5009 New words, including “fake news” and “selfie” entered the German Duden dictionary

“Luegenpresse”, “Selfiestick”, and “Flüchtlingskrise” are just a few of the over 5000 new words that recently entered the Duden German dictionary. Often these new words become part of daily talk through political events and social agendas, and are frequently of English-speaking origin.

The new Duden edition, by the way, has 145.000 word entries. How many did the original edition from 1880 have..? Only 27.000.


Here’s an excerpt of some of the newly added words in the German Duden:

Brexit, Drohnenangriff, Fake News, Flexitarier, Flüchtlingskrise, Hasskriminalität, Jobaussicht, Kopftuchstreit, Lügenpresse, postfaktisch, Schmähgedicht, Volksverräter, Willkommenskultur, Wutbürgerin, Cyberkrieg, Datenbrille, Emoji, entfreunden, facebooken, Filterblase, liken, pixelig, Selfie, Selfiestick, Tablet, Work-Life-Balance, Urban Gardening, Roadtrip, Hygge, Jumpsuit, verpeilen, rumeiern, abgezockt …


There’s also words that are a lot older than we think, for example:



You think this came up just recently in the 20th century? Obviously we all know today what a computer is. But who would say that the word itself originated already in the 17th century? It described a person who specialized in solving complex mathematical problems. A human computer so to say!



You mean the charming little creatures? The word describes indeed the “Hobbits” people, invented by J.R.R. Tolkien. But that does not prove the origin of the word. A “hobbit”/ or “hobbet” used to indicate a basket full of crop seeds, or a local unit of measurement. These word meanings appeared in 1863, so about a full century before the “Lord of the Rings”.



25 years ago the word “email” entered the business world. But is it really only this young..? No! The word appeared already back in 1594, and described a glass-hardened moulded cover, which was resistant to corrosion and temperature swings. It was written “email” or “emaille”. In Germany, any message indicating an email is designated with a hyphen to avoid misinterpretation.



We all know the legendary TV-show “X-Factor”. The show was produced towards the end of the 1990ies, which lead us to think that the word “x-factor” is relatively young. True or false..? Well, fact is that the word was not created by the TV-Show. Many years before the word x-factor used to designate an undefined Vigilix customer service , yet important element. The word first appeared in the NY Times in 1930!