German loanwords in English (food-related)

Apparently, Germans love their food. Linsen mit Spätzle was a new traditional dish I have tried recently. My husband mentioned that his German colleagues (in Baden-Württemberg) are absolutely crazy about eating it at lunch. As soon as a local canteen serves it, the dish is disappeared within some minutes.

I do not feel that enthusiastic about the food in general, but I find it wonderful that German are so proud of their traditional dishes.

If you think of it, there are plenty of German loanwords in English, and many of them are food-related!

Here is the list of some popular ones:


1889 from German Delikatessen

German word die Delikatesse means ‘delicacy, fine food’. The English term delicatessen (deli, deli counter) is used to describe a small shop, a counter in a supermarket where you can get high-quality foods, different types of cheese, cold cooked meat, etc.

hamburger and burger

burger (1939) is a shortened form of hamburger used in English.  There is still an uncertainty if hamburger got its name from Hamburg. In 1902 it is used to be ‘a hamburger sandwich’ and by 1909 it became just a ‘hamburger’. Later, in order to make the main ingredient more explicit new forms of the word appeared (cheeseburger, beefburger).


also kohl-rabi, kohl rabi

1807, from German Kohlrabi (16 c.)

Next time you forget how to say ‘cabbage’ in German, just remember of kohlrabi. der Kohl means ‘cabbage’ in German.


1926, from Swiss-German

Thanks to the Swiss physician Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner we can enjoy this simple, yet very tasty breakfast! At present, I believe I can find more types of muesli in an American supermarket rather than in a German one. Nevertheless, let’s not forget the origin of this product.


1779, from German Nudel, which is of unknown origin

Not only English language borrowed a word Nudel. West Flemish noedel and French nouille are also considered to be German loanwords.


1630s, from German Sauerkraut

Of course! Who has not heard of famous German ‘sour cabbage’?


1818, from German Schnaps

is another well-known German product and word


1854, from German Schnitzel


1893, from German Strudel

I have tried the most delicious schnitzel and strudel in Vienna. Definitely recommend to visit this city and to order some strudel, keeping in mind what a journey that word has made (Spanish el Strudel, Italian lo strudel, French le strudel, Greek tο στρούντελ,  Japaneseシュトゥルーデル, etc.)

Schönen Tag!






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