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!

Which words can be found in a children’s dictionary?

So many words –  but which ones are most relevant to children? Animals, plants, clothes, fruits, vegetables, musical instruments, or body parts…. you name it. One thing is clear: you will find “apple” in a kids dictionary, but not “stinky fruit”. Why is that?


Because some words are more often used and hence more relevant than others. Which words are more relevant than others is however not always that clear. It depends on a lot of factors Aloha enterprise support phone number , like the passing of time, the creation of new words puttygen download , words that come out of blogs, or the internet and the media. So the flood of new words trying to enter the dictionary is never ending, sometimes eroding the value of traditional established ones. Some old words survive, but often enough their connotation changes over time. For example, since the appearance of the internet we “surf” the web, and not necessarily a surfboard on the ocean.


Rule of thumb

In regards to the composition of a children’s dictionary, there is a rule of thumb: the core of each language consists of approximately 1500 words. These words are so common in daily usage that we often forget to notice them, for example “Mama, Papa, up, down”. As this language core stands firmly its ground, there’s not much place to add other extravagant words. But who actually decides how and which words are going to be added or not?


Children’s dictionary’s reflect the passage of each time époque. Earlier, decisions regarding the word entries were largely based on the subjective opinion of the lexicographer. Today, each language has an own pool of words which appear most frequently in daily use. With the use of logarithms one can now determine which words are relevant, and which are not. Hereby one does not take into consideration only fictional and educational literature, but also the language of the kids themselves. And that’s exactly why children’s dictionaries reflect so well the speaking habits of each time period. Comparing these wonderful different dictionaries gives us an amazing insight into the evolution of language, and hence the evolution of our thoughts, habits, and lifestyles.