150 Essential German Words That Learners Should Memorize ASAP

There are hundreds of thousands (potentially millions) of German words hanging around, just waiting to be learned and used.

But as a newcomer to the language, you’ll need to prioritize.

I’ll show you the most important 150 German words you should learn first.

I’ve chosen them based on frequency and usefulness. Learn these, and you’ll be much better off in your next German conversation.

Contents

Common German Nouns

German nouns, especially German compound nouns, have a bit of a reputation, one that makes them quite enjoyable for learners. Let’s go over some of the critical nouns you should know.

Remember that German nouns are gendered and paired with the appropriate pronoun: der is the masculine pronoun, die is feminine, das is neuter and die is also used for plural nouns.

1. der Mann — man

2. die Frau — woman

3. das Kind — child

4. der Junge — boy

5. das Mädchen — girl

6. der Freund — friend

7. die Leute — people (plural)

8. die Familie — family

9. die Arbeit — work

10. die Stadt — city

11. das Ding — thing

12. das Beispiel — example

13. die Frage — question

14. das Problem — problem

15. das Leben — life

16. das Geld — money

17. das Essen — food

18. das Haus — house

German Prepositions

In sentences, prepositions are the words that create a relationship between a subject and an object. They often detail a subject’s positioning in time or space, and so are quite critical when describing something.

German prepositions take different cases. Some can take on more than one, with a rule of thumb being that the dative is used for stasis or location and the accusative used for describing movement or a change of state. Be aware that using the wrong case can imply a different meaning!

Avoid a grammar faux pas by using a program like FluentU, which lets you hear words spoken in context by native German speakers.

Search for any word from this list on FluentU to pull up videos that mention it. Then you can watch the words being used in content like movie clips, music videos and commercials—aided by subtitles with on-demand definitions, multimedia flashcards and transcripts and personalized exercises.

Perhaps most importantly, the FluentU dictionary is contextual, so you’ll be seeing definitions specific to the situations where they appear. This will prevent grammar and vocab mishaps when you use the words in conversations yourself.

Seeing new words in use is an extremely powerful way to study them, since the human mind remembers best with context. Give it a try!

19. von — by, of, from (dative)

20. um — about, around, at (accusative)

21. zu — to, towards (dative)

22. bis — until, by, up to (accusative)

23. an — to, on (accusative or dative)

24. auf — on, to, upon (accusative or dative)

25. aus — from, out of (dative)

26. bei — by, at, near, in (dative)

27. seit — since, for (dative)

28. für — for (accusative)

29. vor — before, in front of (dative)

30. nach — after, towards (dative)

31. in — in (accusative or dative)

32. durch — through (accusative)

33. mit — with (dative)

34. neben — beside, near (dative)

German Pronouns

Because they change depending on the case and, at times, gender, German pronouns can be a little tricky for learners. We’ll go over the pronouns in their nominative, accusative and dative forms (in that order).

35. ich / mich / mir — I / me

36. du / dich / dir — you (informal, singular)

37. er / ihn / ihm — he / him / it (for masculine nouns)

38. sie / sie / ihr — she / her / it (for feminine nouns)

39. es / es / ihm — it (for neuter nouns) 

40. wir / uns / uns — we / us

41. ihr / euch / euch — you (informal, plural)

42. sie / sie / ihnen — they / them

43. Sie / Sie / Ihnen — you (formal, singular and plural)

Common German Phrases

Few conversations would feel complete without the bare essentials of phrases. These are the basic German phrases and expressions that you’re bound to use in any chat you have, no matter how long or short.

44. Hallo — Hello

45. Guten Morgen — Good morning

46. Guten Abend — Good afternoon

47. Gute Nacht — Good night

48. Ich heiße — My name is…

49. Wie geht’s? — How are you? (informal)

50. Auf Wiedersehen Goodbye / See you again

51. Tschüss — Bye

52. Gesundheit — Bless you

53. Ja — Yes

54. Nein — No

55. Vielleicht — Maybe / Perhaps

56. Bitte — Please / You’re welcome

57. Entschuldigung — Excuse me

58. Danke — Thanks

59. Es tut mir leid — I’m sorry

60. Genau — Exactly / That’s right

61. Ach so — I see

German Verbs

Off to do something? Hopefully, you know how to say so in German! Here are some common German verbs that will get you going.

62. sein — to be

63. haben — to have

64. machen — to make, do

65. gehen — to go

66. nehmen — to take

67. bringen — to bring

68. werden — to become

69. wollen — to want

70. wissen — to know (information)

71. kennen — to know (a person or place)

72. können — to can, be able to

73. mögen — to like

74. denken — to think

German Adjectives

Who doesn’t love adjectives?

They’re the spice of life in sentences, and German adjectives are no different.

Luckily, many adjectives in German sound quite similar to their English counterparts—just don’t forget that in German, adjectives are also conjugated!

75. gut — good

76. schlecht — bad

77. klein — small

78. groß — big, tall

79. schönhandsome, beautiful, lovely, nice

80. fantastisch — fantastic

81. traurig — sad

82. müde — tired

83. neu — new

84. alt — old

85. jung — young

86. kalt — cold

87. heiß — hot

88. kurz — short

89. lang — long

90. viela lot / very

91. wenig — little

German Body Parts

Knowing how to describe the body parts in German is essential for beginner learners. Here are some of the crucial body parts you should know pronto.

92. der Körper — body

93. der Kopf — head

94. das Gesicht — face

95. die Augen — eyes

96. die Nase — nose

97. der Mund — mouth

98. der Hals — neck

99. die Schulter — shoulder

100. die Brust — chest

101. der Rücken — back

102. der Bauch — stomach

103. der Arm — arm

104. die Hand — hand

105. das Bein — leg

106. der Fuß — foot

German Numbers

Counting in German is pretty simple, but you’ll of course have to get familiar with the numbers first. No worries—they should be pretty quick to memorize!

107. null zero

108. einsone

109. zwei — two

110. drei — three

111. vier — four

112. fünf — five

113. sechs — six

114. sieben — seven

115. acht — eight

116. neun — nine

117. zehn — ten

118. elf — eleven

119. zwölf — twelve

120. dreizehn — thirteen

121. vierzehn — fourteen

122. fünfzehn — fifteen

123. sechzehn — sixteen

124. siebzehn — seventeen

125. achtzehn — eighteen

126. neunzehn — nineteen

127. zwanzig — twenty

128. dreißig — thirty

129. vierzig — forty

130. fünfzig — fifty

131. sechzig — sixty

132. siebzig — seventy

133. achtzig — eighty

134. neunzig — ninety

135. hundert — hundred

136. tausend — thousand

German Time and Seasons

Whether you’re discussing events within the hour or months ahead, learning how to tell time in German is one of the first things on the beginner learner’s agenda. So better not waste time learning these!

137. die Zeit — time

138. früh — early

139. spät — late

140. die Uhr — clock / o’clock (pronoun removed)

141. die Stunde — hour

142. die Minute — minute

143. der Tag — day

144. die Woche — week

145. der Monat — month

146. das Jahr — year

147. der Winter — winter

148. der Frühling — spring

149. der Herbst — fall

150. der Sommer — summer

 

150 words sounds like a lot, but remember, these are just the tip of the German language iceberg! They’ll serve as a great starting point for you to jump off of as you immerse into your German studies.

To better reinforce these words (and German vocabulary in general), you can utilize tried-and-true review strategies. Flashcards and vocabulary quizzes are a quick and easy way to ensure you’re frequently practicing the material. Our complete guide on how to learn German vocabulary is here:

 


How to Master German Vocabulary at Any Skill Level: Our 5-Step System

Learning German vocabulary is important whether you’re a complete beginner or approaching fluency. This complete guide contains our tried-and-true 5-step system for…

Once you’re confident with the essentials, you can plow forward and indulge in all the other fun and quirky words unique to German!

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Close