High German

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Alternative forms[edit]


Calque of German Hochdeutsch.


High German (countable and uncountable, plural High Germans)

  1. A native or inhabitant of the southern highlands of Germany; a High German speaker. [from 16th c.]
  2. Any of a group of West Germanic languages or dialects spoken in the southern highlands of Germany; especially, the standard variety of German as spoken and written throughout the German language area. [from 17th c.]
    • 1989, Alfred Wyler, Dialect and High German in German-speaking Switzerland, p. 15:
      There is a widespread reluctance to speak High German in German-speaking Switzerland, and many Swiss prefer to speak even bad French or English to people who do not speak Swiss dialect.
    • 2010, Dankwart Koehler, In Different Worlds: From POW to PhD, page 49:
      We, the students, also were supposed to speak High German, but, like our teachers, we did so with a fairly strong Swabian accent.
    • 2016, Nicole Egger, Hoi: Your New Swiss German Survival Guide, page 15:
      Many foreigners who learn to speak High German complain that Swiss people only reluctantly reply in High German. Apparently Swiss people generally don't like to speak High German. Why is that so? For the Swiss, High German is a foreign language.

Usage notes[edit]

The use of High German to refer exclusively to Standard High German is sometimes avoided in scholarly discourse but may be found otherwise (after German Hochdeutsch).




Related terms[edit]



See also[edit]


High German (not comparable)

  1. From or pertaining to the southern region of Germany; speaking High German. [from 17th c.]
    • 1751, Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, vol. II, ch. 77:
      I used to harrangue the mob, in broken English, under pretence of being an High German doctor.
  2. Written or spoken in High German; pertaining to High German. [from 17th c.]