9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[jur-muh n] /ˈdʒɜr mən/
of or relating to Germany, its inhabitants, or their language.
a native or inhabitant of Germany.
a descendant of a native of Germany.
Also called High German. an Indo-European language that is based on a High German dialect, is official in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and is also widely used as an international language for scholarship and science.
Abbreviation: G, G.
Linguistics. any variety of West Germanic speech native to Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.
(usually lowercase) an elaborate social dance resembling a cotillion.
(lowercase) New England and South Atlantic States. a dancing party featuring the german.
Origin of German
1520-30; < Latin Germānus German; cognate with Greek Germanoí (plural)
Related forms
anti-German, noun, adjective
half-German, adjective
non-German, adjective, noun
pre-German, adjective, noun
pro-German, adjective, noun
pseudo-German, adjective, noun
quasi-German, adjective
un-German, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for germans
  • The germans were ultimately pushed back toward the german border.
  • The germans supported the bpr, which lasted for about ten months.
  • West germans and citizens of other western countries could in general visit east germany.
  • germans remaining in the town were expelled and replaced with poles.
  • She had no wish to be imprisoned by the germans, and fled to sweden.
  • Thousands of east germans used this possibility to flee to the west.
British Dictionary definitions for germans


(US) a dance consisting of complicated figures and changes of partners
Word Origin
C19: shortened from German cotillion


(used in combination)
  1. having the same parents as oneself: a brother-german
  2. having a parent that is a brother or sister of either of one's own parents: cousin-german
a less common word for germane
Word Origin
C14: via Old French germain, from Latin germānus of the same race, from germen sprout, offshoot


the official language of Germany and Austria and one of the official languages of Switzerland; the native language of approximately 100 million people. It is an Indo-European language belonging to the West Germanic branch, closely related to English and Dutch. There is considerable diversity of dialects; modern standard German is a development of Old High German, influenced by Martin Luther's translation of the Bible See also High German, Low German
a native, inhabitant, or citizen of Germany
a person whose native language is German: Swiss Germans, Volga Germans
denoting, relating to, or using the German language
relating to, denoting, or characteristic of any German state or its people
prefixes Germano- Teuto-
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for germans



"of the same parents or grandparents," c.1300, from Old French germain "closely related" (12c.), from Latin germanus "full, own (of brothers and sisters); one's own brother; genuine, real," related to germen (genitive germinis) "sprout, bud," dissimilated from PIE *gen(e)-men-, from root *gene- "to give birth, beget" (see genus). Your cousin-german (also first cousin) is the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt; your children and your first cousin's are second cousins to one another; to you, your first cousin's children are first cousin once removed.



"Teuton, member of the Germanic tribes," 1520s (plural Germayns attested from late 14c.), from Latin Germanus, first attested in writings of Julius Caesar, who used Germani to designate a group of tribes in northeastern Gaul, origin unknown, probably the name of an individual tribe. It is perhaps of Gaulish (Celtic) origin, perhaps originally meaning "noisy" (cf. Old Irish garim "to shout") or "neighbor" (cf. Old Irish gair "neighbor"). The earlier English word was Almain (early 14c.) or Dutch.

Þe empere passede from þe Grees to þe Frenschemen and to þe Germans, þat beeþ Almayns. [John of Trevisa, translation of Higdon's Polychronicon, 1387]
Their name for themselves was the root word of modern German Deutsch (see Dutch). Roman writers also used Teutoni as a German tribal name, and Latin writers after about 875 commonly refer to the German language as teutonicus. See also Alemanni and Teutonic. As an adjective, from 1550s. The German shepherd (dog) (1922) translates German deutscher Schäferhund. German Ocean as an old name for the North Sea translates Ptolemy. German measles attested by 1856.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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