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First attested in the 11th century. From Middle High German heimuote, heimüete, from Old High German heimōti, heimuoti , derived from Proto-West Germanic *haimōdi, from a derivative of Proto-Germanic *haimaz (home) + the suffix *-ōt(i)-, expressing a state or condition. More at the Wikipedia article on Heimat.

Cognate to Middle Dutch heimode (homeland, region of birth or upbringing), from Old Dutch hemitha. Compare also Einöde, Armut, Kleinod, Zierat, and English thicket.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhaɪ̯ma(ː)t/
  • (file)
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  • Hyphenation: Hei‧mat


Heimat f (genitive Heimat, plural Heimaten)

  1. (of a person) home, home town, homeland, native land
    Ich habe meine Heimat Türkei vor zwei Jahren verlassen.
    I left my native Turkey two years ago.
    • 1918, Elisabeth von Heyking, Die Orgelpfeifen, in: Zwei Erzählungen, Phillipp Reclam jun. Verlag, page 13–14:
      Ländlich bodenständige Kinder waren die drei und wurzelten mit allen Herzensfasern in dem Stückchen Erde, das sie Heimat nannten.
      The three of them were rural down-home children and were rooted with all fibres of the heart in the little piece of soil that they called home.
    • 1933, Johann Esser and Wolfgang Langhoff (lyrics), Rudi Goguel (music), “Die Moorsoldaten [Peat Bog Soldiers]”, performed by leftist political prisoners in Nazi concentration camps:
      Doch für uns gibt es kein Klagen, / ewig kann nicht Winter sein, / einmal werden wir froh sagen: / Heimat du bist wieder mein.
      But we are not to complain, / winter cannot last forever, / one day we will say with joy: / homeland, you are mine once more.
  2. (figuratively, of things) home; homeland; place where something originated or where it is deep-rooted
    Synonyms: Ursprungsland, Heimatland
    Bayern ist die Heimat von Brezeln und Weißbier.
    Bavaria is the homeland of pretzels and wheat beer.

Usage notes[edit]

Heimat is often considered a particularly German concept, because it does not have perfect semantic equivalents in many European languages (including English). Heimat refers to a place towards which one has a strong feeling of belonging, and (usually) a deep-rooted fondness. Most commonly this is one's native region, but it may also be that where one has lived for long, where one's family are, or where one feels at home for whatever reason.

Heimat may be the whole of one's native country, but more often it is a relatively narrow region (typically with its particular traditions, landscape, dialect, and so on). Even if it refers to a country, it is always defined exclusively by a person's emotional ties with it, and is therefore quite different from the French patrie.


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