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See also: kugel




Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle High German kugel, kugele, of uncertain origin, but probably related to Keule (club).[1]

(Can this(+) etymology be sourced?) Possibly from Proto-Germanic *kuggilaz (“knobbed instrument”), derivative of Proto-Germanic *kuggǭ (“cog, swelling”), from Proto-Indo-European *gewgʰ- (“swelling, bow”), from Proto-Indo-European *gew-, *gū- (“to bow, bend, arch, curve”), perhaps same source of Albanian gogël “acorn, small ball”.

Outside of loans from German (as in Danish kugle and Dutch kogel), it appears only in German, and only from the Middle High German period, as kugel, kugele, referring to a ball used in games (Spielkugel). Nevertheless, the word seems to be of genuinely Germanic origin. A Swiss dialect form has an additional r, in krugle, found already in Middle High German in the diminutive form krúgellin (Konrad of Würzburg, d. 1287). Middle German variants of the word in the original sense “ball used in skittles or Paille-maille” are kaule, kulle, while Low German had cognates of Klotz. The sense “bullet” is directly via comparison with the ball in skittles, already in use for lead or iron spheres used as projectiles (fired with slingshots or similar) before firearms became widespread.

Also compared are Kegel (pin or peg used in a game (such as skittles)), as well as English cudgel and cog, though these connections are far from certain.[2]


Kugel f (genitive Kugel, plural Kugeln, diminutive Kügelchen n or Kügellein n or Küglein n)

  1. ball [13th century]
  2. (firearms) bullet, projectile [15th century]
    Synonym: Projektil
    Die Kugel ging mitten ins Herz.The bullet went right through the heart.
  3. (firearms, loosely) round, cartridge, bullet
    Synonym: Patrone
    Er hatte noch drei Kugeln im Magazin.He had three rounds left in the magazine.
  4. (astronomy, geography) orb, globe, celestial body [16th century]
  5. (geometry) sphere, orb [16th century]
    Synonym: Sphäre
  6. (heraldry) roundel (of any tincture)
  7. (of icecream) scoop
Usage notes[edit]
  • The German words Kugel and Ball are wontedly distinguished inasmuch as the former refers to solid balls (such as those used for billiards or bowling) while the latter refers to air-filled or elastic balls (such as tennis or soccer balls). This distinction may be neglected colloquially or jokingly.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]


Kugel f (genitive Kugel, plural Kugeln)

  1. alternative form of Kogel (cowl)


  1. ^ Kugel” in Duden online
  2. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “kugel”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Further reading[edit]