with that city. – Tristan May 27 '12 at 14:19
  • Great answer, and hamburger is actually a good example, as far as I know. Please, Mitch, have also a look at my comment to tchrist answer. This question should actually be community wiki, ... nonetheless. Thanks a lot. – Em1 May 27 '12 at 19:02
  • I heard this version: the "hamburger" was named after the location where it was invented, Hamburg, New York. – GEdgar May 27 '12 at 23:27
  • @Tristan: in Germany, certain foods are known by their place-name: for example a frankfurter is a well-known wurst from Frankfurt, a berliner is a well-known pastry from Berlin. As far as I know, there is no squashed meat patty known as a hamburger which Hamburg is famous for. There may be a McDonald's on the Reeperbahn today, but 100 years ago, to the best of my knowledge, a Bremner eating a squashed meat patty did not consider it a specialty of Hamburg and didn't call it a hamburger. – Mitch May 28 '12 at 0:24

This is a difficult question to answer, because it is unclear what is meant.

  • Must the words in English be unaltered in appearance compared with their use in German?
  • Must the words in English be unaltered in meaning compared with their use in German?
  • Words in common parlance or technical use? Whose common parlance? Does slang count?
  • Do phrases count, like for example “über alles”?
  • Is a productive prefix like über- a word?
  • Does it matter if the words are more often, even exclusively, used only in spoken or only in written English?
  • If written, then in which corpus or corpora?
  • Would a word whose use were limited to the U.S. still count? What about if it were limited to South Africa?
  • Is there a time limit? For example, do words entering English from German in 2010 count the same as those entering in 1910? What about 1610? Or 1010?
  • Do words shared in common between Modern German and Modern English solely as a result of those two languages’ shared ancestry count?
  • Do words that we once used but are not considered obsolete still count, or only words in current use?

Without answers to these sorts of questions, and probably others, no reasonable answer seems possible.

The OED reports that the number of terms of German origin still considered current and whose first attested written use in English dates from various periods is:

  • 6 words first entered English from German over the past 25 years.
  • 79 words first entered English from German over the past 50 years.
  • 821 words first entered English from German over the past 100 years.
  • 2985 words first entered English from German over the past 500 years.
  • 3122 words first entered English from German over the past 1,000 years.
  • 7 words first entered English from German over 1,000 years ago. One of these is the prefix fore-.

Here are the 79 terms of German (including Yiddish) origin that the OED reports having entered English over the past 50 years:

  1. bashert, n. 1975 …In Jewish usage: a person's predestined romantic partner; a soulmate….
  2. bashert, adj. 1963 …In Jewish usage: destined, fated; preordained….
  3. bioturbation, n. 1963 …The disturbance of sediment by burrowing or other activity of living organisms; the disturbed state that results….
  4. Eisbock, n. 1977 …A type of strong lager chilled to sub-zero temperatures after fermentation so that ice crystals may be strained off, thereby concentrating the flavour and alcohol content. Cf. ice beerice….
  5. Eiswein, n. 1963 …Wine made from ripe grapes picked while the frost is on them, and still frozen when they go into the press….
  6. flehmen, n. 1970 …A behaviour seen in many mammals in response to certain olfactory stimuli, esp. sex pheromones, characterized by a curling of the upper lip and a raising of the head. Freq. attrib….
  7. Foosball, n. 1966 …A table football game in which players rotate rods attached to opposing ranks of miniature representations of footballers in order to direct a ball into their opponent's goal. Also: the ball used…
  8. fundi, n.2 and adj. 1984 …Originally and esp. in Germany: a member of the radical wing of the Green Party; (later, also) a radical or extreme environmentalist. Contrasted with realo…
  9. Gastarbeiter, n. 1966 …A person with temporary permission to work in another country, an immigrant worker. Applied esp. to those encouraged into Germany after 1945 to assist in the post-war economic revival….
  10. Gesellschaft, n. 1964 …A social relationship between individuals based on duty to society or to an organization; contrasted with Gemeinschaft So Gesellschaft-like adj. Germangesellschaftlich….
  11. glitzy, adj. 1966 …Characterized by glitter or extravagant show; ostentatious, glamorous; hence, tawdry, gaudy; glitteringly spectacular, but in poor taste. Cf. glittering2, glitterati…
  12. Grepo, n. 1964 …An East Berlin border guard….
  13. heimisch, adj. 1964 …Homely; unpretentious….
  14. Historikerstreit, n. 1987 …A controversial scholarly debate in West Germany in 19867 as to the interpretation and significance of the Holocaust, and in particular whether the atrocities committed by the Nazis can…
  15. imhofite, n. 1965 …A soft, white sulphide of thallium and arsenic occurring as tiny monoclinic plates….
  16. klutz, n. 1968 …A clumsy, awkward person, esp. one considered socially inept; a fool. Also as …
  17. kombi, n. 1963 …A kind of minibus or van, originally manufactured by Volkswagen, which has removable seating at the rear, enabling it to transport passengers or goods (or a combination of the two); (S….
  18. kvell, v. 1967 …intr. To boast; to feel proud or happy; to gloat….
  19. kvetch, n. 1964 …A term of personal abuse: spec. a person who complains a great deal, a fault-finder….
  20. lagerstätte, n. 1972 …A fossil deposit of exceptional richness or interest. Also more fully fossil-lagerstatte. Usu. in pl….
  21. lithotripter, n. 1982 …A machine used for ultrasound lithotripsy which generates ultrasonic waves and focuses them on a chosen site in the body. Cf. lithotriptor…
  22. mameloshen, n. 1968 …In Jewish usage: a mother tongue, esp. Yiddish….
  23. marka, n. 1997 …The principal monetary unit of Bosnia and Herzegovina, consisting of 100 fenings. Also more fully convertible marka. Cf. mark2e….
  24. meister, n. 1975 …A person skilled in or strongly associated with something (usually indicated by the first element), an expert; a person in control of an enterprise or undertaking….
  25. meisterwerk, n. 1964 …A work perceived as the greatest of a particular artist or genre. Cf. masterwork…
  26. memorat, n. 1965 …In folklore studies: a narrative relating personal experience….
  27. metachrony, n. 1964 …Occurrence in sequence (as opposed to in synchrony); spec. the orderly sequential movement of cilia in a progressive wave….
  28. metaphyton, n. 1964 …Aggregated freshwater algae that are not attached to a substrate; (originally) spec. those found between or loosely associated with water plants….
  29. mieskeit, n. 1968 …Esp. in Jewish usage: an ugly person….
  30. milbemycin, n. 1975 …Any of a group of macrolide antibiotics structurally related to the avermectins, used in veterinary medicine for the treatment and prevention of various ecto- and endoparasitic infestations….
  31. minerotrophic, adj. 1963 …Esp. of a swamp, fen, or peatland: fed chiefly by ground and surface water and hence supplied with dissolved minerals. Cf. ombrotrophic…
  32. mitteleuropäisch, adj. 1963 …= Middle-European…
  33. moganite, n. 1984 …A microcrystalline form of monoclinic silica….
  34. muscimol, n. 1967 …An alkaloid with hallucinogenic and narcotic properties which is an analogue of gamma-aminobutyric acid and occurs naturally in the fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) and certain other fungi; 3-hydroxy-5-aminomethylisoxazole, C…
  35. neuraminate, n. 1970 …A salt or ester of neuraminic acid….
  36. O-Bahn, n. 1982 …A track on which a bus, by means of special locking wheels, may run without needing to be steered; a bus or bus service which uses such a track….
  37. ODESSA, n. 1964 …An organization arranging the escape from Germany of high-ranking Nazis at the end of the Second World War….
  38. omi, n.2 1988 …Originally among German communities: a grandmother. Freq. as an affectionate form of address….
  39. opi, n. 1988 …Originally among German communities: a grandfather. Freq. as an affectionate form of address….
  40. Ossi, n. 1989 …Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989: a citizen of the former German Democratic Republic; an East German. Cf. Wessi…
  41. paracladium, n. 1965 …In certain types of compound inflorescence: a subsidiary branch that has the same branching structure as the main axis….
  42. parafango, n. 1969 …A medicinal bath made with volcanic mud and paraffin wax….
  43. propafenone, n. 1975 …A drug with anti-arrhythmic and local anaesthetic properties, used in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia….
  44. punim, n. 1965 …In Jewish usage: the face….
  45. Qualitätswein, n. 1971 …In Germany and Austria: high-quality wine produced under stricter controls than ordinary table wine….
  46. Ratrac, n. 1971 …A tracked vehicle designed for travelling on snow-covered terrain, used esp. for compacting snow on a ski slope. Cf. snowcat…
  47. realo, n. and adj. 1984 …Originally and esp. in Germany: a member of the pragmatic or more moderate wing of the Green Party; (later, also) a moderate or pragmatic environmentalist. Contrasted with fundi….
  48. rotaxane, n. 1969 …Any compound having a molecular structure in which a chain of atoms is threaded through a ring and, though not chemically bonded to the ring, is mechanically constrained in position by the…
  49. rumspringa, n. 1963 …In some Amish communities: a period of adolescence in which boys and girls are given greater personal freedom and allowed to begin courting, usually beginning around the age of sixteen and ending…
  50. schlep, n.2 1964 …A troublesome business, a piece of hard work….
  51. schlong, n. 1969 …The penis. Also applied contemptuously to a person….
  52. schlub, n. 1964 …A worthless person, a ‘jerk’, an oaf….
  53. schmatte, n. 1970 …A rag, a ragged garment; any garment. Also fig….
  54. schmoll, n. 1967 …An idiot, a fool….
  55. schmutz, n. 1968 …Dirt, filth, rubbish. Also fig….
  56. scleromyxœdema, n. 1964 …A disease characterized by the extensive proliferation of fibroblasts and deposition of mucopolysaccharides in the skin, causing distortions of the features and lichenous eruptions….
  57. Seilbahn, n. 1963 …A cable railway; an aerial cableway….
  58. shtup, v. 1968 …trans. To push. Hence also as …
  59. Stasi, n. 1964 …The internal security force of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), disbanded in 1990….
  60. sudoite, n. 1963 …(See quot. 1963.)…
  61. Tafelwein, n. 1972 …Wine of less than middle quality, suitable for drinking with an ordinary meal; = table wine Cf. vin de tablevin….
  62. taphrogenesis, n. 1978 …The formation of large-scale geological structures by high-angle or block faulting, esp. as the result of tensional forces in the crust….
  63. textology, n. 1975 …The study and analysis of the evolution of a text or texts, esp. through rewriting, editing, and translation; more generally, the study of text production; textual classification….
  64. Torschlusspanik, n. 1963 …A sense of alarm or anxiety (said to be experienced particularly in middle age) caused by the suspicion that life's opportunities are passing (or have passed) one by; spec. that…
  65. treff, n. 1963 …A secret meeting(-place), esp. for the transfer of goods or information….
  66. trockenbeerenauslese, n. 1963 …(A) sweet German white wine of superior quality, made from individually selected grapes affected by noble rot….
  67. tsatske | tchotchke, n. 1968 …A trinket or gewgaw; transf., a pretty girl….
  68. tummler, n. 1966 …Someone who acts the clown, a prankster; spec. a professional maker of amusement and jollity at a hotel or the like….
  69. über alles, phr. 1967 …Above all else. …
  70. Überfremdung, n. 1965 …The admission or presence of too many foreigners….
  71. Umwelt, n. 1964 …The outer world, or reality, as it affects the organisms inhabiting it….
  72. untermensch, n. 1964 …Esp. with reference to the Nazi régime: a racially inferior person, a sub-human person. Cf. Übermensch…
  73. viertel, n. 1967 …In Germany and Austria, a quarter of a litre (of wine, etc.); a glass or jug holding this quantity….
  74. Waldsterben, n. 1983 …A detrimental condition affecting some forests, in which trees and other vegetation sicken and die, esp. as a result of atmospheric pollution….
  75. Weisswurst, n. 1963 …(A) whitish German sausage made chiefly of veal….
  76. Wessi, n. 1990 …A term used in Germany (esp. since reunification) to denote a citizen of the former Federal Republic of Germany; a West German. Cf. Ossi…
  77. Wunderkammer, n. 1976 …A chamber or cabinet of wonders; spec. a place exhibiting the collection of a connoisseur of curiosities, such as became common from the late Renaissance onwards….
  78. zeitgeber, n. 1964 …A rhythmically occurring event, esp. in the environment, which acts as a cue in the regulation of certain biological rhythms in an organism….
  79. zugtrompete, n. 1978 …A slide trumpet….

The 50 years previous to those (read: 1913–1962) were even more active, with 742 terms entering English from German (again, not excluding Yiddish) during that time. A few of the more notable such terms I list below.

Notice how this includes words ultimately of classical derivation, like taxon (pl. taxa). Sure, it’s awfully Greek-looking, but it comes to us from A. Meyer’s Logik der Morphologie of 1926, and so is considered to have arrive to English by way of German.

  • abseil, n. 1923 …A descent made by abseiling….
  • allele, n. 1931 …= allelomorph…
  • alpenrose, n. 1914 …= rose of the Alpsrose5a….
  • angst, n. 1944 …Anxiety, anguish, neurotic fear; guilt, remorse….
  • bagel, n. 1919 …A hard ring-shaped salty roll of bread. Also attrib….
  • ballerino, n. 1934 …A male ballet dancer. Cf. ballerina…
  • bierhaus, n. 1930 …A German public house or ale-house….
  • Blitzkrieg | blitzkrieg, n. 1939 …(See blitz)…
  • boxer, n.5 1934 …A smooth-coated, square-built, fawn or brindle breed of dog of the bulldog type, originating in Germany….
  • boychick, n. 1921 …Esp. in Jewish usage: a boy, a young man; a lad, a ‘kid’. Freq. as a familiar form of address….
  • carotenoid | carotinoid, n. 1913 …Any one of a group of pigments including the carotenes, the xanthophylls, and fucoxanthin, found in many plants and animals. Also attrib. or as …
  • citrin, n. 1936 …A water-soluble flavonoid found in citrus fruits, formerly considered to be a source of vitamin P….
  • Deutsche Mark | Deutschemark, n. 1948 …The monetary unit of the German Federal Republic, instituted in June 1948; also, a coin representing one Deutsche Mark. Abbrev. D.M. or D-mark….
  • diktat, n. 1922 …A severe settlement or decision, esp. one imposed by a victorious nation upon a defeated nation….
  • dreck, n. 1922 …Rubbish, trash, worthless debris….
  • dunk, v. 1919 …trans. To dip (bread, cake, etc.) into a beverage or other liquid. Also absol., transf., and fig….
  • ˈeigenvalue, n. 1927 …One of those special values of a parameter in an equation for which the equation has a solution (see quot. 1938)….
  • exergy, n. 1959 …The maximum amount of work that can be obtained from a given process, or from a given system by reversible processes….
  • existentialism, n. 1919 …A doctrine that concentrates on the existence of the individual, who, being free and responsible, is held to be what he makes himself by the self-development of his essence through acts of…
  • fenster, n. 1925 …An opening or ‘window’ eroded through an older stratum in a region of overfolding or overthrusting, exposing a younger stratum beneath….
  • flak, n. 1938 …An anti-aircraft gun; also (the usual sense in English), anti-aircraft fire. Also attrib. So flak-happyflak jacketflak ship…
  • Führer, n. 1934 …Part of the title (Führer und Reichskanzler) assumed by Adolf Hitler (see Hitler) in 1934 as head of the German Reich, after the model of …
  • Gestalt | gestalt, n. 1922 …A ‘shape’, ‘configuration’, or ‘structure’ which as an object of perception forms a specific whole or unity incapable of expression simply in terms of its parts (e.g. a melody in…
  • Gestapo, n. 1934 …The secret police of the Nazi regime in Germany. Also transf….
  • gesundheit, int. 1914 …An exclamation used to wish good health to a person, esp. to someone who sneezes….
  • Gewürztraminer, n. 1940 …A variety of Traminer grape grown chiefly in the Rhine valley, Alsace, and Austria; the aromatic white wine made from it….
  • gunsel, n. 1914 …A (naïve) youth; a tramp's young companion, male lover; a homosexual youth….
  • heterochromatin, n. 1932 …Heterochromatic chromosome material….
  • hügelite, n. 1914 …A yellow or brown mineral originally described as a hydrated vanadate of lead and zinc but later shown to be a hydrated arsenate of lead and uranium….
  • intersex, n. 1917 …In a diœcious species, an abnormal form or individual having characteristics of both sexes; the condition of being of this type….
  • isogloss, n. 1925 …In Linguistic Geography, the boundary of an area of local concentration or dominance of a significant feature (as of vocabulary or pronunciation). Also, a line plotted on a map indicating the area…
  • Judenrat, n. 1950 …A council representing a Jewish community in a locality controlled by the Germans during the war of 193945….
  • karabiner, n. 1932 …A coupling device consisting of a metal oval or D-shaped link with a gate protected against accidental opening. Cf. krab…
  • kegler, n. 1932 …One who plays tenpin bowling, skittles, ninepins, etc….
  • keller, n. 1927 …A beer-cellar in Austria or Germany. Also attrib….
  • kibitz, v. 1930 …intr. To look on at cards, or some other activity, esp. in an interfering manner (e.g. by standing close to the shoulders of the players); to offer gratuitous advice to a…
  • kitsch, n. 1926 …Art or objets d'art characterized by worthless pretentiousness; the qualities associated with such art or artifacts. Also attrib., Comb., and transf….
  • klezmer, n. and adj. 1929 …A performer of Jewish folk music, traditionally itinerant and playing in small groups at festivals and family events….
  • knackwurst, n. 1939 …A type of German sausage….
  • konditorei, n. 1935 …Confectionery; a confectioner's shop, a shop where pastries are sold….
  • lager, v. 1946 …To store (beer) (see quots.)….
  • latke, n. 1927 …In Jewish cookery, a pancake, esp. one made with grated potato….
  • lederhosen, n. 1937 …Leather shorts, as worn in Alpine regions….
  • lox, n.2 1941 …A kind of smoked salmon….
  • LSD, n.2 1950 …Lysergic acid diethylamide (see lysergic). Freq. with the number 25 appended….
  • Luftwaffe, n. 1935 …The German air force before, and until the end of, the 193945 war. Also attrib….
  • macroglobulin, n. 1952 …Any blood plasma globulin of high molecular weight (usually, greater than 400,000); esp. immunoglobulin M….
  • maven, n. 1950 …An expert, a connoisseur; a knowledgeable enthusiast, an aficionado….
  • mensch, n. 1930 …In Jewish usage: a person of integrity or rectitude; a person who is morally just, honest, or honourable….
  • mictic, adj. 1925 …Originally: designating females (of various species) that are capable of sexual reproduction (i.e. that are not obligately parthenogenetic). Later also: of, relating to, or involving mixis. Also (in extended use): of mixed…
  • mogul, n.2 1956 …A bump on a ski slope, by which a skier's progress may be impeded. Freq. attrib., esp. designating an area where such bumps or undulations are to be found. Also…
  • monoblast, n. 1925 …An immature monocyte….
  • motza, n. 1936 …A great deal of money, a fortune; a lucrative or profitable situation….
  • muesli, n. 1939 …A mixture of cereals (esp. rolled oats), fresh or dried fruit, nuts, etc., typically eaten with milk at breakfast; a dish consisting of this….
  • Nazi, n. and adj. 1930 …A member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (now hist.); a member of any similar organization. Also more generally, usu. in pl.: the German government or armed…
  • Neanderthaler, n. 1913 …A Neanderthal hominid….
  • noodge, v. 1960 …trans. To pester, to nag at. Also intr.: to whine, to complain persistently….
  • noodle, v.5 1937 …trans. and intr. Chiefly Jazz. To play or sing (a piece of music) in a tentative, playful, or improvisatory way; (also) to play an elaborate or decorative…
  • Oktoberfest, n. 1929 …Originally: an annual festival celebrated in Munich in late September and early October (often with particular reference to the beer festival which forms part of it). Now (also): a similar autumn festival…
  • oy vey, int. 1914 …Esp. in Jewish usage: expressing grief, horror, or pain; ‘oh pain’, ‘oh woe’. Cf. oy…
  • paraprotein, n. 1949 …A protein found in the blood only in certain abnormal conditions; spec. a monoclonal immunoglobulin….
  • pastrami, n. 1914 …Highly seasoned smoked beef, usually served in thin slices; (as a count noun) a serving of this, esp. as a filling in a sandwich. Later also in extended use: other meat or…
  • pletzel, n. 1952 …A flat roll, similar to a bagel, with a crisp or chewy texture….
  • plotz, v. c1920 …intr. To burst, explode. Chiefly fig.: to demonstrate or exhibit extreme anger, surprise, etc….
  • porphyrism, n. 1923 …A (supposed) predisposition to the development of porphyria….
  • psilocybin, n. 1958 …An alkaloid, found in several mushrooms native to Central America (esp. of the genus Psilocybe), which when ingested produces hallucinogenic effects similar to those of LSD but milder and more…
  • putsch, n. 1919 …An attempt to overthrow a government, esp. by violent means; an insurrection or coup d'état….
  • putz, n.2 1928 …Originally in Jewish usage, now more generally: a stupid or worthless person; a fool….
  • radon, n. 1918 …A short-lived radioactive chemical element, atomic number 86, which is a member of the group of noble gases and occurs naturally in trace amounts as a result of the decay of radium…
  • riboflavin, n. 1935 …Vitamin B2; a yellow flavin with a ribityl side chain, essential for metabolic energy production and cellular respiration….
  • S-bahn, n. 1962 …In some German cities, a fast (sub)urban railway line or system….
  • schizophrene, n. 1925 …A schizophrenic, or a person with a predisposition towards schizophrenia. Also attrib. and loosely….
  • schlep, v. 1922 …trans. To haul, carry, drag. Also transf. and fig….
  • schlock, n. 1915 …Cheap, shoddy, or defective goods; inferior material, junk, ‘trash’ (freq. applied to the arts or entertainment). Also attrib. or as , and Comb. in ˈschlockmeister…
  • schmaltz, n. 1935 …Melted chicken fat; schmaltz herring, a form of pickled herring….
  • schmeer, v. 1930 …trans. To flatter; to bribe. Also absol….
  • schmooze, n. 1939 …Chat; gossip; a long and intimate conversation….
  • schnauzer, n. 1923 …A black or pepper-and-salt wire-haired terrier belonging to the breed so called, which includes large, standard, and miniature dogs distinguished by a stocky, robust build, docked tail, blunt, bearded muzzle, and ears…
  • schnozz, n. 1940 …The nose, nostril….
  • schvartze | schvartzer, n. 1961 …A black person; spec. (in the U.S., with the ending -a or -e) a black maid….
  • snorkel | schnorkel, n. 1944 …Usu. in forms schnorkel, Schnorkel. An airshaft, invented in the Netherlands and developed in Germany, which was fitted to diesel-engined submarines so that air could reach the engines,…
  • Spätlese, n. 1935 …A white wine made (esp. in Germany) from grapes gathered later than the general harvest….
  • spritz, v. 1917 …trans. To sprinkle, squirt, or spray….
  • spritzer, n. 1961 …A mixture of wine and soda water; a drink of this mixture….
  • strafe, v. 1915 …trans. Used (originally by British soldiers in the war against Germany) in various senses suggested by its origin: To punish; to do damage to; to attack fiercely; to heap imprecations on;…
  • Stuka, n. 1940 …A dive-bomber of the German air force, esp. as used in the war of 193945….
  • taxon, n. 1929 …A taxonomic group, as a genus or species. Also fig….
  • textura, n. 1929 …One of a group of typefaces first used in the earliest printed books, distinguished by narrow, angular letters and a strong vertical emphasis; also, the manuscript hand on which these typefaces were…
  • Third Reich, n. 1930 …The German state under the rule of Hitler and the Nazi party, 193345; the regime of Hitler. …
  • thoron, n. 1918 …A radioactive isotope of radon, atomic weight 220, that is a gaseous decay product of thorium, being formed by the decay of radium 224; thorium emanation….
  • transvestism, n. 1928 …The action of dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex; the condition of having an abnormal desire to dress in the clothes of the opposite sex….
  • transvestite, n. and adj. 1922 …A person with an abnormal desire to wear the clothes of the opposite sex….
  • U-bahn, n. 1938 …The underground railway in any of several of the major cities of Germany and Austria….
  • U-boat, n. 1916 …A (German) submarine. Also attrib….
  • Westpolitik, n. 1934 …Policy towards Western nations; spec. (in European politics) a policy of establishing or developing diplomatic and trading relations with Western nations, esp. (now chiefly hist.) on the part…
  • yenta, n. 1923 …A gossip or busybody; a noisy, vulgar person; a scolding woman or shrew….
  • yentz, v. 1930 …trans. To cheat, to swindle (see also quot. 1939). Also fig. Cf. screw6d13….
  • yok, n. 1923 …A pejorative Jewish term for a non-Jew, a Gentile….
  • zaftig, adj. 1937 …Of a woman: plump, curvaceous, ‘sexy’….
  • 1
    Excellent scholarship. To give perspective on the OED entries, the only ones of this list that are recognized by native English speakers (that are not technical terms) are klutz, kvetsch, kvell, schlong, schlub, schlep, schmutz, schtup, -all- of which are actually -Yiddish- terms, that were borrowed into English from the immigrant Jewish population. Yiddish is a dialect of High German, but not usually considered German (so for the OED to call these German words seems a non-trivial category mistake. Alos, it's strange that none of the words on this list is on the wikipedia list. – Mitch May 27 '12 at 17:46
  • @Mitch The way the OED does things, languages have a subset/superset setup. Germanic includes West Germanic, which includes German, which also includes Yiddish. I just asked for German in my query without excluding Yiddish, so it also gave me words marked Yiddish in origin, as Yiddish it deems a subset of German for these purposes. What I find fascinating is the huge number of words of German origin that entered English in the 51–100 years ago range: 742 of them, compared with only 79 in the next 50 years. Could this be due to the two world wars? – tchrist May 27 '12 at 17:54
  • yeah, great thoughts, indeed. I actually flagged my question that it becomes community wiki, unfortunately the moderator disagreed. The point is, as a community wiki question it's much more easier to give a answer, regarding e.g. just region uses, or just prefix, etc. Therefore the question should be somehow unclear to give enough space for several opinions. Nonetheless, thanks for this detailed listing. – Em1 May 27 '12 at 18:57
  • @Em1 I’ve added selected German-derived English terms from the previous 50 years. Some are indeed from WW2, but most are not. Many are from science, and were Latin or Greek before they were German. – tchrist May 27 '12 at 19:23
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    Going through your amended list, especially the 100-50 years ago set, it is even more apparent that the terms split into three major classes: technical terms (those that are used and recognized by a small group, essentially highly educated argot), High German words that are still considered German, and words that are recognizably English (not foreign). The latter set is almost entirely from Yiddish, e.g. 'maven', and so not recognized by Germans. There are a small handful of actual loan words from German (Hoch Deutsch) that are native English now: angst, dunk, putsch, snorkel. – Mitch May 28 '12 at 0:48

Mitch made an important point. Many of the words on that Wikipedia list are rare. I have not heard of an overwhelming majority of them. Neither have I heard anyone use most of them, at least in the UK.

Some of the words from Mitch's small list are familiar. Blitz, karabiner, lager, rucksack, frankfurter and muesli.

In terms of the Wikipedia list in general, an overwhelming majority of the words are not common in English. At least not in the UK. If others are common, then probably in American English. For example, the word kindergarten. This is used by Americans, but not in the UK, where the English word nursery is used.

  • Rare in general English, maybe. As a mathematician, I hear of the Nullstellensatz all the time, for example. – GEdgar May 27 '12 at 17:13
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    Dear, Tristan what's, with, all the, commas? I find, them rather, irritating I, must say. – RegDwigнt May 27 '12 at 17:39
  • Thanks. This answer is great. And at both Tristan and @GEdgar: Please also have a look at my comment to the answer of tchrist. What I actually wanted, is a community wiki question, that allows a lot of opinions, in which the side note of GEdgar would also be a brilliant answer. – Em1 May 27 '12 at 19:00
  • The comment of GEdgar is interesting. It seems that word is not in everyday language. It must be particular to the subject of maths. – Tristan May 27 '12 at 20:34

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