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From Old High German ahsala, ahsla, from Proto-Germanic *ahslō, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂eḱs- (axis). Cognate with Old Norse ǫxl (shoulder) and ǫxull (axle) (whence Danish aksel, Icelandic öxl), English axle. Also cognate with Latin āxilla (shoulder joint), Sanskrit अक्ष (ákṣa, axle).


  • IPA(key): /ˈaksəl/
  • (file)


Achsel f (genitive Achsel, plural Achseln, diminutive Ächselchen n or Achselchen n)

  1. armpit, axilla (cavity under the shoulder)
    Er rasiert sich die Achseln.
    He shaves his armpits.
    Er hat Haarstoppeln in den Achseln.
    He has stubbles of hair in his armpits.
  2. shoulder; shoulder joint (see usage notes below)
    Er zuckte mit den Achseln.
    He shrugged his shoulders.
    Er hat Haarstoppeln unter den Achseln.
    He has stubbles of hair under his arms.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The diminutive forms are both very rare and hardly attestable.
  • The normal term for “shoulder” is Schulter. The word Achsel is overall less common in this sense; it usually specifies the outer parts of the shoulders, i.e. what is around the shoulder joint.



Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]