[jur-muh n]
  1. having the same father and mother, as a full brother or sister (usually used in combination): a brother-german.
  2. born of the brother or sister of one's father or mother, as a first cousin (usually used in combination): a cousin-german.
  3. Archaic. germane.

Origin of german

1250–1300; Middle English germain < Old French < Latin germānus, derivative of germen; see germ


[jur-muh n]
  1. of or relating to Germany, its inhabitants, or their language.
  1. a native or inhabitant of Germany.
  2. a descendant of a native of Germany.
  3. Also called High German. an Indo-European language that is based on a High German dialect, is official in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and is also widely used as an international language for scholarship and science. Abbreviation: G, G.
  4. Linguistics. any variety of West Germanic speech native to Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.
  5. (usually lowercase) an elaborate social dance resembling a cotillion.
  6. (lowercase) New England and South Atlantic States. a dancing party featuring the german.

Origin of German

1520–30; < Latin Germānus German; cognate with Greek Germanoí (plural)
Related formsan·ti-Ger·man, noun, adjectivehalf-Ger·man, adjectivenon-Ger·man, adjective, nounpre-Ger·man, adjective, nounpro-Ger·man, adjective, nounpseu·do-Ger·man, adjective, nounqua·si-Ger·man, adjectiveun-Ger·man, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for german

Contemporary Examples of german

Historical Examples of german

British Dictionary definitions for german


  1. US a dance consisting of complicated figures and changes of partners

Word Origin for german

C19: shortened from German cotillion


  1. (used in combination)
    1. having the same parents as oneselfa brother-german
    2. having a parent that is a brother or sister of either of one's own parentscousin-german
  2. a less common word for germane

Word Origin for german

C14: via Old French germain, from Latin germānus of the same race, from germen sprout, offshoot


  1. the official language of Germany and Austria and one of the official languages of Switzerland; the native language of approximately 100 million people. It is an Indo-European language belonging to the West Germanic branch, closely related to English and Dutch. There is considerable diversity of dialects; modern standard German is a development of Old High German, influenced by Martin Luther's translation of the BibleSee also High German, Low German
  2. a native, inhabitant, or citizen of Germany
  3. a person whose native language is GermanSwiss Germans; Volga Germans
  1. denoting, relating to, or using the German language
  2. relating to, denoting, or characteristic of any German state or its people
Related formsRelated prefixes: Germano-, Teuto-
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for german

"of the same parents or grandparents," c.1300, from Old French germain "closely related" (12c.), from Latin germanus "full, own (of brothers and sisters); one's own brother; genuine, real," related to germen (genitive germinis) "sprout, bud," dissimilated from PIE *gen(e)-men-, from root *gene- "to give birth, beget" (see genus). Your cousin-german (also first cousin) is the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt; your children and your first cousin's are second cousins to one another; to you, your first cousin's children are first cousin once removed.



"Teuton, member of the Germanic tribes," 1520s (plural Germayns attested from late 14c.), from Latin Germanus, first attested in writings of Julius Caesar, who used Germani to designate a group of tribes in northeastern Gaul, origin unknown, probably the name of an individual tribe. It is perhaps of Gaulish (Celtic) origin, perhaps originally meaning "noisy" (cf. Old Irish garim "to shout") or "neighbor" (cf. Old Irish gair "neighbor"). The earlier English word was Almain (early 14c.) or Dutch.

Þe empere passede from þe Grees to þe Frenschemen and to þe Germans, þat beeþ Almayns. [John of Trevisa, translation of Higdon's Polychronicon, 1387]

Their name for themselves was the root word of modern German Deutsch (see Dutch). Roman writers also used Teutoni as a German tribal name, and Latin writers after about 875 commonly refer to the German language as teutonicus. See also Alemanni and Teutonic. As an adjective, from 1550s. The German shepherd (dog) (1922) translates German deutscher Schäferhund. German Ocean as an old name for the North Sea translates Ptolemy. German measles attested by 1856.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper