14 Long German Words with The Longest German Word Explained + Useful Abbreviations

If you learn German, you’ll inevitably run into long German words. But why does that happen?

Well, long words in German are primarily due to a linguistic feature called compound words. This is a grammar aspect of the language that differentiates German from some other languages.

Now, you might have a tendency to forget German words, and it won’t get easier with these long German words. So, Spring German (a project I co-founded) made a great video about how you can learn any German word, phrase or expression:

And in this blog post, we’ll list even the longest German word + explain it to you! An amazing, even more useful feature of this blog post will be to know the abbreviations in German for these expressions.

1. Why does the German language have long words?

German allows the creation of compound words by combining multiple words into a single, longer word.

Theoretically speaking, you can continue indefinitely, but in practice, most of these German compound words consist of two to four components.

To simply explain this German grammar topic, let’s explore it through an example:

Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän

This word is translated into English like this: Danube steamship company captain. And it is a compound of several words:

  • Donau (Danube)
  • Dampf (steam)
  • Schiff (ship)
  • Fahrt (journey)
  • Gesellschaft (company)
  • Kapitän (captain)

Isn’t it fascinating?

And now, let’s explore the longest German words!

2. 14 longest German words and their explanations

Here they are: the longest German words and their meanings in an all-in-one table!

German WordMeaning
DonaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaftAssociation for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services
RinderkennzeichnungsfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetzLaw for the transfer of monitoring duties for the labeling of beef with information about cattle identification
GrundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnungRegulation on the transfer of responsibilities for land transfer approvals
VerkehrsinfrastrukturfinanzierungsgesellschaftTraffic infrastructure financing company
ReiseschutzimpfungserneuerungserinnerungTravel vaccination renewal reminder
TelekommunikationsüberwachungsverordnungTelecommunications surveillance regulation
BezirksschornsteinfegermeisterverbandDistrict chimney sweep master association
KraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherungMotor vehicle liability insurance
SozialversicherungsfachangestellterSocial insurance specialist
VersicherungsvertragsgesetzgebungInsurance contract legislation
ArbeiterunfallversicherungsgesetzWorkers’ accident insurance law
BundesausbildungsförderungsgesetzFederal law for the promotion of education
NahrungsmittelunverträglichkeitFood intolerance
LebensabschnittpartnerschaftLife-phase partnership

Read on to learn more about their usage and possible abbreviations in German.

1. Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft

Letters: 80

Meaning: Association for subordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services

This word is more of a linguistic curiosity than a practical term. You might use it to win bets at parties or to scare off people who ask you to “say something in German”!

Abbreviation: Given its impractical nature, there’s no real abbreviation. Some might jokingly call it “The Danube Word” or “Das lange Donau-Ding” (the long Danube thing).

2. Rinderkennzeichnungsfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

Letters: 79

Meaning: Law for the transfer of monitoring duties for the labeling of beef with information about cattle identification

This would come up in very specific legal contexts related to food safety and agriculture. It’s the kind of word that makes even native German speakers do a double-take!

Abbreviation: While there’s no official abbreviation, some might humorously refer to it as “Das Rinderwahnsinnswort” (The mad cow word) due to its crazy length.

3. Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung

Letters: 67

Meaning: Regulation on the transfer of responsibilities for land transfer approvals This would pop up in property law or local government documents. If you’re a real estate agent in Brandenburg, you might have nightmares about this word!

Abbreviation: Bureaucrats with a sense of humor might call it “GruVerGenZuÜV” – try saying that five times fast!

4. Verkehrsinfrastrukturfinanzierungsgesellschaft

Letters: 44

Meaning: Traffic infrastructure financing company

You’d encounter this in government discussions about transportation projects. It’s the kind of word that makes city planners’ eyes light up and taxpayers’ wallets shrink!

Abbreviation: Thankfully, this monster is often abbreviated to “VIFG” in official documents. Much easier to say, especially when you’re stuck in traffic!

long german words

5. Reiseschutzimpfungserneuerungserinnerung

Letters: 42

Meaning: Travel vaccination renewal reminder

You might see this on a notice from your doctor. It’s the word that makes you realize you’ve been putting off that booster shot for too long!

Abbreviation: There’s no standard abbreviation, but your doctor might mercifully shorten it to “Impferinnerung” in your appointment reminder.

6. Telekommunikationsüberwachungsverordnung

Letters: 39

Meaning: Telecommunications surveillance regulation

This would come up in legal or political discussions about privacy and surveillance. It’s the kind of word that makes conspiracy theorists’ ears perk up!

Abbreviation: In official documents, you might see it shortened to “TKÜ-Verordnung” – still a mouthful, but slightly less intimidating.

7. Bezirksschornsteinfegermeisterverband

Letters: 37

Meaning: District chimney sweep master association

This would come up in discussions about trade unions or in very specific local government contexts. It’s the kind of word that makes you appreciate how specific German can be!

Abbreviation: Sometimes shortened to “Schornsteinfegerverband“, because even Germans have their limits.

8. Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung

Letters: 36

Meaning: Motor vehicle liability insurance

You’ll encounter this when you’re getting your car insured. It’s the kind of word that makes new German learners want to cry.

Abbreviation: Thankfully, this one’s often shortened to “Kfz-Versicherung” – much easier on the tongue!

9. Sozialversicherungsfachangestellter

Letters: 36

Meaning: Social insurance specialist

You’d hear this in job listings or at the social security office. It’s the kind of job title that makes you pause mid-introduction at parties!

Abbreviation: Mercifully, this is often shortened to “SoFa” in professional contexts. Yes, it means “sofa” in German too – cue the office jokes!

10. Versicherungsvertragsgesetzgebung

Letters: 35

Meaning: Insurance contract legislation

You’d run into this long German word in legal documents or insurance policy discussions. It’s the kind of word that makes law students question their life choices.

Abbreviation: In legal circles, you might hear it referred to as “VVG” – much easier to say after a long day of poring over contracts!

11. Arbeiterunfallversicherungsgesetz

Letters: 34

Meaning: Workers’ accident insurance law

This comes up in discussions about labor rights and workplace safety. It’s the kind of word that union representatives love to throw around in heated debates!

Abbreviation: Often shortened to “AUG” in legal documents, which ironically means “eye” in German – keeping an eye on worker safety, perhaps?

12. Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz

Letters: 33

Meaning: Federal law for the promotion of education

Students and educators throw this word around when discussing financial aid. It’s the law that gives hope (and headaches…) to countless German students!

Abbreviation: Commonly known as “BAföG” – pronounced “BA-fög“. It’s probably one of the most beloved abbreviations among German students!

13. Nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit

Letters: 31

Meaning: Food intolerance

You might hear this at the doctor’s office or see it on food labels. It’s a mouthful, ironically for something that describes difficulty with food!

Abbreviation: There’s no common abbreviation, but people might just say “Unverträglichkeit” (intolerance) if the context is clear.

14. Lebensabschnittpartnerschaft

Letters: 29

Meaning: Life-phase partnership

This pops up in modern discussions about relationships. It’s for when “it’s complicated” doesn’t quite cut it on your Facebook status.

Abbreviation: No common abbreviation, but some might cheekily call it “LAP” – just don’t confuse it with a quick nap!

3. Learn long German words with Conversation Based Chunking

Now, all of this might seem daunting. But don’t worry, you’ll get used to it if you learn German. Especially, if you learn German with Conversation Based Chunking.

It’s a method that focuses on lexical chunks – the natural building blocks of the language. Use this method, and you won’t need to learn boring grammar rules and long vocabulary lists anymore: click the button below, and sign up to our email list!

In this package, you’ll get a FREE German Chunking Kit with essential chunking lists, access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library, and my favorite resources to learn German.

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