101 Useful Abbreviations in German

Add German abbreviations to your vocabulary and communicate as fast as a native speaker.

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By Mathias Neubauer · March 12, 2024 · 8 minute read

Learning abbreviations in German can be a game changer in your language learning journey since German speakers often avoid using the full spelling of longer terms. Instead, there are lots of options to abbreviate them, which totally makes sense considering how long German words can be. It really comes in handy to use the many two- or three-letter German abbreviations!

To make things easier for you, we've compiled a list of 101 common German abbreviations. We’ll cover typical short forms and German acronyms (abbreviations made of the first letter of each word in the name of something, such as NATO for North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

German text abbreviations

First, let's take a look at the very frequent German abbreviations that you'll encounter in everyday text. These are the language shortcuts that add efficiency and flair to written communication.

From the widely used z.B. (for example) to the typical German abbreviation bzw. (respectively), the table below deciphers the German initials that play a key role in shaping the tone and length of German written text.

German text abbreviations examples

German abbreviation Meaning English meaning
z.B. zum Beispiel for example, for instance
bspw. beispielsweise for example, for instance
etc. et cetera and so on
usw. und so weiter and so on
u.a. unter anderem among other things
v.a. vor allem especially
u.v.m. or uvm. und vieles mehr and much more
u.Ä. und Ähnliches and the like
o.Ä. oder Ähnliches or the like
bzgl. or bez. bezüglich regarding
u.U. unter Umständen under certain circumstances
bzw. beziehungsweise respectively
ggf. gegebenenfalls if applicable
evtl. eventuell possibly
vgl. vergleiche compare
s.o. siehe oben see above

Here are some examples you could encounter in written German using these abbreviations:

  • Ich mache gerne Sport, z.B. Schwimmen, Fußball uvm. (I like to do sports, for example swimming, soccer and much more.)
  • Am Wochenende regnet es evtl. (It might rain on the weekend.)
  • Ich schaue gerne Filme im Kino, v.a. Komödien u.Ä. (I like watching movies at the cinema, especially comedies and the like.)

German SMS abbreviations

Now, let's enter the world of expressive German text messages as we explore German SMS abbreviations. They’re important in day-to-day conversation since they add a touch of informality to online texting. From quick greetings to playful expressions, these SMS abbreviations make communicating in the digital world easier.

For more examples of everyday, informal expressions, take a look at our guide to German conversation.

In the table below, you’ll see that several German acronyms, like lol, are borrowed from English, so the meaning is the same. This is certainly a result of this era of global communication!

German SMS abbreviations examples

German abbreviation Meaning English meaning
omg oh mein Gott oh my God
lol laughing out loud laughing out loud
yolo you only live once you only live once
btw by the way by the way
fyi for your information for your information
i.O. in Ordnung okay
kA keine Ahnung no idea
kP keinen Plan no idea, no plan
mMn meiner Meinung nach in my opinion
VG Viele Grüße many greetings
LG Liebe Grüße kind regards
BG Beste Grüße best regards
MfG Mit freundlichen Grüßen with kind regards

Time-related German abbreviations

Another category is the world of time-related abbreviations. These are the short and snappy expressions used to talk about different time-related ideas. Whether you're planning a meeting, attending a sporting event or looking for a restaurant, these shortcuts are key to making time-related conversations clear and straightforward.

Want to learn more about German time expressions? Read our dedicated guide to telling the time in German and our tips for memorizing the German days of the week.

As you’ll see in the table below, some of these German abbreviations are pretty similar to the English ones, especially the German month abbreviations.

Examples of time-related abbreviations

German abbreviation Meaning English meaning
Sek. Sekunde second
Min. Minute minute
Std. Stunde hour
T. Tag day
W. Woche week
M. Monat month
J. Jahr year
vorm. vormittags before noon
nachm. nachmittags in the afternoon
tägl. täglich daily
mtl. monatlich monthly
Jh. Jahrhundert century
z.Zt. zur Zeit at the moment, currently
Mo Montag Monday
Di Dienstag Tuesday
Mi Mittwoch Wednesday
Do Donnerstag Thursday
Fr Freitag Friday
Sa Samstag Saturday
So Sonntag Sunday
WE Wochenende weekend
Jan Januar January
Feb Februar February
Mär März March
Apr April April
Mai (no abbreviation) Mai May
Jun Juni June
Jul Juli July
Aug August August
Sep September September
Okt Oktober October
Nov November November
Dez Dezember December

Let’s have a look at some examples that you will likely encounter in German-speaking countries:

  • Das Meeting ist geplant für Mi, 3 Uhr nachm. (The meeting is scheduled for Wed, 3pm.)
  • Mo-Fr tägl. geöffnet von 10:00 – 18:00. (Mon-Fri open daily from 10:00 – 18:00)
  • Bitte geben Sie ihr Geburtsdatum an: TT/MM/JJJJ (Please enter your date of birth: DD/MM/YYYY)
  • Unser Restaurant hat z.Zt. am WE geschlossen. (Our restaurant is currently closed on the weekends.)

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Administrative terms

Dealing with paperwork in German is another area full of abbreviations. Learning all of these can be tough, so we’ve provided you with several of the most common ones in the table below. Hopefully these will make your life easier when reading administrative documents!

German abbreviations in paperwork

German abbreviation Meaning English meaning
inkl. inklusive including
exkl. exklusive exclusive of
Nr. Nummer number
i.d.R. in der Regel usually
i.V.m. in Verbindung mit in connection with
i.A. in Auftrag on behalf of
zzgl. zuzüglich additional
MwSt. Mehrwertsteuer value added tax
GmbH Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung limited liability company
AG Aktiengesellschaft joint-stock company

People-related German abbreviations

Now let's explore some abbreviations German speakers use to write about people. The following ones are very frequently used in everyday German, so you’ll definitely want to keep them in mind.

Examples of people-related abbreviations

German abbreviation Meaning English meaning
Fr. Frau Mrs.
Hr. Herr Mr.
Dr. Doktor doctor
Prof. Professor professor
Ing. Ingenieur engineer engineer
geb. geboren born
verh. verheiratet married
p.P. pro Person per person

Accommodation-related German abbreviations

German acronyms such as EZ (single room) simplify descriptions in the hospitality industry, making communication more efficient when it comes to accommodation. In this section, we'll look at the ways German speakers refer to housing-related terms. Whether you're renting a hotel room for a vacation or an apartment for a longer stay, the following German abbreviations make it easy to talk about housing and living arrangements.

Examples of housing-related abbreviations

German abbreviation Meaning English meaning
Str. Straße street
Whg. Wohnung flat
Zi. Zimmer room
EZ Einzelzimmer single room
DZ Doppelzimmer double room
EG Erdgeschoss ground floor
OG Obergeschoss upper floor
DG Dachgeschoss top floor
Hzg. Heizung heating
NK Nebenkosten additional costs
WG Wohngemeinschaft shared flat

Here is an example of an apartment posting in German that you could find online:

  • 2-Zi-Whg. in der Max-Mustermann-Str. 5
  • (2-room apartment at Max-Mustermann Street 5)
  • Miete: 800€ (rent: 800€)
  • NK: 200€, Hzg. inkl. (additional costs: 200€, heating included)
  • Etage: 3. OG (3rd floor)
  • WG-tauglich (suitable for shared flat)

General German acronyms and abbreviations

On the final leg of our ride through German abbreviations, let’s look at a mix of acronyms used in different areas of the German language. Some of them might seem very specific, but you will definitely encounter them in daily life. So be sure you review the terms in the table below before you go!

German abbreviation Meaning English meaning
TV Fernsehen television
BRD Bundesrepublik Deutschland Federal Republic of Germany
FAQ häufig gestellte Fragen frequently asked questions
Kfz Kraftfahrzeug motor vehicle
Lkw Lastkraftwagen truck
EU Europäische Union European Union
ÖPNV Öffentlicher Personennahverkehr public transportation
WC Toilette toilet
TU Technische Universität University of Technology
FH Fachhochschule University of Applied Science

Abbreviations in German wrap-up

As we wrap up our review of these 101 useful abbreviations in German, let's reflect on the language shortcuts we’ve covered.

Our German abbreviations list serves as a handy tool for effective written communication in various situations. We've covered a wide range of abbreviations in German, from practical German acronyms to days of the week in German abbreviations, that will make your life much easier when reading and writing. From everyday topics to specialized fields, these shortcuts bring a touch of brevity and precision to the German language.

The more you add these tools into your language toolkit, the easier and more efficient your German writing will be. So as you keep learning new words, don’t forget to also learn their catchy abbreviations!

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