German 101: 135 Common German Words to Impress the Locals

German 101: 135 Common German Words to Impress the Locals

German is both a useful and beautiful language to learn.

German is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the European Union and is spoken by around 100 million people globally, so it’s a good language to learn whether you are traveling for business or pleasure.

It’s also a very beautiful language with words that are unique to German culture. 

Ever heard of “Feierabend”? It’s the German term for the relieved and festive mood that comes over you at the end of a workday. There’s also “ruhe” which is a simple and beautiful German word for “calm.”

Yes, German is a useful and beautiful language that is definitely fun – but a little challenging to learn. 

There an estimated 300,000 words that make up the German language, and while that might sound intimidating, you only need to learn about 5% of these words to be able to hold a conversation in German.

1. Hallo – Hello

Basic greetings are always some of the best places to start when learning any language. So, start with learning the German word for “hello”. 

2. Ja – Yes

It’s always a good idea to know how to say “yes” in another language. In German, it’s “ja”.

3. Nien – No

This is how you say “no”.

4. Bitte – Please

 If you are making a request, it’s only polite to add “Bitte”

5. Danke – Thank you

This is how you express gratitude.

6. Tschüss– Goodbye

This is the most basic way to say “goodbye” or “farewell" in German.

7. Können – Can

This is the German word for the verb “can”

8. Machen – Do

This means “do” in German.

9. Benutzen – Use

How German speakers say the verb “use”. 

10. Gehen – Go

When you mean “go”, you say “gehen’.

11. Kommen – Come

Another German common word is this, the equivalent to the English verb “come.” 

12. Glück  – Happiness

Happy about how your language learning journey is going? Well, in for German speakers, that is the feeling of “Glück”.

13. Lächeln – Smile

Express your happiness without words by giving a “lächeln”. 

14. Lachen – Laugh

If “lächeln” isn’t enough to express your joy, why not give a “lachen”.

15. Liebe – Love

This simple German word conveys one of the most beautiful feelings in any language, love.

 16. Katze – Cat

Like cats? This is how you answer the question, what is your favorite animal, in German.

17. Hund – Dog

If you are more of a dog person, your favorite pet is a “hund”

18. Gut – Good

This is an adjective that means “good”. A well trained “hund” will wag it’s tail in happiness if you call it “gut”.

19. Schelecht – Bad

The opposite of “gut”.

20. Heute – Today

This is how you say “today” in German.

21. Morgen – Tomorrow

This is how you tell someone “tomorrow”.

22. Gestern – Yesterday

This is referred to as the day before “heute”.

23. Woche – Week

When Germans refer to the period of seven days we call a “week” in English, this is what they use.

24. Jahr – Year

This is the German word for “year.”

25. Kalender – Calendar

Say this when you are referring to a “calendar.”

26. Machen – Make

This is the German equivalent to the verb “make”.

27. Sehen – See

This refers to what you do with your eyes.

28. Schon - Beautiful

If what you “sehen” is pleasing to you, it could be because you found it “beautiful” or “schön”.

29. Hässlich – Ugly

The opposite of “schön”.

30. Weit – Far

This German common word is meant to express the idea of the distance between you and an object.

31. Nahe – Near

If the distance between you and an object or place isn’t “weit”, it is “nahe”.

32. Wie –As

This is the German word for “as”.

33. War – Was

This means “was”.

34. Ich – I

If you want to refer to yourself in German, say “ich”.

35. Er – He

This is a pronoun that refers to a male.

36. Ihr – Her

This is the pronoun for a female.

37. Seine – His

This is the male possessive pronoun.

38. Dass – that

This is the German equivalent of the English word “that”.

39. Für – For

This is the word for “for”. 

40. Klein – Small

This common German adjective refers to something of diminutive size. 

41. Groß – Large

This is the adjective for an object that is big. 

42. Akt –Act

This is the German verb for “act”.

43. Fragen –ask

This is the verb for “ask”.

44. Lande – Land

This is a noun that means “land”.

45. Schwierig – Difficult

You might find learning German “schwierig” at first, but trust us, it’s worth it.

46. Einfach – Easy

The opposite of “schewierig”.

47. Sie – They

This is the German equivalent of the English collective pronoun “they”.

48. Auf – On

This is the word used for “on” in German-speaking countries.

49. Sind – Are

This is the word for “are.”

50. Mit – With

This is the word German speakers say when they mean “with”.

51. Bei – At

This is the equivalent of the English word “at”.

52. Dies – This

This is the word for “this”.

53. Was – What

If you want to ask “what” in German, you use “was”.

54. Sekund – Second

This is a noun that is a German common word used to refer to the unit of time we call a “second” in English.

55. Minute – Minute

60 seconds is the same thing in English and German, a “minute”.

56. Stunde – Hour

This refers to the unit of time known as an “hour” in English. 

57. Uhr - Clock

The instrument that keeps track of time.

58. Ist – Is

This is the German equivalent to the English word “is”.

59. Es – It

This is a pronoun used to refer to an object.

60. Sie – You

This is the German word to use when referring to someone other than yourself.

61. Das – The

This is the German version of the English article “the”. 

62. Ein – A

Another article.

63. Und - And

The word for “and”. 

64. Wir – We

When German speakers say “wir” they mean “we”.

65. Lecker – Delicious

If you tasted a German dish for the first time and loved it, you can describe it as “lecker”.

66. Kaffee – Coffee

German “Kaffee” is “lecker”.

67. Bier – Beer

If you want something stronger than “kaffee”, you can always order a “bier”.

68. Wein – Wine

If “bier” is not your drink, maybe “wein” is. 

69. Wasser – Water

Or you can just ask for a plain, refreshing glass of “wasser”.

70. Koch – Cook

Someone who prepares food to be eaten.

71. Rindfleisch –Beef

If you are a vegetarian, avoid any dishes that are “Rindfleisch”.

72. Schweinefleisch – Pork

If you are Muslim, make sure to ask if a dish has “schweinefleisch” and avoid it.

73. Hühnchen – Chicken

You can always just ask for chicken dishes by using this German word.

74. Fisch – Fish

Or “fish”, with this word.

75. Folgen – Follow

This verb is the equivalent of the English verb “follow”.

76. Veränderung – Change

This is the word that German speakers say when they mean “change”.

77. Ging – Went

When you say that someone “went” somewhere, you can use “ging” in German.

78. Körper- Body

This is a common word to refer to your “body”.

79. Bein – Leg

This refers to the body part.

80. Fuß – Foot

The body part found at the end of your “bein”.

81. Arm – Arm

The German word for the body part known as the “arm” in English is also “arm”.

82. Hand – Hand

“Hand” means the same thing for a German speaker as it would for an English speaker.

83. Finger – Finger

Ditto for “finger”.

84. Kopf – Head

The German word for “head”.

85. Magen – Stomach

This is what the “stomach” is called in German.

86. Rücken – Back

Your “back” in German.

87. Brustkorb – Chest

What we call your “chest” in English is your “brustkorb” in German.

88. Arbeit – Work

This verb means “work.”

89. Angestellter – Employee

If you “arbeit” for a German company, then you are an “angestellter” for that company.

90. Leiter – Manager

If you have the title of “manager” with your company, this is the equivalent German word.

100. Polizistin – Policeman

If you get in trouble in a German speaking country, you might have to ask for the “polizistin”

101. Arzt – Doctor

If you need medical care, look for an arzt.

102. Krankenschwester – Nurse

Someone who assists the “arzt”.

103. Lehrerin – Teacher

Someone who works in the field of education

104. Programmierer – Programmer

If you work developing computer programs, this is your job title.

105. Verkäufer – Salesman

This is the job title of someone who works in sales.

106. Ingenieur – Engineer

This is the German job title of what we call an “engineer” in English.

107. Versuchen – Try

When you tell someone to “versuchen” you are asking them to “try”

108. Wo – Where

You can use this word to ask “where” a certain place is.

109. Wann – When

You can use this word if you want to ask “when” an even is taking place.

110. How – Wie

If you want to ask “how”, this is the word to use.

111. Warum – Why

This is the German interrogative word for “why”.

112. Einverstanden – Agreed

This word means that you do not object to something.

113. Uns – Us

When you are referring to a collective group of people and including yourself.

114. Pflanze – Plant

This is what German speakers use to refer to a “plant”.

115. Tier – Animal

This is the German word to refer to a living being that is not a human nor is it a “pflanze”.

116. Luft – Air

This is the German word for “air”.

117. Haus – House

This refers to a dwelling, usually where people live.

118. Zuhause – Home

German-speakers will use this word when they refer to their “home”.

119. Lesen –Read

This verb refers to the act of reading.

120. Bild – Picture

This refers to a still image. 

121. Bald – Soon

This is an adverb that means “soon”.

122. Welt – World

This is the equivalent of the English word “World”.

123. Erde – Earth

This word means “earth”.

124. Bauen – Build

This verb means “build”.

125. Mutter – Mother

This refers to the female parent.

126. Vater – Father

This refers to the male parent

127. Selbst – Self

This is the equivalent to the word “self” in English.

128. Jeder – Any

When you are asked to make a choice and you say “any”, the German word you should use is “jeder”

129. Ort – Place

This means a certain spot or area.

130. Fahrt – Trip

If you are heading to a particular “ort” you are going on a “fahrt”.

131. Rat – Advice

If someone asks you for this, they need your opinion on a problem they have.

132. Links – Left

This is the German word for “left”.

133. Rechts – Right

This means “right”.

134. Eingang - Entrance

This is the word for “entrance”.

135. Ausgang - Exit

If you are looking to get out of a building or area, you should look for the “ausgang”.


For any beginner language learner, one of the most important things to do is to build up your vocabulary by learning common words in that language. 

Downloading the PDF file of these 135 German common words will give you a good start along your language learning journey.

Get your copy now

Memorizing these words and their meaning will give you a good base to start putting German words together to form proper sentences that will help you communicate with native speakers.

Go through this list of common words of German with an online German language tutor so that they can better explain to you when and where these words are used and how they are used in everyday speech.

They can also help you with your pronunciation and accent in order to better equip you to start having conversations with German speakers ASAP.

If you’re interested in becoming fluent in a new language, check out these top online learning resources: Kick off your learning with Babbel, where interactive, enjoyable lessons are designed to blend smoothly into your routine, fostering fast and effective language learning. For those aiming for an in-depth understanding, Udemy provides a broad spectrum of courses from basic to advanced levels. To enhance your speaking skills, Preply connects you with native speakers for personalized coaching, ensuring significant improvement. Take advantage of a 50% discount on your first lesson at Preply with this link.

What are the most common German words?

Hallo - Hello, Ja - Yes, Nien - No, Bitte - Please, Danke - Thank you, Machen - Do, Benutzen - Use

How to say Yes and No in German?

Ja in German means Yes. Nien means No.

How to say Love in German?


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