German slang word of the year 2022 chosen by Langenscheidt dictionary

German slang word of the year 2022 chosen by Langenscheidt dictionary

German publisher Langenscheidt has released the much-awaited winner and runners up for slang word of the year 2022. 

Langenscheidt German slang word of the year 2022

Every year German publishing company Langenscheidt releases its youth slang word of the year (Jugendwort des Jahres). On Tuesday the company, based in Berlin, announced that the 2022 German slang word of the year was “smash”, meaning to have sex with someone. The person who is sexually desired can also be “a smash”. 

The English word has made its way into the vocabulary of German teens following the popularity of the app game “Smash or Pass”, in which players are suggested a partner, often a celebrity or fictional character, and swipe to “smash or pass” on their phone. It could be described as a fantasy version of Tinder or, for millennials, a simplified version of the conversation sleepover game “Snog, Marry, Avoid”.

While “smash or pass” was first defined by Urban Dictionary in the mid-2010s, the phrase had a renaissance in January 2022 after TikTokers started uploading videos assessing the “smash or pass-ability” of celebrities and fictional characters. Critics of the game suggest that it is a modern variety of “rankings lists” passed around by students at high school or Mark Zuckerberg’s predecessor to Facebook, FaceMash, a website he designed to rank the attractiveness of women at his university.

Langenscheidt slang word runners up and previous winners

“Smash” won its 2022 slang word of the year title with 43 percent of the poll of German speaking youngsters. In second place with 33 percent, came the German word “bodenlos”, literally “bottomless”, meaning abysmal or unfathomably terrible. In third place German prevailed over the youth’s tendency to adopt English slang, with the word “Macher”. “Macher”, literally “doer”, received the remaining 24 percent of the vote and is used to describe someone who “gets things done”.

The amount of time that kids and teenagers in Germany spend on the internet has seen more and more German slang be adopted from English. Langenscheidts’ 2021 winner was a Denglisch word with its own equivalent in German, “cringe” (Fremdschämen).

The same goes for second place, awarded to “sus” from the English word “suspicious”, and the 2020 winner “lost” adopted by German teens and used in the same context as in English for example “Ich fühle mich total lost” (I feel totally lost). If you're still learning German and already speak English, it might not be as hard as you think to impress the youth of today.

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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