Definition of Germanic in English:


Line breaks: Ger|man¦ic
Pronunciation: /dʒəːˈmanɪk


  • 1Relating to or denoting the branch of the Indo-European language family that includes English, German, Dutch, Frisian, and the Scandinavian languages.
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    • Frisian is a Germanic language similar to both Dutch and English.
    • One of these Germanic languages - Frisian - evolved into English.
    • The Norwegian language, along with Danish and Swedish, belongs to the mutually comprehensible northern branch of the Germanic family of languages.
  • 1.1Relating to or denoting the peoples of ancient northern and western Europe speaking Germanic languages.
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    • 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.
    • Einhard tells us that Charlemagne himself commanded that ancient Germanic songs should be preserved.
    • Holy history was replaced by an ancient Germanic mythology.
  • 2Having characteristics of or attributed to Germans or Germany: she had an almost Germanic regard for order
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    • Likewise, his Daphnis is characterized by precision, and by concern for form, attributes which seem more Germanic than French.
    • It has to be the Germanic part of our national character, this desire that everyone should conform.
    • So they went for a Cardinal, a hardedged enforcer with a Germanic preoccupation with discipline and order.


[mass noun] Back to top  
  • 1The Germanic languages collectively. See also East Germanic, North Germanic, West Germanic.
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    • 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.
  • 1.1The 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.
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    • 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).

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Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skōSH
a small amount; a little