1 of 4

noun (1)

Ger·​man ˈjər-mən How to pronounce German (audio)
: a native or inhabitant of Germany
: a person of German descent
: one whose native language is German and who is a native of a country other than Germany
: the Germanic language spoken mainly in Germany, Austria, and parts of Switzerland
: the literary and official language of Germany
: a member of any of the Germanic peoples inhabiting western Europe in Roman times
often not capitalized
: a dance consisting of intricate figures that are improvised and intermingled with waltzes
chiefly Midland US : a dancing party
specifically : one at which the german is danced


2 of 4

adjective (1)

: of, relating to, or characteristic of Germany, the Germans, or German


3 of 4

adjective (2)

ger·​man ˈjər-mən How to pronounce german (audio)
: having the same parents or the same grandparents on either the maternal or paternal side
usually used after the noun which it modifies and joined to it by a hyphen


4 of 4

noun (2)

: a near relative

Examples of German in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Until a place in a language course becomes available and her German improves, the little communication that does take place is via translation apps. Kate Brady, Washington Post, 13 July 2024 See the Treue Der Union Monument A 20-foot limestone obelisk honors about three dozen mostly German Union sympathizers who were killed on August 10, 1862, by Confederate soldiers. Pam Leblanc, Southern Living, 13 July 2024 Throughout, owner/brewer Brent Hernandez has wisely brought in all manner of eats from German to Swedish to Sri Lankan, hosting trucks and pop-ups, simultaneously cultivating the Orlando food scene while ensuring his customers stayed for another round. Amy Drew Thompson, Orlando Sentinel, 11 July 2024 Following the match, Zverev and Fritz had a long exchange at the net where the German made his feelings clear about some of the members in Fritz’s box. Thomas Schlachter, CNN, 9 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for German 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'German.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Medieval Latin Germanus, from Latin

Adjective (2)

Middle English germain, from Anglo-French, from Latin germanus having the same parents, from germen

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Adjective (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of German was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near German

Cite this Entry

“German.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a person born or living in Germany
: the Germanic language of Germany, Austria, and parts of Switzerland
German adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!