This is the German word of 2022

This is the German word of 2022

The German Language Society has crowned the word of the year, which a jury in Hesse has decided linguistically reflects the political, economic and social life in Germany in 2022.

German word of 2022

A jury from the German Language Society (GfdS) has named Zeitenwende as the German word of 2022. The term, which can be translated as “sea change”or “era change”, was used by Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a speech following Vladimir Putin’s February invasion of Ukraine. In his speech Scholz called the invasion, “eine Zeitenwende in der Geschichte unseres Kontinents” (“A sea change in the history of our continent.")

The Ukraine war has come to shape much of 2022, not just in Germany’s foreign policy, but the everyday lives of the German population who have been hit by consequential skyrocketing cost of energy and rising inflation

Scholz’s Zeitenwende policies 

When Olaf Scholz was elected as Angela Merkel’s successor in September 2021, the SPD politician planned to make little change to the military policy maintained during Merkel’s 16-year chancellorship. Merkel’s government attempted to fulfil the NATO-established target of assigning 2 percent of GDP to defence policy by 2024.

However, when Putin instigated his invasion, the Scholz government had only committed 1,5 percent. With Germany’s armed forces consequently underfunded, amid rising international pressure Scholz had only 48 hours to reimagine the country’s defence policy - his Zeitenwende.

The Chancellor pledged 2 percent of GDP would go to defence funding, although with rising inflation this percentage can only supply Germany with decreasing amounts of military equipment. Another aspect was the leader’s announced commitments was to develop the country’s renewable energy systems.

2022 runners up for German word of the year

The top 10 selected were words which, in the opinion of the jury, have linguistically determined political, economic and social life in Germany over the past year. The majority of this year’s runner-up words were also related to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the ripples it has caused across Germany and Europe. 

Krieg um Frieden” (War in the name of peace) and “Gaspreisbremse” referring to Germany’s energy price cap - instituted to cushion the impact of the country’s unstable and limited access to Russian gas supplies - took third and second place. 

The 10 German Words of the Year in 2022 are:

  1. Zeitenwende (sea change)
  2. Krieg um Frieden (a war over peace)
  3. Gaspreisbremse (gas price cap)
  4. Inflationsschmerz (inflation ache)
  5. Klimakleber (climate stickers)
  6. Doppel-Wumms (double whammy)
  7. neue Normalität (new normal)
  8. 9-Euro-Ticket 
  9. Glühwein-WM (Glühwein World Cup)
  10. Waschlappentipps (energy saving sponge bath tips)
Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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