Go with the Flow! 200+ of the Most Common German Nouns

German nouns have a pretty interesting reputation.

If you’ve already encountered some (especially long compound nouns), then you may be a bit intimidated.

But common German nouns that you are actually likely to use in everyday speech are often pretty short and easy to remember.

Once you get started with learning the most common German nouns, you will be building up a vessel of knowledge that will accelerate your learning and transport you towards fluency.


The Basic Characteristics of a German Noun

Here are a few things to know about German nouns that can help you spot them as you read or listen:

(1) Nouns are a person, location, object or concept. Examples of this include der Freund (friend), die Stadt (city), der Ball (ball) and die Freiheit (freedom).

(2) Nouns are capitalized, like proper names in English: Freund, Stadt, Ball, Freiheit.

(3) Nouns can be singular or plural, just like in English.

(4) Nouns have an article, which denotes their gender: der, die or das.

Nouns are used a lot in German, second only to verbs. Keep these characteristics in mind as you read, and you will start spotting nouns in no time!

A Very Quick, Non-scary Look at German Compound Nouns

What is the longest word you can think of?

How about Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz?

This German word meaning “law delegating beef label monitoring” was dropped after changes in EU regulations. But just knowing this 63 letter German word ever existed might make the idea of learning German nouns seem scary.

But before you panic, consider a few things.

Yes, you will see scary German compound nouns, but they follow a certain logic and are specially built to transport extra vocabulary.

Chances are, you probably won’t encounter a 63-letter-long word in your daily German reading, but you might come across smaller compound German nouns. It can be a bit like finding the tail of a snake and the head of another, but practice a few and you will get the hang of it!

You can combine nouns to form one single long word like the example below. Sometimes it forms what looks like a Kuddelmuddel (confusion, muddle) and can look and sound a bit funny.

The word die Groβschachanlage means “giant chess board.”

It is formed from the following words:

  • groβ means “large” or “giant”
  • (das) Schach means “chess”
  • (die) Anlage means “board”

All together, you have “giant-chess-board,” or Groβ-schach-anlage.

Some German compound nouns can be comprised of many, many nouns. The next time you are reading, see what compound nouns you can find.

200+ Most Common German Nouns

Memorizing the nouns below will give you a good general base of German vocabulary. The German words are divided into themed lists so that you can cover useful categories at your own pace.

You can expand upon this vocabulary with this frequency list of the 2000 most common German nouns.

Learning German nouns by hearing and seeing them used in context can be a particularly good way to remember their meanings. You can get this valuable exposure through German novels, movies and web videos. This is especially effective if you watch with subtitles–this way, you can read the phrases you hear and textually dissect how the nouns are at play with other words.

One way to learn German vocabulary with captioned videos is using FluentU, a language learning program that immerses you in German using authentic videos like news clips, cartoons and commercials. The captions on FluentU’s videos are interactive, so you can click words, nouns or otherwise, to get definitions and example sentences. You can also review the words you learn with flashcards and personalized quizzes.

Through a combination of reading, vocabulary lists and authentic German content, you can learn and remember nouns related to countless topics. The more you’re exposed to these words, the better you’ll get at recognizing them in conversations.

So go ahead and browse the categories below. Start learning these nouns so you’ll recognize them when you hear them later in context.

Learn common German nouns in more depth with FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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Make custom flashcard sets using these word lists and let FluentU pull video content to help you learn them, or use videos that include groups of basic words—like “Breakfast Vocabulary” or “The Days Of the Week Song“—to master useful nouns.

Family and Friends

  • mother: die Mutter
  • father: der Vater
  • sister: die Schwester
  • brother: der Bruder
  • child: das Kind
  • aunt: die Tante 
  • uncle: der Onkel
  • grandmother: die Groβmutter 
  • grandfather: der Groβvater 
  • female cousin: die Cousine
  • male cousin: der Cousin 
  • boyfriend: der Freund 
  • girlfriend: die Freundin 
  • husband: der Mann 
  • wife: die Frau 
  • male colleague: der Kollege 
  • female colleague: die Kollegin 
  • male partner: der Partner 
  • female partner: die Partnerin

If you wanted to say, “Here is my Uncle Tom and Aunt Theresa” in German, you would say, “Hier sind mein Onkel Tom und meine Tante Theresa.”

Similarly, you would say, “Sie ist meine Schwester” if you wanted to say, “She is my sister.”

Household Objects

  • house: das Haus 
  • bed: das Bett 
  • table: der Tisch 
  • door: die Tü
  • pillow/cushion: das Kissen 
  • window: das Fenster 
  • wall: die Wand 
  • floor: der Boden 
  • bedroom: das Schlafzimmer 
  • bathroom: das Badezimmer 
  • kitchen: die Küche 
  • living room: die Wohnung 
  • basement: der Keller 
  • couch: die Couch 
  • chair: der Stuhl 
  • sink: das Waschbecken 
  • toilet: die Toilette 
  • bathtub: die Badewanne 
  • shower: die Dusche 
  • lamp: die Lampe 
  • trash: der Müll 
  • refrigerator: der Kühlschrank
  • stove: der Herd 
  • microwave: der Mikrowellenherd
  • dishwasher: die Geschirrspülmaschine 
  • cabinet: das Kabinett

In German, “Ich putze die Dusche” means, “I clean the shower.”

To say, “He sits in the chair,” you would use der Stuhl to say, “Er sitzt auf dem Stuhl.”


  • car: das Auto 
  • truck: der Lustkraftwagen (LKW)
  • bus: der Bus 
  • plane: das Flugzeug 
  • train: der Zug 
  • boat: das Boot 
  • taxi: das Taxi
  • school bus: der Schulbus 
  • ticket: das Ticket 
  • pass: der Pass 
  • semi truck: der Sattelzug

Do you take the bus to work? Simply say, “Ich fahre mit dem Bus in die Arbeit.” (Literally, “I travel with the bus to work,” or more colloquially, “I take the bus to work.”)

Pilots would say, “Ich fliege das Flugzeug” to mean they are flying the plane.


  • city: die Stadt 
  • country: das Land 
  • mountain: der Berg 
  • plains: die Ebenen 
  • desert: die Wüste 
  • school: die Schule 
  • work: die Arbeit 
  • homeland: das Heimatland

Do you live auf dem Land (in the country) or in der Stadt (in the city)?


As with family and friend nouns, occupations have a masculine and feminine form.

  • pilot:
    • der Pilot
    • die Pilotin 
  • doctor:
    • der Doktor
    • die Doktorin 
  • dentist:
    • der Zahnarzt
    • die Zahnarztin 
  • librarian:
    • der Bibliothekar
    • die Bibliothekarin 
  • hairdresser:
    • der Friseur
    • die Friseurin 
  • lawyer:
    • der Rechtsanwalt
    • die Rechtsanwältin 
  • salesman/woman:
    • der Verkäufer
    • die Verkäuferin 
  • bus driver:
    • der Busfahrer
    • die Busfahrerin 
  • teacher:
    • der Lehrer
    • die Lehrerin 
  • professor:
    • der Professor
    • die Professorin 
  • assistant:
    • der Assistent
    • die Assistentin 
  • stock broker:
    • der Börsenmakler
    • die Börsenmaklerin 
  • marketer:
    • der Vermarkter
    • die Vermarkterin 
  • insurance agent:
    • der Versicherungsagent
    • die Verischerungsagentin 
  • truck driver:
    • der LKW-Fahrer
    • die LKW-Fahrerin 
  • writer:
    • der Schriftsteller
    • die Schriftstellerin 
  • editor:
    • der Redakteur
    • die Redakteurin
  • journalist:
    • der Journalist
    • die Journalistin 
  • machinist:
    • der Mechaniker
    • die Mechanikerin 
  • carpenter:
    • der Zimmermann
    • die Zimmerfrau 
  • computer programmer:
    • der Computerprogrammierer
    • die Computerprogrammiererin 
  • personal trainer:
    • der persönliche Trainer
    • die persönliche Trainerin 
  • supervisor:
    • der Vorgesetzte
    • die Vorgesetzterin 
  • boss:
    • der Chef
    • die Chefin 
  • caregiver:
    • der Pfleger
    • die Pflegerin
  • clerk:
    • der Angestellter
    • die Angestellte 
  • detective:
    • der Detektiv
    • die Detektivin 
  • police officer:
    • der Polizeibeamte
    • die Polizeibeamtin 
  • firefighter:
    • der Feuerwehrmann
    • die Feuerwehrfrau

What do your parents do?

You could say, “My father is a supervisor, and my mother is a clerk,” or “Mein Vater ist Vorgesetzte und meine Mutter ist Angestellte.”


  • breakfast: das Frühstuck 
  • lunch: das Mittagessen 
  • dinner: das Abendessen 
  • snack: der Snack 
  • dessert: das Dessert
  • cake: der Kuchen 
  • bread: das Brot 
  • milk: die Milch 
  • egg: das Ei 
  • flour: das Mehl 
  • sugar: der Zucker 
  • meat: das Fleisch 
  • turkey: der Truthahn 
  • pork: das Schweinefleisch 
  • chicken: das Huhn 
  • tofu: der Tofu 
  • salad: der Salat 
  • pizza: die Pizza 
  • cracker: die Cracker 
  • cereal: das Müsli 
  • oatmeal: das Haferflocken 
  • pancakes: die Pfannkuchen 
  • bacon: der Speck 
  • chocolate: die Schokolade 
  • fruit: das Obst 
  • vegetable: das Gemüse 
  • apple: der Aprfel 
  • carrot: die Karotte 
  • pear: die Birne 
  • banana: die Banane 
  • tomato: die Tomate 
  • potato: die Kartoffel 
  • celery: der Sellerie 
  • broccoli: der Brokkoli 
  • onion: die Zwiebel 
  • cucumber: die Gurke 
  • zucchini: die Zucchini 
  • peach: der Pfirsich 
  • nut: die Nuss
  • brussel sprouts: der Rosenkohl 
  • lasagna: die Lasagna 
  • spaghetti: die Spaghetti 
  • macaroni: die Makkaroni 
  • peanut butter: die Erdnussbutter 
  • jelly: das Gelee 
  • sandwich: das Sandwich 
  • burger: der Burger 
  • fries: die Pommes 
  • soup: die Suppe 
  • fish: der Fisch 
  • rice: der Reis 
  • beans: die Bohnen 
  • burrito: der Burrito 
  • ham: der Schinken 
  • pasta: die Pasta

Was für einen Apfel haben Sie gern? (What kind of apples do you like?)

You might say, “I like red apples,” or “Ich habe rote Äpfel gern.” It’s always good to eat your fruits and veggies!


  • dog: der Hund 
  • cat: die Katze 
  • fish: der Fisch 
  • bird: der Vogel 
  • snake: die Schlange 
  • mouse: die Maus 
  • gerbil: die Rennmaus 
  • hamster: der Hamster 
  • ferret: das Frettchen

If you wanted to say, “My bird’s name is Perry,” you would say, “Mein Vogel heiβt Perry.”

To say, “I have a brown dog,” you would need to make sure “brown” has the correct adjective ending: “Ich habe einen braunen Hund.”

Clothing Items

  • shirt: das Hemd 
  • pants: die Hose 
  • coat: der Mantel 
  • socks: die Socken 
  • shoes: die Schuhe 
  • shorts: die Shorts 
  • underwear: die Unterwäsche 
  • blouse: die Bluse 
  • bra: der Büstenhalter (BH, for short!)
  • jeans: die Jeans 
  • belt: der Gürtel 
  • hat: der Hut 
  • tie: die Krawatte 
  • dress: das Kleid 
  • skirt: der Rock 
  • boots: die Stiefel

Welche Farbe hat dein Hemd? (What color is your shirt?)

Mein Hemd ist blau. (My shirt is blue.)

Haben Sie meine Krawatte gesehen? (Have you seen my tie?)


  • baseball: der Baseball 
  • basketball: der Basketball 
  • soccer: der Fuβball 
  • football: der Football 
  • hockey: das Hockey 
  • rugby: das Rugby 
  • tennis: das Tennis 
  • lacrosse: das Lacrosse 
  • cricket: das Cricket 
  • volleyball: der Volleyball 
  • golf: der Golf

Welcher Sport haben Sie besser, das Hockey oder den Golf? (What sport do you like better, hockey or golf?)

Ich habe leider beide nicht gern. Ich finde den Golf langweilig. (Unfortunately, I don’t like either. I think golf is boring.)

Personal Belongings

  • purse: der Geldbeutel 
  • cellphone: das Handy 
  • keys: die Schlüssel 
  • wallet: das Portemonnaie
  • money: das Geld 
  • watch: die Uhr 
  • jewelry: der Schmuck 
  • chapstick: der Lippenstift
  • bag: die Tasche 
  • laptop: der Laptop 
  • iPod: der iPod 
  • MP3 player: der MP3-Player 
  • notebook: das Notebook 
  • credit card: die Kreditkarte 
  • driver’s license: der Führerschein

Wo haben Sie deinen Schmuck gekauft? (Where did you buy your jewelry?)

Ich habe deine Tasche gern. (I really like your bag.)


You will end up using a lot of the above German nouns in conversations and writing.

So start here and do your best to memorize as many as you can!

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