Langenscheidt announces German youth word of the year 2023

Langenscheidt announces German youth word of the year 2023

German publishing company Langenscheidt has announced the Youth Word of the Year for 2023 at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair. There were some new additions and some recognisable favourites.

"Goofy" crowned Jugendwort des Jahres

The youth of today has spoken and they’re feeling silly. With a special announcement at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair, German publisher Langscheidt has announced that “Goofy” has been voted Youth Word of the Year (Jugendwort des Jahres) 2023.

Already familiar to English speakers, the adjective has also been adopted into German slang to describe someone who is clumsy, a bit strange or silly. This definition deviates a bit from the English, which describes a harmlessly foolish, but not necessarily weird character.

The winning word is decided each year by a vote, in which only those aged between 10 and 20 years old are allowed to participate. The result marks the second coming of “Goofy” which first picked up popularity in 1950s US American culture thanks to Walt Disney’s famous cartoon character.

Runners up for German youth word 2023

Recent years have seen English or Denglisch words feature heavily among the winners and runners-up for Jugenwort des Jahres, but the 2023 list makes for refreshing reading with a sprinkle of old favourites.

Auf lock” was a hot contender, meaning “auf locker”, to be at ease, chilled out or laid back. On the not so laid back end was “Darf er so?” short for “Darf er das einfach so sagen?”, what might be translated as “Can he even say that?” or “Is he even allowed to say that?”. 

Another honourable mention was “Digga(h)”, a word meaning “mate” or “bro” that has been commonly used in German slang since the 1990s and is short for “Dicker” which literally translates as “fat man”. The word’s spelling varies a lot across the country, including “Diggah”, “Diggha” or “Dikka”, hence Langenscheid’s tentative addition of the “(h)”.

Jugendwort des Jahres 2023

These words were the remaining favourites among kids and teens in Germany in 2023:

  • Kerl*in - An affectionate term similar to “chap” or “fella” in English, but with a gender-neutral twist with the addition of the German gender star, which means the name can be applied to anyone.
  • NPC - Short for "Non-Playable-Character", this term is also used in English to mean someone who is lacking in personality or independent thought, i.e. a character who you cannot play as in a video game.
  • Rizz - Short for "charisma" and best translated as “a charmer” in English, someone who had the capabilities to charm or flirt with their audience.
  • Side eye - To look out the corner of one’s eye with a look of suspicion or judgement.
  • Slay - Another one that has been around for a while now, meaning to impress or do well.
  • Yolo - Over 10 years since it took the top spot, YOLO, aka “You Only Live Once”, made a return to the charts.

You can find the full Langenscheid list here.

Thumb image credit: Dusan Petkovic /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



Leave a comment