Appendix talk:List of German cognates with English

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Correctness of introductory text[edit]

"There are many thousands of German words that are cognate to English words, in fact a sizeable fraction of native German and English vocabulary, although for various reasons much of it is not immediately obvious. Yet many of them are easy to correlate, since the German words follow the rules of High German consonant shift, which is a German phenomenon and makes English stay closer to the protogermanic language, from which both, English and German, derive. These rules are:"

Can this be correct? True, in many cases English has preserved an earlier Low-German form (not proto-Germanic). But in a number of instances German has remained more conservative. E.g. germ. kinn has preserved an older form, while English palatalised to chin. Also, Old English did not derive from a proto-germanic language, but from Old Low German. It is commonly forgotten that until today there are two languages on German soil: High German in the south, and more conservative Low German which survives only in dialects and never became the standard language except n the Netherlands, in Luxemburg and in Flemish Belgium. ontologixOntologix (talk) 03:05, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Unintended deletions?[edit]

Please see what I commented under chapter "Cognates". (I am NOT user Leasnam, I commented anonymously) I have now taken a look at changes (removals) since June 2015: See this link that will show them: Somebody has removed a lot of legitimate entries. Just look at what has been removed (on the right side), and then search for those words on the current version of appendix (in particular look for words that looked legitimate yet have been removed). For example, apart from Fracht (see chapter "Cognates?" in this discussion), here are other words that have been removed and that were legitimate: Boot boat; Brut, brüten brood (brüten (verb) has been lost; not that dramatic); bringen/brachte bring/brought (dramatic!). Perhaps s.b. wants to go through all removals and check if they should be added again. 23:58, 22 October 2017 (UTC)

Potential further cognates to be added[edit]

In this section, users can suggest further cognates that should be considered. Please provide references if you have them. On general, cf. DWDS and Etymonline.

1. Potential further cognates:

Affe (m) - ape; entfesselt - unfettered; Bütte - butt (tub); -schaft - -ship; Fass - vat; fingieren - to feign; anstatt (also statt, stattdessen) - instead of; yesterday - gestern; Angst - angst; unwitting - unabsichtlich (unintended), unwissentlich (unknowing); Meister (m) - master; warrant - gewähren; gloat - glotzen; foist - Faust (in addition to "fist"; foist=aufdrängen, unterschieben); einlullen (to lull to sleep; to lull sb into a false sense of security (übersetzung/deutsch-englisch/einlullen))- to lull; Nudel - noodle; abhängen von etw. - hinge on sth. (cf. to hang)

2. These are NOT (!) cognates (please add more false cognates here):

scheuern - to scour (NOT cognates, ref.;

Perhaps these above-mentioned "false cognates" ( could also be listed somewhere. -- 21:23, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Please also check these entries:

1. guide/wissen/weisen (e.g. den Weg weisen):ītanąą
see also etymonline and dwds for these 3 verbs.
2. wägen vs. wiegen (to weigh)
"wägen" is an old form of "wiegen". See also "abwägen".

German vs. English[edit]

I would like to suggest that people editing this page reference and consult and , rather than, when adding or checking German cognates and their etymology. does not provide good etymology, and even is often not as helpful as dwds. Likewise, might often prove to be a superior source when compared to, in some cases. 20:40, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

I thought cognate of German "Sieg" is Middle English Sige/Sye (still found in lastnames like Syred etc) NOT "siege'[edit]

Maybe add alongside a list of the Middle English and Old English and Scandinavian(?) cognates otherwise folk might miss nearer cognates. Komprenday?


German putzen is not cognate with English put. A cognate of put would look more like a German *pfutzen, *pfützen. Beat is a true cognate Leasnam (talk) 21:41, 16 December 2015 (UTC)


Is it just me, but there are quite a few "cognates" in this list that are not cognates at all (e.g. Fracht & freight); some are not even related (like Ärger and anger) ? Leasnam (talk) 00:24, 18 December 2015 (UTC)

I don't know which words Leasnam has removed and I am not going to look them up. But what I do know is that etymonline refers to vracht for freight, and DWDS revrs to vracht as well. So does wiktionary itself. So why on earth was this entry removed without giving a clear explanation? Which other words have been removed by this user with not references? Ärger and Anger however are indeed unrelated. Anger ist related to German Angst (fear, angst) (cf. Etymonline). 23:27, 22 October 2017 (UTC) Additional remarks: I have now checked the revision history. It seems (unless I missed that user Leasnam has not made any changes, however it is a fact that Fracht is missing from the list, and it must have been their at some point obviously. Perhaps s.b. can find out who removed it and also check for other stuff that that person has removed.

List organization[edit]

… is frankly terrible; words are mostly listed according to medial correspondences, but a few sections collect words with a particular initial correspondence (*hw-) or final correspondence (Boden ~ bottom). I can think of a few ways to fix this:

  1. List everything by initials only; give medials as a table of correspondences, with examples mentioned, so that they can be sought out in the list.
    • Easy to navigate, due to the possibility of alphabetizing everything. Listing all medial correspondences, however, may prove difficult.
  2. List everything by medials only; give initials as a table of correspondences.
    • Difficult to navigate.
  3. Create a sortable megatable with separate initial-correspondence and medial-correspondence columns.
    • Possibly difficult to navigate; will not allow sectioning with comments in-between.
  4. Duplicate all information as one list of initial correspondences, another list of medial correspondences.
    • Will be difficult to maintain.

--Tropylium (talk) 11:44, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

  • The original aim of the list structure was to exhibit a digestible set of correspondence rules that a person could remember and provide a number of examples. This would allow a person to recognize cognates when they cropped up. This of course leads to the kinds of problems you've noted. A simple list of cognates can be overwhelming and not provide any structure that a reader can latch onto. 2601:1C2:1600:8870:1DCD:822A:BE87:47E9 00:08, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
    • Ideally, the list should be comprehensive (i.e. include all English and German cognates derived from all known Proto-Germanic etymons (roots), and each pair of cognates could be tagged for all its correspondences (b/f etc.) with the ability to sort/filter the list by specific correspondence (if any), and by common PG etymon. Sometimes, there are multiple cognates for a word, or there are multiple words that have the same cognate(s). It would be best to do a new row for each cognate, but cognates that belong to the same word family should of course remain in the same row. Multiple sort/filter criteria should be given. Sort criteria should include:
      • (A) sort alphabetically by common PG etymon
      • (B) sort alphabetically by German cognate
      • (C) sort alphabetically by English cognate
      • (D) FILTER alphabetically by type(s) of correspondence (*∅, and/or *b, ..., ALL)
      • A/B/C will allow grouping of pairs that share a common cognate (sic), as these cognates have been entered in separate rows as described above in order to allow for filtering by correspondence. -- 17:14, 2 May 2018 (UTC)


It might be useful to link the German and English words being compared; this would however be plenty of work. --Tropylium (talk) 11:47, 10 August 2016 (UTC)


The entry Enkel/ankle is probably incorrect. "Enkel" (1) has only one meaning in modern German: grandson. "Enkel" (2) seems to have been an old German word for "ankle". The two do not seem to be related, cf. and , even though one might want to think that an ankle is the second joint, coming from your hips. But this does not seem to be the case. Hence listing "Enkel/grandson" and ankle as cognates is probably incorrect. Since "Enkel (2)" does not exist in modern German, I am going to delete the line. For reference, here is the deleted line:

Paragraph: Cognates that are essentially unchanged -- Enkel -- grandchild (male)-- ankle -- *ankalaz 13:37, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

German meaning of English cognate[edit]

I would like to suggest a column for the German meaning of the English cognate, to be filled out if Meaning of German cognate and English cognate are not identical, including one English translation per word:

Stadt (f) -- city -- stead -- Stelle (f) (place), Statt (f) (stead rare) -- *stadiz

-- 14:58, 15 January 2018 (UTC)


I would like to propose that the genus be mentioned for every German word: E.g. Stadt (f)

-- 15:01, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

DWDS and Etymonline direct links[edit]

Etymonline and DWDS provide excellent information that in 95% of cases will help to establish the links between cognates. The information provided there is absolute excellent and essential. I therefore would like to suggest that Etymonline and DWDS entries be linked to for every entry (every line). This can perhaps be done automatically with a script. The URLs are:

e.g. for kind:

This is very reliable and does not need to be checked for every word.

-- 15:16, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

References, quality check[edit]

I can't see how how "to lease" and "lesen" are supposed to be connected:

I would like to suggest that for EVERY line, references should be given, and these references MUST include DWDS and Etymonline, unless these don't have that word (which is unlikely). These references must be added manually for every word, not automatically. The entries on Etymonline and DWDS need to be READ, not just linked -- it would be a good idea to start with supposed cognates on here that look "fishy". Once checked, the check should be visible by adding multiple references. The mere fact that the PIE root is linked does NOT suffice. Often, clicking on that root will be of no help to proof the supposed connection.

Is it somehow possible to REQUIRE that any changes or additions made to this documents henceforth require references (if they pertain to word entries in the lists)?

-- 15:34, 15 January 2018 (UTC)

  • "lease" in this case is an uncommon or archaic English word meaning "to gather", it is not the same root as a "lease" like you take out on an apartment. There are other similarly archaic entries in the list including linking "wehren" to "wear". In this case "wear" is an uncommon or archaic English word for "defend" and not of the same root as "wear" as in wearing clothes. This sort of thing should probably be noted but the etymology appears to be sound in both cases, but I was too lazy to bother with that sort of thing. 2601:1C2:1600:8870:E1BB:8FDC:7E44:FA35 21:54, 21 January 2018 (UTC)
Thank you, I forgot to check Wiktionary itself; I could not find it on or in any German-English online dictionary. Indeed it would be helpful if it were mentioned for each rare/very uncommon word that it is not commonly used / not modern language. I also found it not helpful that in the Wiktionary article for "lease", the common meaning was last position... -- 21:51, 1 February 2018 (UTC)

Additional column to explain non-obvious cognates[edit]

I would suggest a column that explains non-obvious reference. I would also suggest that each entry (i.e. pair of cognates) may have more than one line within their table line, so there is more space for explanations and information. E.g. Bahn-bane is non-obvious and needs the explanation given at which I have referenced, but only as a REF, not as an actual explanation within this Wiktionary page. Also e.g. timber/Zimmer needs the explanation "orginally a room made out of timber"

How to retrieve additional German cognates with English for this list[edit] yields 4,538 entries (i.e., by entering the word "german" into the search box there. This is a "hack" to get hold of these entries). I took a couple of samples and came to the conclusion that about 35 to 40% of results contain cognates that qualify for this appendix (not too rare/specialized), minus about 1/4 redundancies / composition, so I'd guess about 25 to 30% will translate into actual candidates. Given that as of January 2018 there are approx 800 pairs of cognates in this appendix, this means that an additional 400 pairs of cognates (4500*[25%to30%]=ca. 1200; 1200 minus the already existing 800 = 400 to be added) can easily be gathered from Etymonline. Note that the author of Etymonline did not pay attention to capitalization of German nouns, and that apparently he is NOT fluent in German; I found some rare and minor mistakes, but none that directly affected the retrieval of cognates/the correctness of information on words being cognates: These errors were mostly a few irrelevant spelling errors in the German words (but never for English words). Also I noted that difficult cognates such as fawn/fegen are missing on Etymonline (compare dwds AND etymonline). This means that there must be more than approx. 1,200 German-English cognates in total (of the type listed in this appendix, i.e. non-Latin etc.). Note that 98% of cognates in this appendix are also present on Etymonline, which speaks of its comprehensiveness.

Note that lake/Lache/Lake have unexpected etymologies which should be mentioned:

See here: (puddle (e.g. of blood)) (also: , e.g. Salzlake)

So here are some intructions how one might want to go about to improve this appendix:

1. All listed cognates should be checked for correctness. My suggestion would be that checking MUST include reading the full articles on DWDS, Etymonline, EN.Wiktionary and DE.Wiktionary, and the PIE-entries. Afterwards, one could place IMMEDIATELY below the entry, in the source text, this:

<!-- The ABOVE pair of cognates has been checked for correctness at five sources:,,, (for English cognated), and (for German cognate). References have been added. -->

2. When adding new entries, the same procedure should be undertaken.

Regarding 1 and 2: Alternatively, the guidelines mentioned in the comment (*) could be placed at the top of the Discussion page AND at the top of the actual Appendix page, and only referred to in each comment:

e.g.: <!-- The ABOVE pair of cognates has been checked according to the guidelines described at the top of this appendix. --> (*)

3. In order to retrieve new cognates in an orderly fashion, one should work alphabetically though Etymonline. Unfortunately, the 4,500 results to not appear in alphabetical order. However the 450 pages that show the 4,500 results always appear in the same order. As long as this does not change, this allows for systematic retrieval despite the lack of alphabetical order. Users could e.g. note down on this discussion page: "Doing a search for, all entries from page 1 (first entry: "German (adj.)") to page 7 (last entry: "homeopath (n.)") have been checked for relevancy and added accordingly."

  • The entries in the present article were base on the corresponding entries in Wiktionary. Some of the missing information reflects missing information in the Wiktionary articles. Any programmatic attempt to flesh out this article should also include a review of the relevant Wiktionary articles. 2601:1C2:1600:8870:E1BB:8FDC:7E44:FA35 22:16, 21 January 2018 (UTC)

Proto-Indo-European resource[edit]

The Origins of Proto-Indo-European: The Caucasian Substrate Hypothesis (revised October 2017)

I have saved this public list of PIE roots here:

This would be likely more useful somewhere else, such as the talk page for WT:AINE. --Tropylium (talk) 10:53, 2 February 2018 (UTC)

PIE roots[edit]

I think it would be helpful if an additional column were added that would link to the PIE root also.

Archive of dialectal or outdated cognates that are not suited for this list[edit]

  • | Bär (dialectal, rare; Modern German "Eber" (boar) is unrelated) || boar || boar || *bairaz
Reason for removal: At least (!) 90% of German will not recognize this word in the sense of "male boar"; it is not in the Duden. I have never heard of this word for "male boar" (German native speaker). Cf. : "Bär" seems to be dialectal in Bavaria and Austria. The word "Saubär" (="sow-boar" = boar) is somewhat wider known, however few know that it means "Eber" (male boar). Most Germans will probably falsely think it means "sow-bear / pig-bear". Cf.är ; Saubär too is neither in the Duden nor in DWDS, but I have heard of the word before; it is an insult (with low to medium insulting power), as the Wikipedia article details. Intensified insults on the same basis are "Drecksau" und "Wildsau", which mean "dirt - pig" and "wild pig" = "female wild boar", respectively. Both of these are obviously based on "sow / Sau" (pig, sow), not "Bär" (male boar). Note that "Saubär" and "Bär" in the sense of "male boar" are synonyms, but only "Saubär" is also an insult. "Saubär" (male boar) and "Bär" (male boar) are always male animals despite the "Sau" prefix. I would wager that the "Sau" prefix was added to distinguish "Bär" (male boar) from "Bär" (bear). Most Germans probably that "Saubär" has been formed in analogy to e.g. "Schweinehund". One can frequently see the phrase "Sauber oder Saubär?" (e.g. at public indoor swimming pools), which is a play on words and is understood by most as "Are you clean or are you a dirty bear (sic)" because the "Sau"-prefix ist typically used to denote something dirty or untidy, e.g. "Sauladen", "Saustall", "Sauerei", "versaut". Often a bear (sic) that takes a shower may be depicted. Here it becomes obvious how the etymological sense (boar) has been completely lost and it has taken on a new meaning. "Saubär" in this context is meant humorously and not as an insult. The frequent usage of "Saubär" in a context of hygiene (i.e. a humorous reference to a dirty bear who is supposed to clean himself, or even a particularly clean bear because of the notion "Sau-Ber") can be proven by doing a Google Image search for _saubär sauber_. references Saubär in the third paragraph (German).


Someone has put the ending-n of many words in brackets. I have no idea how this should be of any use. E.g. "Schatten" is shadow. Period. There is no "Schatte" or "Schatte-...". Schatten is singular AND plural. Same goes for many other words. (By contrast, e.g. the singular of "rat" is "Ratte" but the plural is "Ratten". But this is list is not about plurals. There are some cases where the end-n is omitted in compounds: "Ostern" (Easter), but "Ostersonntag". In those cases the (n) could be left in brackets, but even in those cases would be better to write "Ostern; Oster-". There is no such word as "Oster" except as a prefix: e.g. Osterei (easter egg).

Certain elements of words have been placed in parentheses to indicate that they are elements added to a base stem at some point in history. German appears to have added an -n to the ends of a number of words that are not reconstructed to have such an -n in Proto-Germanic and do not have such an -n in English. Similarly German has added a prefix of Ge- to a number of nouns to indicate a collection (e.g. Gesang which comes from Sang). Generally parentheses are here used to separate additional elements from the stem.
Thanks for the explanations and sorry for erroneously removing some of the brackets, though I am not quite sure why exactly Nacken becomes Nacke(n) and not Nack(en) cf. DWDS / Althochdeutsch. Also I can see no evidence for Weste(n), it should be Westen IMO. Just changing all -en-endings into "e(n)" might not do etymology justice, but I am not a linguist. I also find it a bit troublesome that the list no longer is easily searcheable as a result of this (one cannot do CTRL-F and enter "Schatten"). Perhaps highlighting or italics would be more suitable? Oder underlining? -- Also here is a suggestion for things that could be mentioned to help learners and laypeople better understand the list - please feel free to improve my language as I am not an English native speaker, obviously (I am a German native speaker):-- 00:41, 22 November 2018 (UTC)
-->"Note that the German word endings in -en or -e can indicate a plural, as in "die Heizung (sing.), die Heizungen (pl.); die Ratte (sing.), die Ratten (pl.); der Hund (sing.), die Hunde (pl.)", but in other cases these endings can also be additions to stems, as in "die Ratte (sing.)", "der Schatten (sing.)". -- 00:41, 22 November 2018 (UTC)
-->"Also note that in Standard German, the prefix "ge" usually cannot be omitted in the past participle forms of verbs that have no other prefix (machen - hat gemacht (not: hat macht); but: gelingen - gelungen; belagern - belagert), and in many cases the same applies to nouns too (das Gebot (not: das Bot); in other cases it might exist, but there will be a change of meaning (and often a change of gender): das Geschrei (the yelling); der Schrei (the cry (one single cry)); die Menge (amount); das Gemenge (mixture/conglomerate)." "-- 00:40, 22 November 2018 (UTC)


Thursday is derived from the Scandinavian God Thor which is the same as Donar in German. -- 23:36, 13 November 2018 (UTC)

Oster(n) (Easter)[edit]

FYI, Oster(n) (Easter) is a special case. It is nicely explained in post #3 here: -- 00:52, 22 November 2018 (UTC)