Definition of Germanic in English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting the branch of the Indo-European language family that includes English, German, Dutch, Frisian, and the Scandinavian languages.

    • ‘One of these Germanic languages - Frisian - evolved into English.’
    • ‘All this is linguistic nonsense. ‘Saxon’ is a Germanic word probably coming from the name of the weapon they used, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.’
    • ‘It's a very old word, with cognates in most Germanic languages.’
    • ‘The reason why we use those words is because moose has an Algonquin word root and goose has a Germanic word root so the plurals are different.’
    • ‘In linguistics, the terms Scandinavian and North Germanic both refer to a subgroup of the Germanic language family.’
    • ‘Many of the events are legendary and bear similarities to other Germanic historical and mythological literature in Old English, Norse and German.’
    • ‘The Sueves have left very few linguistic traces of their Germanic tongue because they adopted the language of the Romanised Celts, who spoke a vulgar Latin that was gradually changing into Galician.’
    • ‘A similar phenomenon occurred in Old English, in which very many abstract words were formed by compounds of native Germanic words, instead of by borrowings from Latin.’
    • ‘In the early nineteenth century, language historians identified German as a member of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages.’
    • ‘Frisian is a Germanic language similar to both Dutch and English.’
    • ‘Dutch, a Germanic language, is the official language in all twelve provinces of the Netherlands.’
    • ‘Finnish is a euphonious language with many Germanic and Slavic loan words.’
    • ‘Icelandic is a Germanic language related to Norwegian.’
    • ‘The name ‘Walloon’ derives from a Germanic word meaning ‘foreign,’ and refers to the Roman Empire.’
    • ‘This makes it very difficult for foreigners to learn because it doesn't follow Latin, Romantic or Germanic grammar.’
    • ‘The Norwegian language, along with Danish and Swedish, belongs to the mutually comprehensible northern branch of the Germanic family of languages.’
    • ‘Linguists also point out that the phenomenon is facilitated by the Germanic roots of many English words.’
    • ‘There are inflexions for number and tense, the vocabulary is Latin or Germanic for the most part, with all the baggage those words bring with them.’
    • ‘But at some point the common Germanic word for ‘dog’ took on a more specialized meaning and was replaced, as the general term, by dog, a word whose origin we do not know.’
    • ‘It would be unexpected to see this suffix added to a Germanic word - so his etymology is correct.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to or denoting the peoples of ancient northern and western Europe speaking Germanic languages.
      • ‘As western Europe fell to the Germanic invasions, imperial power shifted to the Byzantine Empire, that is, the eastern part of the Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople.’
      • ‘Ludwig had first been introduced to ancient Germanic tales by his governess and later became obsessed with the dark stories.’
      • ‘This was the first crucial test of his war strategy: he proclaimed the liberty of the Gauls, those Germanic tribes who had settled in northern Italy and who had not been long under Roman rule.’
      • ‘In Europe, there is a fighting chance because of a strong widespread environmental ethic at least in the Scandinavian and Germanic countries.’
      • ‘The strongest and most formal toasting traditions are found in the eastern European, Germanic and Scandinavian countries.’
      • ‘The Dutch are primarily of Germanic stock with some Gallo-Celtic mixture.’
      • ‘The Welshmen of the code of laws clearly referred to the British inhabitants of the west country taken over and governed according to Germanic law by the West Saxon king.’
      • ‘Across those Alps, in the 6th century, came a Germanic tribe called the Lombards.’
      • ‘During the Germanic migration the north-eastern provinces of the Roman Empire suffered greatly.’
      • ‘He thus began that link between pope and Germanic king that was to dominate the notion of the Western Christian empire for centuries.’
      • ‘In about A.D.300, Attila the Hun invaded what is now Germany and pushed Germanic tribes into northern Belgium.’
      • ‘The Swedes are a Scandinavian people descended from Germanic tribes who emigrated to the region in ancient times, displacing the indigenous Sami.’
      • ‘And, as we will see, feudalism itself grew out of this combination of Germanic custom and Roman law.’
      • ‘The Christmas tree, for example, harks back to a northern Germanic fertility festival and feast of the dead when greenery was hung up in the home to warn off evil spirits.’
      • ‘It also spread throughout medieval Europe, particularly among Germanic peoples, who also developed bowed variants.’
      • ‘Holy history was replaced by an ancient Germanic mythology.’
      • ‘Derived from traditional Germanic law, feudal law was very different from Roman law.’
      • ‘Einhard tells us that Charlemagne himself commanded that ancient Germanic songs should be preserved.’
      • ‘There are some connections to the Germanic Indo-Europeans also.’
      • ‘Her ancestries from her father's side traced back to the ancient Germanic tribes known as the Visi-Goths, who had lived in this land even before the Romans, and were all of a blue-eyed breed.’
  • 2Having characteristics of or attributed to Germans or Germany.

    ‘she had an almost Germanic regard for order’
    • ‘The design is functional rather than adventurous, and speaks of Germanic solidity rather than French or Italian design flair.’
    • ‘Germans get to choose which definite article to put before an English word but they just cannot get Germanic substitutes for so many business terms.’
    • ‘Its origins are Germanic; it was in Germany that Sartre encountered the philosophy indelibly associated with his name.’
    • ‘So they went for a Cardinal, a hardedged enforcer with a Germanic preoccupation with discipline and order.’
    • ‘If that doesn't work, remember this Germanic tip I was told back in the early days of my vinous education - the harder the name the better the wine.’
    • ‘Originally a German dialect, Pennsylvania Dutch was spoken by Germanic settlers in southeastern Pennsylvania.’
    • ‘It's probably not traditional, but the strudel concept is Germanic enough that I can label it German and get away with it.’
    • ‘Likewise, his Daphnis is characterized by precision, and by concern for form, attributes which seem more Germanic than French.’
    • ‘Lev was a perfect German speaker and with his Germanic looks could infiltrate the German army if necessary.’
    • ‘It has to be the Germanic part of our national character, this desire that everyone should conform.’


mass noun
  • 1The Germanic languages collectively.

    • ‘However it started, it made its way from the Germanic into the Middle English as sunne to become our sun of today.’
    • ‘However, this doesn't show up in Germanic and Balto-Slavic.’
    • ‘This codification of 643 was the result of a triple translation: from oral to written, from Germanic to Latin, and from memory to document.’
    • ‘The same root gave us ‘heavy’ from Germanic * hafigaz ‘containing something, having weight.’’
    • ‘Nearby Hurstead may have come from ‘stede’, which meant site or place in Germanic.’
    • ‘The Celtic languages are most closely related to the Italic group of languages and somewhat more remotely to Germanic.’
    1. 1.1 The unrecorded ancient language from which the Germanic languages developed, thought to have been spoken on the shores of the Baltic Sea in the 3rd millennium BC.
      Also called Proto-Germanic
      • ‘To reconstruct anything above the level of Germanic, we have to have data from languages outside of Germanic.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin Germanicus, from Germanus (see German).