The Society for the German Language in Wiesbaden has decided upon "Flüchtlinge" - meaning "refugees" - as its Word of the Year. Words are chosen that chime best with key political and social themes of the past 12 months.
The society announced "Flüchtlinge," meaning refugees, as its Word of the Year on Friday, after 12 months that saw a wave of migration from the Middle East and Africa to Europe, and to Germany in particular.
A jury made its selection from some 2,500 suggestions of terms reflecting the political, economic and social events of the past 12 months. The panel opted for Flüchtling because it represented the "dominant theme of the year."
Last year's "Wort des Jahres" (Word of the Year) was "Lichtgrenze" (border of light), which refers to the wall of illuminated balloons that marked the path of the Berlin Wall and which were set free on the 25th anniversary of the wall being toppled.
The previous year saw the term "GroKo" chosen, a shortened form of "Grosse Koalition," (Grand Coalition) after Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives forged a coalition with the center-left Social Democrats. The 2008 choice was "Finanzkrise," in reference to the so-called financial crisis.
Here is the full top ten of this year's words:
1. Flüchtlinge: Refugees.
2. Je Suis Charlie: More a hashtag or phrase than a word, the French "Je Suis Charlie" (I am Charlie) was the mantra of defiance and solidarity with Paris in the wake of attacks in January on the satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo."
3. Grexit: The word has been around since 2011. Coined by the Citigroup economist Ebrahim Rahbari, it refers to the scenario of Greece leaving the eurozone. Such a development was increasingly seen as a possibility earlier this year, as Greece began to default on part of its international debt.
4. Selektorenliste: News surfaced earlier this year US National Security Agency (NSA) was apparently using a "list of selectors" to spy on German targets with the complicity of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND).
5. Mogel-Motor: There were some red faces in Germany this year, as it became apparent that Volkswagen had been using cheat software that made its vehicles appear less polluting under test conditions test conditions than they actually were. Mogel Motor simply means "Cheat Motor."
6: Durchwinken: Critics of Merkel's asylum policy complain Germany and other European countries have been "waving through" refugees as they arrive, without considering the consequences.
7. Selfie-Stab: Simply the German term for "selfie stick."
8. Schummel-WM: The "Schummel Weltmeisterschaft," or "Fudged World Cup" refers to mounting questions over Germany being chosen as hosts of the 2006 World Cup. An investigation is under way at the German football federation DFB into payments allegedly used to secure votes so that the tournament went to Germany.
9. Flexitarier: The English version would be "flexitarian," a portmanteau of flexible and vegetarian. Refers to a person who eats a largely vegetarian diet, but with the odd bit of meat of fish thrown in.
10. Wir schaffen das!: The words, meaning "We can do this!" - were used by Merkel to stress her belief that Germany could handle the influx of refugees arriving over the course of the year.
rc/msh (dpa, epd)