Glossary of German Terms and Abbreviations

From SCA Heraldry Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Titles, Terms, Locations, and Various Abbreviations Encountered in German Onomastic Texts and Armorials

by Gotfrid von Schwaben


As time progresses our base level of knowledge concerning medieval and renaissance naming practices increases. Likewise, our pool of onomastic resources becomes more refined. When reading texts written in English, finding the documentation and understanding what the author is saying is quite simple for fluent English speakers. Frequently, however, the best resource for a certain culture’s naming practice is in a language other than English. For those who are attempting to read resources in another language and have little to no knowledge of that language, it becomes a bit more problematic.</span>

While I am a fairly fluent, semi-native speaker of German, my level of constant exposure and usage of German leveled off during my teen years. As a joke, albeit true, I will often answer the question of where I learned my German by stating I learned it sitting in the lap of my mother and grandmother. And even though I do have opportunities to brush the dust off my language skills, they are not as frequent as I would like. Additionally, the dialect of German with which I grew up is not the same as that used in scholarly works.

Because of this, while doing German onomastic research I have come across a number of common terms and abbreviations, not all of which have been familiar to me. As a result, I created a list of titles, abbreviations, terms, etc., which I encountered in various German texts. Most of the terms I pulled from the books listed in the bibliography at the end of this glossary. Additional entries in this list are more “common knowledge” items peculiar to Germany culled from my Langenscheidts German to English dictionary. Some of the abbreviations are in direct reference to languages or dialects with which I had no knowledge. Those items are footnoted and a rudimentary explanation is provided using mostly Wikipedia entries. Granted, while Wikipedia is hardly scholarly, it does at least give the reader a basic understanding and a starting point from which to pursue research that is more scholarly. This list spells out what the abbreviations are and translates those into their English equivalents, thus making it easier for non-German-speaking researchers to understand what the text is conveying.


German titles, terms, and locations[edit]

German Term xx Translation xxx xxx German Term xx Translation xxx xxx German Term xx Translation
Aachen Aix-la-Chapelle Hofdame Lady-in-waiting Ritterschaft Chivalry, Knighthood
Adel Nobility, Aristocracy Hofnarr Court jester Sachsen Saxony
Adel verpflichtet Noblesse oblige Hinterpommern Eastern Pomerania Schlesien Silesia
Baron Baron Kärnten Carinthia Schwaben Swabia
Bayern Bavaria Königsreich, (-e) Kingdom(s) Schwäbische Alb Swabian Jura
Bistum, (Bistümer) Bishopric(s) König, (-e) King(s) Schwäbische Alpen Swabian Alps
Bodensee1 Lake Constance Königin, (-nen) Queen(s) Schweiz Switzerland
Böhmen und Mähren Bohemia-Moravia Kurfürst, (-en) Elector(s) Seidenstraße, die the Silk Road
Böhmerwald, der Bohemian forest Kurfürstentag Diet Siebenbürgen6 Transylvania
Braunschweig Brunswick Kurfürstentum Electorate (andere) Stadt, (Städten) (other) City (-ies)
Donau, die Danube river Kurfürstenpfalz The Electoral Palatinate Sixtinische Kapelle, die Sistine Chapel
Elsass, Elsaß Alsace Köln (city of) Cologne Straße von Gibraltar7 Strait of Gibraltar
Elsass-, Elsaß-Lothringen Alsace-Lorraine Kölner Dom, der the Cologne Cathedral Steiermark Styria
Ehrbare Geschlecter respectable families Mark Brandenburg Brandenburg Marches Tempelberg, der Temple Mount (Jerusalem)
Erzbistum, (Erzbistümer) Archbishopric(s) Meissen, Meißen Meissen, Misnia Thüringen Thuringia
Erzherzog, (Erzherzöge) Archduke(s) Mittelmeer, das3 Mediterranean sea Tirol Tyrol
Felsendom, der Dome of the Rock (Jerusalem) Namenkunde Onomastics Ungarn Hungary
Franken Franconia Nürnberg Nuremberg Unterfranken Lower Franconia
Frankreich France Oberfranken Upper Franconia Venedig Venice
Freiherr, (-en)2 Baron(s) Oberpfalz Upper Palatinate Vierwaldstätter See, der8 Lake Lucerne
Fürst, (-en) Prince(s) Oberrheinische Tiefebene Upper Rhine valley Vorpommern Western Pomerania
Fürstentum, (Fürstentümer) Principality (Principalities) Österreich Austria Wappen Coat of Arms
Fürstenhoff (royal) court Ostsee4 Baltic sea Wappenerklärung blazon, blazonry
Gallien Gaul Patrizier Patricians, upper class Wappenkunde Heraldry
Genf Geneva Pfalz The Palatinate Wappenschild escutcheon
Gefürstete Abtei, (-en) Principality Abbey(s) Pfalzgraf, (-en) Count(s) Palatine Wappenschmuck heraldic ornamentation
Gefreite Abtei, (-en) Independent Abbey(s) Reichsfürst, (-en) Imperial Prince(s) Wappenspruch heraldic motto
Grabeskirche, die Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Jerusalem) Reichsritter, (-s) Imperial Knight(s) Wappentier heraldic animal
Graf, (-en) Count(s), Earl(s) Reichsstadt, (Reichsstädte) Imperial City (-ies) Wenzelsplatz, der Wenceslas Square (Prague)
Gräfin, (-nen) Countesses Reichstag Imperial Diet Westfalen Westphalia
Herr, (-en) Lord(s) Reichswappen Imperial Arms Wien Vienna
Herzog, (Herzöge) Duke(s) Rheinland Rhineland
Herzogin, (-nen) Duchess(es) Rheinpfalz Rhenish Palatinate
Hessen Hesse Ritter5 Knight(s)

1 Literally translates as “ground or bottom lake (sea)".

2 The titles Freiherr (abbreviated as Frhr.) and Freifrau (abbreviated as Frfr.) literally translate as "free lord" or "free lady". The title Freiin referred to unmarried daughters and maiden aunts. The title Freiherr derives from the late Middle High German vrīherre and means “Free Nobleman“. These titles of nobility correspond to baron in rank within the German-speaking areas of the Holy Roman Empire and in its various successor states, including Austria, Prussia, Bavaria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, etc. Traditionally it denotes the second lowest titled rank within the nobility, above Ritter (knight) and Adler (nobility without a specific title) and below Graf (count, earl) and Herzog (duke).

In social circumstances, a Freiherr is addressed "Herr Baron" or (more familiarly) "Baron”, although that is not the official title. The original distinction derives from the historical geo-political situation in which an owner held free (allodial) title to his land. This is unlike the ordinary baron, who was originally a knight (Ritter) in vassalage to a higher lord or sovereign, or medieval German ministerials, who were bound to provide administrative services for a lord. In northern Germany, there was also an official but foreign rank of "Baron" (not "Freiherr"), mostly used for Baltic barons created by the Tsar of Russia, but recognized in Germany. In Austria-Hungary and in the Baltic and Nordic countries, "Freiherr" was considered to be of equal rank to the title of "Baron".

Barons who received their title from the Holy Roman Emperor were sometimes known as Reichsfreiherren or “Barons of the Holy Roman Empire" as a distinction from other barons. Since the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Reichsfreiherren do not presently belong to the noble hierarchy. However, their titles were officially recognized by a decision of the Congress of Vienna in 1815. After 1806 the independent German monarchies, such as Bavaria, Württemberg and Lippe could create their own nobility, including Freiherren. Interestingly, the Elector of Brandenburg had even before that date, as king of the originally exclusively extraterritorial Prussia, claimed for himself the prerogative of ennoblement. Some of the older baronial families began to use Reichsfreiherr in formal contexts to distinguish themselves from the new classes of barons created by monarchs of lesser stature than the Holy Roman Emperors; this usage is far from obsolete. [Wikipedia]

3 Literally translates as “the middle sea".

4 Literally translates as “the east lake (sea)".

5 The nominative plural form for Ritter is the same as the singular.

6 Literally translates as “seven fortifications (castles)".

7 Literally translates as “street or road" of Gibraltar.

8 Literally translates as “Literally translates as “the four forest places lake”.

German abbreviations (Abkürzungen)[edit]


German onomastic symbols.png


xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
Abb. Abbildung picture, illustration
abgeg. abgegangen came, derived, branched from
Abltg. Ableitung derivation, derivative
adän. altdänisch Old Danish
aengl. altenglisch Old English
afries. altfriesisch Old Frisian
afrz. (afranz.) altfranzösisch Old French
ags. angelsächsisch Anglo-Saxon
ägypt. ägyptisch Egyptian
ahd. althochdeutsch Old High German
aind. altindisch Old Indian
air. altirisch Old Irish
aisl. altisländisch Old Icelandic
alem. alemannisch Alemannic
altd. altdeutsch Old German
and. altniederdeutsch Old Low German
anord. altnordisch Old Nordic
apers. altpersisch Old Persian
apolab. altpolabisch Old Polabian1
apoln. altpolnisch Old Polish
apreuß. altpreußisch Old Prussian
arab. arabisch Arabian
aruss. altrussisch Old Russian
asächs. altsächsisch Old Saxon
aslaw. altslawisch Old Slavic
asorb. altsorbisch Old Sorbian2
atschech. alttschechisch Old Czechoslovakian
awest. awestisch Avestan3

1 The Polabian language, which became extinct in the 18th century, was a group of Slavic dialects spoken in present-day northern Germany: Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, eastern parts of Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein. It was one of the Lechitic languages. The name derives from the name of Polabian tribes, which in turn derives from the name of the Elbe river in Slavic languages: Łaba in Polish and Labe in Czech. There are known Polabian texts from the Wendland (Lüchow-Dannenberg) in the 17th and 18th centuries. As an example of the language, The Lord's Prayer in Polabian is: Aita nos, tâ toi jis wâ nebesai, sjętü wordoj tüji jaimą; tüji rik komaj; tüja wüľa mo są ťüńot kok wâ nebesai tok no zemi; nosę wisedanesnę sťaibę doj nam dâns; a wütâdoj nam nose greche, kok moi wütâdojeme nosim gresnarem; ni bringoj nos wâ warsükongę; toi losoj nos wüt wisokag chaudag. Pritü tüje ją tü ťenądztwü un müc un câst, warchni Büzac, nekąda in nekędisa. Amen. See also the Wends.

2 The Sorbian languages are classified under the West Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. They are the native languages of the Sorbian people, a Slavic minority in eastern Germany. The language has also historically been known as Wendish or Lusatian. There are two literary languages: Upper Sorbian (hornjoserbsce), spoken by about 55,000 people in Saxony, and Lower Sorbian (dolnoserbski) spoken by about 14,000 people in Brandenburg. The area where the two languages are spoken is known as Lusatia (Łužica in Upper Sorbian, Łužyca in Lower Sorbian, or Lausitz in German). Both languages have dual grammatical number; they are among the very few living Indo-European languages to retain this feature (the other being Slovenian). The dual is used when exactly two people or things are meant and is in addition to singular and plural. In Germany Upper and Lower Sorbian are officially recognized and protected as minority languages. The city of Bautzen near Dresden is a centre of Upper Sorbian culture. Notable is the fact that bilingual signs can be seen around the city including the name of the city itself at the railway station given as 'Bautzen/Budyšin'. The city of Cottbus (Chóśebuz) is considered the cultural centre of Lower Sorbian; here too bilingual signs are found. Sorbian is also spoken in the small Wendish settlement of Serbin in Lee County, Texas, and until recently newspapers were published in Wendish there. It has been heavily influenced by surrounding speakers of German and English.

3 Avestan, also called (incorrectly) Zend Language, is an Eastern Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name. The language must also at some time have been a natural language, but how long ago that was is unknown. Avestan falls into two strata, the older being that of the Gāthās, which reflects a linguistic stage (dating from c. 600 BC) close to that of Vedic Sanskrit in India. The greater part of the Avesta is written in a more recent form of the language and shows gradual simplification and variation in grammatical forms. When the canon of the Avesta was being fixed (4th to 6th century AD), Avestan was a dead language known only to priests. Its status as a sacred language ensured its continuing use for new compositions long after the language had ceased to be a living language.


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
B. Bürger citizen, resident, inhabitant
bayr. (bair.) bayrisch Bavarian
Bd. (Bde.) Band (Bände) Volume(s)
BE Berlin
Bed. Bedeutung(en) meaning(s)
bes. (bsd.) besonders especially, particularly
betr. betreffend concerning, regarding, as to
Bez. Bezeichnung(en) name(s), term(s), designation(s)
Bezirk district
BN Berufsname occupational name
BR Brandenburg
bulg. bulgarisch Bulgarian
BW Bestimmungswort determinative element
BWÜ Baden-Württemberg
BY Bayern Bavaria
bzgl. bezüglich regarding, concerning (re:)
bzw. beziehungsweise respectively


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
christl. christlich Christian


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
d. Ä. der Ältere the Elder
dän. dänisch Danish
demin. deminutivisch diminutively
d. Gr. der (or die) Große the Great
d. h. das heißt that is, that’s called (i.e.)
d. J. der Jüngere the Younger
dt. deutsch German


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
eig. (eigtl.) eigentlich eventually
els. elsässisch Alsatian
engl. englisch English
entspr. entsprechend corresponding, analogous, commensurate (with)
eosl. elb- und ostseeslawisch Wends and Baltic sea Slavic1
europ. europäisch European
ev. evangelisch Lutheran

1 Elbslawen or Wenden (lat. Venedi; English: Wends) is the name for some Slavic people from north-central Europe, particularly the Sorbs living in modern-day Germany. The name is derived from the German term Veneter, used for various non-Germanic tribes (see also Germanic place names). The term has not historically enjoyed consistent usage — it is mostly employed specifically for one or two Slavic groups but in the past it was often used as an over-arching term for all Slavic people. As a result, it is still difficult today to present a coherent picture of the Wends as a people. The term Wends was used in history in the following meanings: (1) The Franks referred to most Slavs living between the Oder and Elbe rivers as either Wends or Sorbs, while in Slavic literature these people are called Polabian Slavs. (2) In general, a German name for West Slavic people formerly inhabiting territories of pre-World War II Pomerania and historical eastern Germany. The term Wends was used in connection to all Slavs west of Poland and north of Bohemia — Polabians, Pomeranians and Sorbs. It was also used to denote the Slovaks in German texts before ca. 1400. (3) German and English name for Sorbs, a Slavic people who moved into Central Europe during the great migration, most likely in response to pressure by the westward movement of warlike peoples such as the Huns and Avars. Some of their descendants, also called Wends or Lusatian Sorbs (Lužički Srbi), still live in Lusatia today, where the Sorbian language is maintained in schools. Many Wends were driven out of the Kingdom of Prussia during the Revolutions of 1848. Many Lusatian Wends immigrated to countries that welcomed them as a source of cheap labor, including the United States and Australia. In the United States, the majority of Wends settled in Texas, where they became some of the earliest members of the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran church. A notable settlement of Wends in Texas is the town of Serbin, in Lee County, where a church, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, stands as a typical example of Wendish architecture. In St. Paul's, the pulpit is located in the balcony of the church. (4) German name for Kashubians. (5) Some Finnish historians claim the words Wends or Vandals used in Scandinavian sources occasionally meant all peoples of the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea from Pomerania to Finland, including some Finnic peoples. The existence of these supposed Finnic Wends is far from clear. In the 13th century there was indeed a people called Wends or Vends living as far as northern Latvia around the city of Wenden and it is not known if they were indeed Slavs as their name suggests. Some researchers think they were related to Finnic-speaking Votians.


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
f. feminin feminine
finn. finnisch Finnish
FN Familienname(n) family name(s)
fnhd. frühneuhochdeutsch Early New Standard (High) German
fries. friesisch Frisian
Frh. (Frhr) Freiherr Baron
Frfr. Freifrau Baroness
frk. (fränk.) fränkisch Frankish
frz. (franz) französisch French
frühmhd frühmittelhochdeutsch Early Middle High German


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
gall. gallisch Gallic
galloroman. galloromanisch Gallo-Romanic
gen. genitivisch genitivally (pertaining to genitive [possessive] case)
germ. germanisch Germanic
GewN Gewässername names of bodies of water, incl. rivers and tributaries
Gde. Gemeinde municipality, parish
got. gotisch Gothic
gleichbed. gleichbedeutend synonymous
griech. griechisch Greek
GW Grundwort root word, etymon1

1 Grundwort, frequently abbreviated as GW, is a term often used in German onomastic texts and translates as a primary word or etymon. It literally means “ground word” or root word//. To say it is just a “root word” does not quite do justice to the full meaning of the term. The term etymon actually catches the full flavor of the term //Grundwort//, but is most likely much lesser known. As a result, I use the term //etymon// where appropriate. Merriam-Webster defines //etymon [plural etyma or etymons] as “1a) an earlier form of a word in the same language or an ancestral language; b) a word in a foreign language that is the source of a particular loanword; 2) a word or morpheme from which words are formed by composition or derivation.”


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
häuf. häufig frequent(ly), widespread
HausN Hausname Household name
HB Bremen
hdschr. handschriftlich handwritten, in writing
HE Hessen
hebr. hebräisch Hebrew
hess. hessisch Hessian
Hg. Herausgeber publisher, editor
hg. herausgegeben (von) published, edited (by)
HH Hamburg
hl. heilig holy, sacred, hallowed
HlN (Heil. N.) Heiligenname Saint’s name
HN (Herk. N.) Herkunftsname name derived from origin (background, place, country, or ethnicity)
hochd. (hd.) hochdeutsch Standard (High) German
HofN Hofname(n) farm name(s)
hold. (holl.) holländisch Dutch
Hr(n) Herr(n) Mister
hugen. hugenottisch Huguenot


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
i. a. (i. Allg.) im allgemeinen in general, generally
idg. indogermanisch Indo-Germanic
i. d. R. in der Regel as a rule
i. e. S. im engeren Sinne in the narrow(er) sense
im eigentlichen Sinne in the true sense (of the word), in the proper sense
i. J. im Jahre in (the year)
illyr. illyrisch Illyrian1
insges. insgesamt altogether, in all
ital. (it.) italienisch Italian
i. w. S. im weiteren Sinne in the broad(er) sense

1 The Illyrian languages are a group of Indo-European languages that were spoken in the western part of the Balkans in former times by ethnic groups identified as Illyrians: Delmatae, Pannoni, Illyrioi, Autariates, Taulanti (see List of Illyrian tribes). The Illyrian languages are generally, but not unanimously, reckoned as centum languages. Some sound-changes and other language features are deduced from what remains of the Illyrian languages, but because no writings in Illyrian are known, there is not sufficient evidence to clarify its place within the Indo-European language family aside from its probable centum nature. Because of the uncertainty, most sources provisionally place Illyrian on its own branch of Indo-European, though its relation to other languages, ancient and modern, continues to be studied and debated.


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
Jh. Jahrhundert Century
Jh.s. Jahrhunderts Centuries
jüd. jüdisch Jewish


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
kath. katholisch Catholic
kelt. keltisch Celtic
KF Kurzform (Koseform) short(ened) form, affectionate form
Kt. Kanton Canton
kymr. kymrisch Welsh1

1 Another term for kymrisch is walisisch.


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
l. links left
lad. ladinisch Ladin1
LandschaftsN Landschafts- (Gebietsname) countryside or territory name
langobard. langobardisch Langobardic, Lombardi
lat. lateinisch Latin
latin. latinisiert Latinized
laus. lausitzisch Lausitzi2
lett. lettisch Latvian
lit. litauisch Lithuanian
literarisch literary

1 Not to be confused with Ladino language, Ladin (Ladino in Italian, Ladinisch in German) is a Rhaetian language spoken in the Dolomite mountains in Italy, between the regions of Trentino-South Tyrol and Veneto. It presents connections with the Swiss Romansh and Friulian. It is spoken in: the province of Bozen-Bolzano at (German-Italian-Ladin), St. Ulrich-Ortisei-Urtijëi, St. Christina-Santa Cristina-S. Crestina, Wolkenstein-Selva di Val Gardena-Sëlva, Abteital-Badia-Badia, Kurfahr-Corvara-Curvara, Enneberg-Marebbe-Maréo; the province of Trento in the Val di Fassa at the following seven municipalities: [Canazei (Ladin Cianacei), Campitello (Ladin Ciampedèl), Mazzin (Ladin Mazin), Pozza di Fassa (Ladin Poza), Vigo di Fassa (Ladin Vich), Soraga (Ladin Soraga -or- Sorega), and Moena (Ladin Moena)]. The Ladin spoken in the Fassa Valley (Ladin Val de Fascia, Italian Val di Fassa) is also subdivided into two further branches, "Cazét" (pronounced "cazet") is spoken in the northern half of the valley, whereas "Brach" (pronounced "brak"), is spoken in the southern half. For example, in Cazét, water is "ega" ("e" pronounced as in English "Elephant"), whereas in Brach it is "aga". It is further spoken in the province of Belluno in Livinallongo valley (Ladin Fèdom, German Buchenstein) and at Cortina d'Ampezzo (Ladin Anpëz). It is officially recognized in Italy and has some official rights in the region of Trentino-South Tyrol, while it does not have official status in the province of Belluno (Veneto region).

2 The Lausitzi dialect belongs to East Middle German. It is spoken in the Lausitz region in East Saxony and in Southern Brandenburg and is related to the adjacent dialects of the Thuringian-Upper Saxon and to Lower Silesian. From there also is derived the designation: Lausitzi-Silesian, which is only occasionally used however.


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
m. maskulin masculine
MA. Mittelalter medieval
masch. maschinenschriftlich typed, in typescript
metron. metronymisch matronymic
md. (mitteld.) mitteldeutsch Middle German
mdal. (mda.) mundartlich dialectal
mhd mittelhochdeutsch Middle High German
mir. mittelirisch Middle Irish
mlat. (mittellat.) mittellateinisch Middle Latin
mnd mittelniederdeutsch Middle Low German
mniederl. mittelneiderländisch Middle Dutch
MV Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Mecklenburg-West Pomerania


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
N Norden North
n. nach after, to
nördlich northern
neutral neutral
Nbf. Nebenform variant
n. Chr. nach Christus (after Christ) AD
nd (ndd.) niederdeutsch Low German
ndld (ndl.; nl.) niederländisch Dutch
ndrhein. (nrhein.) niederrheinisch Low Rhenish (from the lower Rhine)
NDS Niedersachsen Lower Saxony
nhd. neuhochdeutsch New High German
nord. nordisch Nordic
nordd norddeutsch North German
nordfries. nordfriesisch North Frisian
norw. norwegisch Norwegian
nordwestd. nordwestdeutsch Northwest German
NRW Nordrhein-Westfalen North Rhine-Westphalia
nso. niedersorbisch Lower Sorbian1
n. u. Z. nach unserer Zeitrechnung Anno Domini (‘according to our time reckoning’)

1 See footnote for ‘asorb.’ (altsorbisch)


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
O Osten East
ö. östlich eastern
o. Ä. oder Ähnliche(s) or the like
oberd. (obd.) oberdeutsch Upper (Southern) German
oberschw. oberschwäbisch Upper Swabian
od. oder or
o. J. ohne Jahr undated (‘without year’)
ON Ortsname place name
ÖN Örtlichkeitsname (Siedlungsname, Stellenbezeichnung) locality, place name (settlement name, location description)
osä. obersächsisch Upper Saxon
oso. obersorbisch Upper Sorbian1
ostd. ostdeutsch East German
österr. österreichisch Austrian
ostfränk. ostfränkisch East Frankish
ostmitteld. (ostmd.) ostmitteldeutsch East Middle German
ostpr. ostpreußisch East Prussian
ostslaw. ostslawisch East Slavic

1 See footnote for ‘asorb.’ (altsorbisch)


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
PN Personenname(n) personal name(s)
polab. polabisch Polabian1
poln. polnisch Polish
port. portugiesisch Portuguese
prot. protestantisch Protestant

1 see footnote for ‘apolab.’ (altpolabisch)


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
r. rechts right
rel. relativ relatively
rhein. rheinisch Rhenish
rheinfränk. rheinfränkisch Rhenish-Franconian
rom. romanisch pertaining to Romance languages
RN Rufname first ("called", given) name
röm. römisch Roman
RP Rheinland-Pfalz Rhineland-Palatinate
russ. russisch Russian


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
S Süden South
S. Seite page
s. siehe see [also]
südlich southern
s. a. siehe auch see also
SAC Sachsen Saxony
SAN Sachsen-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt
SatzN Satzname phrase name (epitaph-type name derived from a sentence description such as Eisenhower. Eisen + hower = ‘iron hitter’ or blacksmith.)
schles. schlesisch Silesian
schwäb. schwäbisch Swabian
schwed. schwedisch Swedish
schweiz. schweizerisch Swiss
sd. siehe diesen Artikel see this article
s. d. siehe dies, siehe dort see also
serbokroat. serbokroatisch Serbo-Croatian
SH Schleswig-Holstein
SL Saarland
slaw. slawisch Slavic
slowak. slowakisch Slovakian
slowen. slowenisch Slovenian
SN Sippenname Clan name
s. o. siehe oben see above
sog. sogenannt so-called
sorb. sorbisch Sorbian1
spätmhd. spätmittelhochdeutsch Late Middle High German
span. spanisch Spanish
StammesN Stammesname name derived from ethnicity (tribal)
StraßenN Straßenname street name
s. u. siehe unten see below
südd. süddeutsch Southern German
südostd. südostdeutsch Southeast German
südslaw. südslawisch South Slavic
südwestd. südwestdeutsch Southwest German

1 See footnote for ‘asorb. (altsorbisch)


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
TH Thüringen Thuringia
thür. thüringisch Thuringian
tirol. tirolisch Tyrolean
TN (christlicher) Taufname (Christian) baptismal name
tschech. tschechisch Czech(oslovakian)
typ. typisch typical(ly)


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
u. und and
u. a. und andere(s) and others
unter anderem among other things
u. Ä. (u. ä.) und Ähnlich(e, es) and the like
ugs. umgangssprachlich colloquial(ly)
ÜN Übername nickname, sobriquet, epithet
ung. (ungar.) ungarisch Hungarian
urslaw. urslawisch proto-Slavic1
urspr. ursprünglich originally
usw. und so weiter and so on (et cetera [etc.])
u. v. a. und viele(s) andere and many more (others)

1 Proto-Slavic is the proto-language from which Old Church Slavonic and all the other Slavic languages later emerged. It was spoken before the 7th century. No Proto-Slavic writings have been found, so the language has been reconstructed from applying the comparative method to all the attested Slavic languages and other Indo-European languages. There is much debate whether pre-Proto-Slavic branched off directly from Proto-Indo-European, or whether it passed through a Proto-Balto-Slavic stage. Proto-Slavic proper developed during the early 1st millennium AD, and was separated into dialects in the 5th or 6th century, as Slavic tribes began to migrate in the wake of the Germanic migration period. In the second half of the 9th century, the dialect spoken north of Thessaloniki became the basis for first written Slavic language, created by the brothers Cyril and Methodius who translated portions of the Bible and other church books. The language they recorded is known as Old Church Slavonic. Old Church Slavonic is not identical to Proto-Slavic, having been recorded at least two centuries after the breakup of Proto-Slavic, and it shows features that clearly distinguish it from Proto-Slavic. However, it is still reasonably close, and the mutual intelligibility between Old Church Slavonic and other Slavic dialects of those days was proved by Cyril's and Methodius' mission to Great Moravia and Pannonia. There, their early South Slavic dialect used for the translations was clearly understandable to the local population which spoke an early West Slavic dialect.


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
v. von, vom of, from, by
v. a. vor allem above all
v. Chr. vor Christus (before Christ) BC
vlat. vulgärlateinisch vulgar (common) Latin
v. l. n. r. von links nach rechts from left to right
versch. verschiedene various, assorted
vogtl. vogtländisch Vogtlandic1
VölkerN Völkername name derived from ethnicity (nationality)
vor. vorhergehendes preceding
VN Vorname first (given) name
vgl. vergleiche confer, compare [to], same as

1 A German dialect spoken in what was then called Vogtland. The Vogtlandkreis is a Landkreis (rural district) in the southwest of Saxony, Germany, at the borders to Thuringia, Bavaria, and the Czech Republic. Neighboring districts are (from south clockwise) Hof, Saale-Orla, Greiz, Zwickauer Land, Aue-Schwarzenberg. The urban district of Plauen is located in the center of the district. The Vogtland became part of the Holy Roman Empire in the 12th century by King Conrad III. In 1209 the minister dynasty administrating the area split into three lines, Weida, Greiz and Gera-Plauen. When the central power over the area decreased these leaders, called in Latin advocatus or in German Vögte could rise from administrators to actual county leaders. 1354-1357 the Vogtland war ended these leadership and the area changed ownership to Bohemia. In 1546 Henry IV from Plauen got the area from the Bohemian king and later emperor Ferdinand I. His children did not only inherit the land, but also very high debt, so to pay these 1563 the area was bought by Saxony from Henry VI, and when in 1569 Henry VI finally ceased to claim ownership the new leadership created the first Vogtland district (Voigtländischen Creiß). 1657-1718 Saxony was split into parts, the Vogtland belonged to Saxony-Zeitz. In 1835 the new constitutional monarchy changed the administration and abolished the old district, and instead the Amtshauptmannschaft Plauen was created, and in 1867 those of Auerbach and Oelsnitz. 1907 the city of Plauen left the district and became district-free city. 1952 the East German government with the big administrative reform renamed them to Kreise (districts), and created the new districts Klingenthal and Reichenbach by decreasing the size of the previous ones. After the German Reunification the changes of the 1952 reform were mostly undone, and in 1996 the 5 districts were merged to form the Vogtlandkreis.


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
w. westlich western
weibl. weiblich female (feminine)
westd. westdeutsch West German
westmitteld. (westmd.) westmitteldeutsch West Middle German
westnd. westniederdeutsch West Lower German
westslaw. westslawisch West Slavic
WN Wohnstättenname(n) name(s) derived from a residential town
württ. württembergisch Württemberger


Abbreviation xxx xxx German term xxx xxx Translation
z. B. zum Beispiel for instance, for example (e.g.)
Zs. Zeitschrift magazine, periodical
z. T. zum Teil partly, partially
Zus. (Zstzg.) Zusammensetzung(en) composition(s), compound(s)
zus. zusammen together


Bahlow, Hans. Deutsches Namenlexikon, Baden-Baden: Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Verlag, 1985.

Berger, Dieter. Geographische Namen in Deutschland: Herkunft und Bedeutung der Namen von Ländern, Städten, Bergen und Gewässern, Mannheim. Dudenverlag, 1999.

Brechenmacher, Josef Karlmann. Etymologisches Wörterbuch der Deutschen Familiennamen, 2 vol. Limburg an der Lahn: C. A. Starke-Verlag, 1957-60.

Encyclopædia Britannica online excerpt for Avenstan language,

Kunze,Konrad. dtv-Atlas Namenkunde. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH, 2000.

Langenscheidts Großes Schulwörterbuch: Deutsch-English. Edited by Martin Fellermayer and Helga Krüger. Berlin & München: Langescheidt KG, 2001.

LEO English – German Dictionary. (WWW: Online Service by Informatik der Technischen Universität München, 1995-2003.

Naumann, Horst, ed. Familiennamenbuch. Leipzig: VEB Bibliographisches Institut, 1989.

Siebmacher, Johann. Johann Siebmachers Wappenbuch von 1605, special edition. Edited by Horst Appuhn. München: Orbis Verlag für Pulizistik, 1999.

Socin, Adolf. Mittelhochdeutsches Namenbuch Nach Oberrheinischen Quellen des Zwölften und Dreizehnten Jahrhunderts. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagbuchhandlung, 1966.

Wikipedia entry for Avenstan language</span>

Wikipedia entry for Freiherr</span>

Wikipedia entry for Illyrian languages]]</span>

Wikipedia entry for Ladin</span>.

Wikipedia entry for Polabian language

Wikipedia entry for proto-Slavic language

Wikipedia entry for Sorbian languages</span>

Wikipedia entry for Urslawisch [proto-Slavic] language (German)

Wikipedia entry for Wends.