90+ German abbreviations and their meanings

From casual to formal, here is a large collection of German abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms that you need to know to improve your understanding of German.

German Abbreviations


Abbreviations shorten.

German abbreviations and acronyms shorten even more.

They condense what would have been an otherwise complex and long German word to a simple and quick term that delivers the desired intent of our thoughts without boring or taking too much time for both the listener and the speaker.

It’s like building a house with pre-assembled walls, such that you don’t have to lay every stone or plank of wood on top of another, apply cement on each edge or drill nails on every overlap, which in turn drastically reduces your building time.

But why should you learn German abbreviations and acronyms, really?

To explain that, I’m going to ask you to look at the following sentence:

Her friend is an interesting person. She loves nature and freedom.

Du wirst sie oft am Freikörperkulturstrand finden.

Now look at the same sentence again:

Du wirst sie oft am FKK-Strand finden.

(Which means, “You will often find her on the nudist beach”).

Can you see the brevity and convenience of the abbreviation?


Another example:

Our first TV channel is officially called:

Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland‘.

But it would be pretty stupid if I said to my wife:

“Honey, please turn on the ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland‘, because the news is about to start.

That’s why we call it ARD.

ARD - Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen


But more than just creating shortcuts, German abbreviations are part of the German culture, and they create some kind of mystery, so that even if you don’t know what they mean, you instantly become curious and can faintly guess what they mean from the context of their usage.

Besides, they also help in adding to your vocabulary which in turn quickens your German learning and reduces the time it takes for you to become fluent.

But if you really want to be fluent in German, I can show you a method that will make you fluent within 6 – 8 months like 87% of my students. 

Click the link and find out how to learn the German language effectively. 

That aside, now let’s take a deeper look at different categories of German abbreviations and acronyms.

German abbreviations and acronyms that will make you fluent faster

German acronyms and abbreviations for mobility

PKW – Personenkraftwagen
‘personal’ car

LKW – Lastkraftwagen

S-Bahn – Stadtbahn
suburban train / city train

U-Bahn – Untergrundbahn
metro / subway / tube / underground railway

The following two abbreviations are often seen on signs.

Bhf. – Bahnhof

Hbf. – Hauptbahnhof
main station


Meine Freundin fährt immer mit der U-Bahn zur Arbeit.
My girlfriend always takes the subway to work.

Mist, wir hätten am U-Bhf. Alexanderplatz aussteigen müssen.
Crap, we should have got off at Alexanderplatz subway station.

Mein Vater ist LKW-Fahrer von Beruf.
My father is a truck driver by profession.

Gestern wurde mein Vater von einem Polizisten angehalten.

Yesterday my father was stopped by a police officer.

Der Polizist schrie ihn an: “Merken Sie nicht, dass Sie ihre Ladung verlieren?” Da schrie mein Vater zurück: “Sehen Sie nicht, dass ich ein Streufahrzeug fahre?”

The policeman yelled at him, “Don’t you notice that you are losing your load?” Then my father yelled back: “Can’t you see that I’m driving a gritting vehicle (salt truck)?”


Law-related German acronyms

GG – Grundgesetz
constitution / basic law

BG – Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch
German Civil Code

BGH – Bundesgerichtshof
Federal Court of Justice (of Germany)

KfzPflVV –  Kraftfahrzeug-Pflichtversicherungsverordnung (Verordnung über den Versicherungsschutz in der Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung)
insurance regulations for a car

Fun note – when Germans are in a good mood, they can conjure up a word that is more than all the letters of the alphabet and pronounce it faster than you could say, “wait, what?”

If you want to see what I mean, click here to see the longest word in German


Hr. – Herr

Fr. – Frau

Frl. – Fräulein

Note: The salutation Fräulein is not used that often these days. However, elderly people still like to use it to be polite.


Wo ist Hr. Meier?
Where is Mr. Meier?

Ist Fr. Müller im Büro?
Is Mrs. Müller in the office?

Wird Frl. Julia heute kommen?
Will Miss Julia come today?

Marital status / family connections

geb. – geboren
born, née
You will find this after a woman’s married name and after her maiden name.

verh. / vh. – verheiratet

unverh. – unverheiratet
unmarried, single

led. – ledig
unmarried, single

Wwe/Wwer – Witwe/Witwer

German abbreviations for time

Abbreviations for time

Sek. – Sekunde

Min. – Minute

Std. – Stunde

tägl. – täglich

mtl. monatlich

inzw. – inzwischen
in between

abds. – abends
in the evening

Jh. – Jahrhundert


Essen Sie tägl. 500g Salat.
Eat 500g of salad daily.

Der Tag hat 24 Std. oder 86400 Sek.
The day has 24 hours or 86400 seconds.

Is that correct? Do the math!

More German Acronyms

ARD Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
It is the first television channel.

GmbH Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung
Company with limited liability.

AG Aktiengesellschaft
stock company

DFB Deutscher Fußball-Bund
German Football Association

value added tax (VAT)

DDR Deutsche Demokratische Republik
Former East Germany

Kripo – Kriminalpolizei
criminal investigation department / detective squad


Der DFB hat weltweit viele Fans.
The DFB has many fans worldwide.

Die Porsche AG produziert schnelle Autos.
Porsche AG produces fast cars.

German abbreviations and acronyms for houses

German abbreviations for housing

The following abbreviations could be very important when looking for an apartment and looking at the ads in the newspaper.

Or do you know immediately what the following means?

Schöne ruhige AB-Whg. mit 3 Zi und KDB, 75qm Wfl nur 300 EUR KM.

It means:

Nice and quiet apartment in an old building with 3 rooms and kitchen, shower and bath, 75 sqm living space only 300 EUR cold rent.

Let’s take a look at some of the abbreviations you might find in apartment advertisements in German daily newspapers.

Whg. – Wohnung
apartment / flat

Bj – Baujahr
year of construction

NB – Neubau
new building

AB – Altbau
old building

Zi – Zimmer

KDB – Küche Dusche Bad
kitchen, shower, bathroom

AWC – Außen-WC 
outside toilet

P – Parkplatz
parking spot

TG – Tiefgarage
underground car park

EG – Erdgeschoss

ETG – Etage
floor / story

EBK – Einbauküche
built-in kitchen

HK – Heizkosten
heating costs

WM – Warmmiete
warm rent (net cold rent + operating costs and heating costs)

KM – Kaltmiete
net rent (rent exclusive of other costs e.g. heating)

NK – Nebenkosten
utilities / service charges

KT – Kaution
rental bond / (security) deposit

VB – Verhandlungsbasis
price negotiable

FP – Festpreis
fixed price

NR – Nichtraucher

Wfl – Wohnfläche
living space

Two more examples

Wohnungsanzeige 2:
110m² Wfl direkt neben der Autobahn, nur an NR zu vermieten. VB 1500 EUR WM.

Apartment advertisement 2:
110m² of living space right next to the motorway, only for rent to non-smokers. Basis for negotiation: EUR 1,500 warm rent.

Wohnungsanzeige: 3 – Ein richtiges Schnäppchen
AB 1 Zi 12qm, Bj 1912, AWC im Hinterhof, FP 1.199 EUR pro Monat.

Apartment advertisement: 3 – A real bargain
Apartment in an old building, 1 room 12m², built in 1912, outside toilet in the backyard, fixed price 1199 EUR per month.


German grammar abbreviations

Adj. – Adjektiv

Adv. – Adverb

Art. – Artikel

fem. – feminin (weiblich)

Fut. – Futur (Zukunftsform)
future tense

HS – Hauptsatz
main clause

Imp. – Imperativ (Befehlsform)

mask. – maskulin (männlich)

neutr. – neutral

NS – Nebensatz
subordinate clause

Pers.pron. – Personalpronomen
personal pronoun

Pl. – Plural (Mehrzahl)

Poss.pron. – Possessivpronomen (besitzanzeigendes Fürwort)
possessive pronoun 

Rel.satz – Relativsatz
relative clause

Sg. – Singular (Einzahl)

The 4 German cases

Nom. – Nominativ

Dat. – Dativ

Akk. / AKK – Akkusativ

Gen. – Genitiv

German abbreviations for measurements

German abbreviations for measurements

mm – Millimeter

cm – Zentimeter

m – Meter

km – Kilometer

ccm – Kubikzentimeter
cubic centimeter

kg – Kilogramm

kW – Kilowatt

Mio. – Million

cal – Kalorie


Die Stadt ist 20km von hier entfernt.
The city is 20 km away from here.

1mm ist kürzer als 1m und noch kürzer als 1cm.
1mm is shorter than 1m and even shorter than 1cm.

Other common German abbreviations 

Abb.  – Abbildung

Abk. – Abkürzung

Aufl. – Auflage

b.w – bitte wenden
please turn over

beisp. – beispielweise
for example

Bsp. – Beispiel

bzw. – beziehungsweise
respectively, or

ca. – circa
approximately, about

d.h. – das heißt 
i.e, that is

dazw. – dazwischen

desgl. – desgleichen
likewise, same

ehem. – ehemals, ehemalig
former, formerly

eigtl. – eigentlich
really, actually

einschl. – einschließlich
inclusiv, including

entspr. – entsprechend
accordingly, corresponding

etw. – etwas

evtl. – eventuell
perhaps, maybe

f./ff – folgende Seite
following page

ggf. – gegebenenfalls
possibly, if applicable

ggü. – gegenüber
opposite, across from, towards

i.D. – im Durchschnitt
on average

inkl. inklusive
inclusive of, including

kompl. – komplett

m.a.W – mit anderen Worten
in other words

m.E. – meines Erachtens
in my opinion

m.M/m.M.n. – meiner Meinung, meiner Meinung nach
in my opinion

m.W. – meines Wissens
as far as I know

o.ä. – oder ähnliche(s)
and the like

Pkt. – Punkt
point, dot

St. – Stück

Tel. – Telefon

u. – und

u.a. – unter anderen
among other things

usw. – und so weiter
and so on

vgl. – vergleiche

Wdh. – Wiederholung

z.B. – zum Beispiel
for example

z.T. – zum Teil
in Part, partly

zzgl. – zuzüglich
plus, in addition

Nicknames and abbreviations for first names

Sometimes we’re so lazy and even shorten our first names.

Here are a few examples:

Alex – Alexander
Anna, Belle, Bella – Annabelle/Annabella
Becca – Rebecca
Ben – Benjamin
Caro – Carolina
Hanna – Johanna
Isa – Isabella
Jojo – Johannes
Jule – Juliane
Leo – Leonie
Lily – Liliana
Lina – Paulina
Lotta – Karlotta
Lotte – Charlotte
Max – Maximilien
Suse – Susanne

And we often add an “i” to the shortened first name.

We think it sounds kind of cute.

Angi – Angelina oder Angela
Anni – Annalena
Benni – Benjamin
Dani – Daniella
Elli – Elisabeth/Elena
Emmi – Emily/Emilia
Fabi – Fabian
Kathi – Katharina/Kathrin
Moni – Monika
Olli – Oliver
Steffi – Stefanie

You should use these abbreviations to say certain things quickly, and by doing so you free up your brain to think about other important parts of the language such as structure and tenses.

This in turn will quicken your way to speaking fluently, especially if you practice using them in your conversations and texts.

But if you really want to be fluent in a way that you don’t have to cram and remember abbreviations, I have a method that can make you fluent in 6 – 8 months the easy way.

No grammar classes, no tests, no fluff.

Let me remind you that I have over 12 years’ experience in teaching German to international students, and the method I created is so effective that my students have a success rate of 87% in 6 – 8 months.

You will find the secret to that kind of success once you give my unconventional method a try.

Here are some basic lessons to get started:

🔗 Dive Into German ABCs
🔗 der, die, das (Secret Decoded)
🔗 Unravel 'is' in German
🔗 Master 'sein' and 'haben'
🔗 Explore Umlauts Ä, Ö, Ü

For more depth, try these selected intermediate lessons:

🔗 Spice Up With Adjectives
🔗 Tense Mastery: Past to Future!
🔗 Crack Prefixes & Verbs
🔗 Clarify 'das' vs 'dass'

Blog Articles e.g.

🔗 German Work Permit: What You Need to Know and Do in Advance!

🔗 Palaces and Castles in Germany from Neuschwanstein (Cinderella’s) to Frankenstein’s Castle

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