110 Common Abbreviations in German You Can Use Anytime & Examples (Abkürzungen)

In the world we live in today, it’s sometimes inevitable to save some space here and there: whether we are talking about a social media post, a formal written German letter, or you’re just scribbling something with pen and paper, you need to shorten your text.

That’s where abbreviations in German come into the field. Benjamin – Der Deutschlehrer shares 15 of the most important German abbreviations, according to him:

But in this blog post, we’re taking a look at more than 100 abbreviations in German – and all of this with examples. Come join us!

1. What are abbreviations in German?

Effortless Answers

Abbreviations in German, just like in any other language, are shortened forms of words or phrases. Their purpose is to simplify communication, save space and give information more quickly.

German abbreviations appear in informal chats, sometimes even in business contracts, academic texts and everyday German conversations.

Let’s say you’re writing an SMS (if you still do that) or a social media post and you run into something like LG – this actually stands for (Liebe Grüße – best regards). In a more professional setting abbreviations like GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung) is used also – it’s something similar to an “LLC” in English.

Using these abbreviations won’t only help you save space and time but also make you sound and look like a native speaker. And now, time to explore them based on different categories.

2. The most common German abbreviations

In the next table, you’ll find the most common German abbreviations. It’s 100% sicher that you’ll encounter these shortened forms.

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
z.B.zum Beispielfor example
usw.und so weiteretc.
bzw.beziehungsweiseor rather
d.h.das heißtthat is
u.a.unter anderemamong other things
ggf.gegebenenfallsif applicable
s.o.siehe obensee above
s.u.siehe untensee below
b.A.bis auf weiteresuntil further notice
etc.et ceteraetc.
m.W.meines Wissensto my knowledge
d.J.dieses Jahresof this year
v.J.vorigen Jahresof last year
z.Hd.zu Händenattention of
ff.fortfolgendeand following

After listing them, let’s take a look at how they might look like in a written German form:

Anna: Guten Morgen, Hans! Hast du die Aufgabe für die Mathe-Klasse gemacht? (Anna: Good morning, Hans! Did you do the assignment for the math class?)
Hans: Ja, ich habe alles gemacht. Ich habe aber einige Fragen, wie man z.B. die Gleichung löst. (Hans: Yes, I did everything. But I have some questions, for example, how to solve the equation.)
Anna: Oh, das ist einfach. Du musst nur die Formel verwenden, die wir d.h. letzte Woche gelernt haben. (Anna: Oh, that’s easy. You just have to use the formula that is, we learned last week.)
Hans: Danke, Anna! Ich werde es nochmal versuchen. Und wie läuft’s bei dir mit der Biologie-Aufgabe? (Hans: Thanks, Anna! I’ll try it again. And how are you doing with the biology assignment?)

3. Learn German abbreviations for financial and economical terms

Maybe you’re already looking for a job in any of the German-speaking countries?! Learn these economical terms, so you won’t be surprised.

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
Eurothe currency of the Eurozone
MwSt.Mehrwertsteuervalue-added tax (VAT)
AGAktiengesellschaftpublic limited company
e.V.eingetragener Vereinregistered association
AGBAllgemeine Geschäftsbedingungenterms and conditions
BGBBürgerliches GesetzbuchCivil Code

4. Abbreviations and acronyms for scientific terms

Chasing a scientific career? It’s always good to be able to describe the things you need in your lab or office.

abbreviations in german for a scientific labor
German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
GPSGlobales PositionsbestimmungssystemGlobal Positioning System
ITInformationstechnologieinformation technology
PCPersonal Computer
DNADesoxyribonukleinsäuredeoxyribonucleic acid

5. Abbreviations and their meanings for medical terms

God forbid you get into a situation where you need to know the meaning of the ICU but still… better be safe!

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
AIDSAcquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
COVID-19Coronavirus Disease 2019
ICUIntensivstationintensive care unit

6. Public transportation abbreviated in German

Public transportation is still considered pretty good in Germany and in other European countries. Here’s a table containing some abbreviations for these vehicles and transportation methods.

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
ICEInterCity Express
DBDeutsche BahnGerman Railway
KFZKraftfahrzeugmotor vehicle
ÖPNVöffentlicher Personennahverkehrpublic transportation

Let’s see how this would work in a real-life scenario (you can find time-related abbreviations here, too):

Anna: Hi Hans, hast du gestern den neuen Fahrplan für den ÖPNV gesehen? (Anna: Hi Hans, did you see the new schedule for public transportation yesterday?)
Hans: Ja, ich habe es gelesen. Die nächste Busfahrt ist um 8:00 Uhr und dauert ca. 30 Min. (Hans: Yes, I read it. The next bus ride is at 8:00 AM and lasts approximately 30 minutes.)
Anna: Gut zu wissen! Übrigens, erinnerst du dich, dass unser Treffen am Do. um 14:00 Uhr ist? (Anna: Good to know! By the way, do you remember that our meeting is on Thursday at 2:00 PM?)

7. German educational abbreviations

School in Germany is a huge deal, and education is your best chance to progress in your life. No matter which part of the country you visit, you have to know these abbreviations if you want to talk about education in German.

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
Gym.Gymnasiuma type of secondary school

Legal terms in German are also part of our lives. Sometimes, it’s part of the not-so-happy events but still, good to know these too!

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
StGBStrafgesetzbuchCriminal Code
GbRGesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechtscivil-law partnership

9. German culture shortened

And a more happy topic: German culture and German entertainment. Don’t be surprised if you see international words here because a lot of these are borrowed from other languages – mainly English.

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
DVDDigital Versatile Disc
CDCompact Disc
WGWohngemeinschaftshared apartment
KrimiKriminalromancrime novel

10. Social media and internet slang

This is just a sneak peek of all the German slang you have to know. If you want to learn more, check out our dedicated article.

abbreviations in german for the world wide web

Or read our Lingopie review and try Lingopie – there, you’ll immerse yourself in the language what natives speakers use, and you’ll see for yourself how German is full of slang phrases and terms.

German AbbreviationFull Meaning
LOLLaughing Out Loud
OMGOh My God
IMHOIn My Humble Opinion
BTWBy The Way

11. German acronyms and abbreviations for government and institutions

On a more serious note, here are some important abbreviations you should learn about German and European governments, institutions and political parties.

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
UNOUnited Nations Organization
EUEuropäische UnionEuropean Union
SPDSozialdemokratische Partei DeutschlandsSocial Democratic Party of Germany
CDUChristlich Demokratische UnionChristian Democratic Union

Tell time in German with these shortened word forms!

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation

13. German text abbreviations

Writing a message?

Save space with the following examples in this table:

German AbbreviationFull MeaningEnglish Translation
HDLHab’ dich liebLove you.
LGLiebe GrüßeBest regards.
kAkeine Ahnungno idea.
gn8Gute NachtGood night.
bbbis baldsee you soon.

14. Famous German brands and products

You’re most certainly already familiar with these German brands and products. But did you know their full meaning?

Time to check out!

German AbbreviationFull Meaning
BMWBayerische Motoren Werke
ADACAllgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club
SAPSystems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing

How would this one sound like in a dialogue:

Anna: Hallo Hans, hast du schon das neue Auto von BMW gesehen? (Anna: Hi Hans, have you seen the new car from BMW yet?)
Hans: Ja, es sieht großartig aus! Ich habe auch gehört, dass VW ein neues Elektroauto im nächsten Jahr herausbringen wird. (Hans: Yes, it looks great! I also heard that VW will be releasing a new electric car next year.)
Anna: Das klingt spannend! Übrigens, hast du die neue App von SAP ausprobiert? (Anna: That sounds exciting! By the way, have you tried the new app from SAP?)

15. Practice German abbreviations in context with our Practice Worksheets

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate German abbreviations.

You just went through half of the exercise. If you’re curious about the rest, sign up now!

16. Learn more German with Conversation Based Chunking

If you want to truly look like and sound like a native German speaker, you shouldn’t only use these abbreviations but you should also look out for other important things.

Like lexical chunks.

What are they?

They are the most common parts of the language that native speakers use all the time without much grammar. Because native speakers don’t even really think about German grammar, right?! If you want a method that will teach you the language just like this, sign up now and get your first German Conversation Based Chunking Guide!

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