English Titles
Word Counts
Sound Effects
Oral Sources
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Appendix IX

Glossary of German and English Words

This glossary includes both German and English words from the "Notes" section after each Märchen. English words are listed with explanations of what the original German words were. In some case, better English words might exist that can also be used. For example, the original German word for back-basket is Kötze - basket carried on the back for transporting goods. I did not find a good English word to use in its place. I also listed alternate words that could be used.

about = ungefähr. In the book Newson's German Reader By Sines Alge, et al, published in New York in 1901 ungefähr is defined as: er kam von ungefähr = er hatte keinen besonderen Grund zu kommen. = He had no particular reason to come.

Ach = "Oh" in English. I felt that this was appropriate to leave in the original German. Sounds like a sigh, or lamentation.

ach! = oh.

Ade! = an old form of "Goodbye!"

Adies = Old form of "Goodbye."

Admirer = Liebhaber = suitor, lover, sweetheart?

air-realm = Luftreich.

All = lauter.


Allerlei-Rauh. This is a rather difficult title to translate. There is no good equivalent English word or words for this that I know of. "Allerlei" means "all kinds of." "Rauh" is short for "Rauchwaren." Rauchwaren are trimmed tanned, not yet processed into animal fur pelts. So Allerlei-Rauh could be translated as: All-kinds-pelts, or All-kind-pelts.

Altane = a platform built on supports on the top of a building surrounded by walls. Also called a "Söller" in German. In English, an "altan" is a balcony. Somewhat different from the German meaning.

angst = fear.

apple-grits = Apfelgrütz. Possibly chunky apple pieces.

apron-skin = Schuerzfell.

Aschenputtel = the Hessian name for ashes, as doves or birds puddel in dirt or ashes. Also:

Aschenputtel. Puttel = From the Hessian Puddel/Pudel, unkempt, dirty girl.

auweh! = German for "ouch!"

awakon = awaken. Only re-spelled to make it rhyme more with "dragon."

back-basket = Kötze = basket carried on the back for transporting goods.

bad = bösen. Also evil, wickedness, badness, malevolence.

Bärenfelle = bear-furs.

Bärenführer = bear-tamer.

Bärenhäuter = bear-skins.

basilisk = white basilisk = weiße Unke. From Middle High German (1050-1350 AD): snake, basilisk. Basilisk is a more interesting, much older word. The modern German word for snake is "Schlange." Today an Unke is a toad.

Batzen = a coin originally produced by Bern, Switzerland from the 15th century. Named for the bear (Batz, Bätz or Petz meaning bear) depicted on the Batzen of Bern. Later on the coin was also made in German states.

bed-let = small bed, diminutive.

black-root = Skorzenerwurzel. Scorzonera hispanica, black salsify, also known as black oyster plant, serpent root, viper's herb, viper's grass or scorzonera, cultivated as a root vegetable.

black-sour = Schwartzsauer. Blood soup. A traditional dish in Northern Germany, made on the day when a pig is slaughtered. The name of the dish comes from the color of the blood. When vinegar is added the to blood, it becomes black in color. Parts not used for meat, sausages, etc., are added to this soup  skin, nose, feet, etc. Bay leaf, pepper, cloves, onions, some sugar are also added and cooked with vinegar water.

Blindworm = Blindschleiche = is a limbless reptile native to Eurasia. Contrary to the tale, they do have two eyes and eyelids, unlike snakes which have no eyelids.

Blockhead = Klotzkopf.

Bloodwurst = bloodsausage.

board = long table, king's board.

boat = Nacken. A ship, boat. Also called a barque.

bodenloch = most likely "attic window" but it could be something else too.

Bouteille = French for bottle. Interesting choice of word. In German it would have been "Flasche."

boy = bube.

Bratwurst = sausage.

breast-plate = Harnisch = breast plate. Before 1200's it was a complete suit of armour. After that, it usually referred only to the upper protective covering  like a breastplate.

Bridedays = From Holland meaning the days or weeks between a civil wedding ceremony and a religious (church) wedding.

broads = Weiber. The German word is "Weiber." Usually means a derogatory (pejorative) term for "women," but is also an from Old High German "wîb." Also an archaic term for woman, wife.

Brüderchen und Schwesterchen = Can be translated as brother-let and Sister-let in English. With the upper German chen as the diminutive. Normally this would be translated in English as Little Brother and Little Sister. Bruder = brother, Schwester = sister. The diminutives are important here. Small children, small magical spring, etc., etc…..

Brünnlein = small well, small spring. "Spring-let" or "well-let" if I were to translate it into English. Diminutive.

Bub = boy. Short for "Buben."

Buben = Boy.

Bubenstücke = boy pieces. Buben = young boy. Stücke = pieces. "Youngsters pranks." Buben also means: a villain or naughty boy.

Büblein = young boy. Diminutive.

Bursch = lad, chap young boy, fellow, servant, unmarried man.

boiled and fried. In German it is "Gesottenes und Gebratenes."

Buttje = halibut. Has been translated as "flounder" also. Since the English Halibut has the same ending as the German "butt", I am leaving it as "Buttje." From the German Heilbutt.

calendar = a book, a list of names.

came into weeks = "in Wochen kam." Possibly an old way of referring to "kindbett" (child-bed). A very old way of writing it and an old term. The six to eight week period of time after giving birth. carriage house = Reimse. Only appears in one KHM story.

Carry-box = Waeschekomode (Draggkasten).

castell = Kastell.

cattle dealer = Viehhändler. Also livestock dealer.

Catz = Cat. The German for "Cat" is "Katze" with an "e". I used an old English spelling of the word Cat, Catz because it sounds closest to "Katz."

Centner = 100 pounds. A 100 weight.

chamber-let = small chamber, diminutive.

Cheerful = Lustig = merry, funny, amusing.

child-beder-in = Kindbetterin = child's mother = the woman lying in the child bed.

child-bed-wine = kinderbettenwein = literally "child-bed-wine." Only one reference for this word was found at fineswisswine.ch. It states: "Humagne Blanche. Only planted in Valais today, Humagne blanche is another of the very old Swiss grapes, probably brought in by the Romans. Having a high iron content, and supposedly health-giving properties, this wine was decreed a "health wine" (Krankenwein) for centuries. The old written documents in which this wine is referred to as vinum hum-anum date from the 12th and 14th Centuries. It's also called Kinderbettenwein or baby crib wine." The problem with this is that the story sprcifically states the wine is sweet and red, not white. Needs more research.

child-let = kindlein. Small (little) child. Diminutive.

chirp = zirpst. The sound a bird (sparrow) makes.

city-let = samll city, diminuitive.

clean = rein, also pure.

cock-let = Hähnchen = male chicken = rooster or cock.

collier = Köhler = a person who makes charcoal.

cookess = female cook = Köchin. In German there is a male and female for cook. Male cook is: Koch. Female cook = Köchin. We have no good English equivalent word.

Corduanleder = a very fine, soft leather made of goat or sheep skin.

Corn = Korn. Also grain.

corridor = Hausehrn. An unusual word. Schwabian for: house floor, corridor, hallway. Only used 2x in the KHM: #30 and #62.

counts = Zahlen. Possibly an old measure used for thread. Possibly "spools?" Can also mean counts as in one, two, three.

Crawfish shells. Unless the story takes place near the ocean, cray fish shells might be the better word. The German word used is "Krebsschalen." Usually translated as "crab shells" in English translations.

crayfish = Krebs. Also crab. I'll again assume the story takes place far from the ocean and translate "Krebs" as the freshwater crab or crayfish in this story.

Dam = Geis = female goat.

Dam-lings = Geislein = kids = young goats. A female goat is called a doe . A mother goat is called a dam. A young female goat is a doeling.

Lumpengesindel = lumpen + gesindel. Lumpen = rags, old clothing, used clothing. Gesindel = said of people who are uncultivated, anti-social, or criminal, job-less.

daughter-let = Töchterchen. Tochter = daughter. Töchterchen = "little daughter." Diminutive.

de = short for "die," a sound effect.

death-flowers = Studentenblumen. Also called seath flowers, tagets, marigolds, turkish carnation. Named after the Etrucsian god of wisdom Taget.

Dirn, Dirne = regionally used in Germany for "young girl." Also meant "girl of marriage age," "unmarried woman," and since the 15th century it was also a word for "prostitute."

Dismayed = entsetzte. Also horrified, appalled.

dog-let = hündlein = little dog. Diminutive.

Dornröschen = Dorn + rose +chen = thorn + rose + the diminuitive "chen". So it could be translated as "Thron-rose-chen" or "Thorn-rose-let."

doublet = Wamms = a man's close-fitting jacket, with or without sleeves. Men in Europe wore doublets from the 1400s to the 1600s.

Doves = Tauben. Could also be pigeons. The word "doves" just sounds better.

Ducats = a gold or silver coin that was used as a trade coin in Europe from the later medieval centuries onwards, until as late as the 20th century.

dwarf = The low German word "Dwarf" is identical to the English word for "dwarf." In High German it would be "Zwerg."

ear-slap = slap.

earth = Erde. Most likely there were earth/dirt floors in the house.

Eat = frist. In German there are different words when animals eat and when people eat. Fressen is for animals, Essen is for people. In English, there is unfortunately no good distinction. "Feeding" comes closest.

ei, my god! = "Oh, my god! The original German sentence is "ei du mein Gott!" = literally "Iee, you my god!" I left the "you" out for the sake of clarity and readability this time.

Eggshell= A bowl for holding eggs. Although in the story it might literally be the shell of an egg.

Ells = if an elle is 43", then 20 ells = 72 feet. However, an elle is an old measure and it could be anything from 45 cm to 1.75m. It is usually the length of the forearm to the tip of the middle finger, but it could also be the entire length of the arm to the tip of the finger. Commonly used by tailors as 50 cm or 100 cm. So the height of the tower really depends. If the elle is a tailors elle, it could be 10 meters or 20 meters high (approximately 33 to 66 feet).

enraged = erzürnte = also incensed, angry, irritated.


Duck-bird = Entvogel = Ente (duck) + vogel (bird). Spelled without the "e" at the end.

eagle = Aar, poetic for "Adler" (Eagle).

Envy = Neid. Also jealousy.

eye-blink = Augenblick = wink of an eye. We would say "wait a moment."

F u n d e v o g e l = Foundling-Bird = Funde (gefunden) (found) + vogel (bird). The original 1812 text has spaces between the letters of Fundevogel.

face = Miene = expression, face.

fairy = German "Fee." There can be good fairies and bad (evil) fairies.

Falcon= Blaufüß = Lanner falcon.

fast. Can also say secure.

fee = fairy = female fairy.

Feen = Faires. Plural. A beautiful, mostly good, male or female figure with magical powers. There are also evil "Feen."

Fitcher. There is no German definition of the word "fitcher". The Grimms wrote in a note that the Icelandic "fitfugla,r" a swimming bird that looked like a white swan explained the story of Fitchers Vogel. It has also been glossed as fitfugl (web-footed bird). Others have said that it comes from the German Feder "feather" or Fittich "wings."

Fitze = the hexemeisters first name, poetic.

fix und fertig means "completely finished, and ready." Could also be read to mean completely finished, exhausted. Also and idiom for burned out, tired or completely finished depending on the context. It has also been translated similarly to Mr Burned Out. Footman = Lakai. Also servant.

Foot-walkers = pedestrians.

Forester = Förster. Also ranger, forest warden.

Fountain place = Bornstande = Possibly from Born = Brunnen (well or fountain) and Stand(e)=Stand, Standort (standing place). This is the only place where the word appears in the KHM.

fours = four times.

Frau = woman or wife depending on the context. The German word for both is the same. Since there is no mention of marriages, this could be translated as "woman." Equally the princes could have been married but it was just not mentioned in the story.

Frau Schwägerin = Literally "Mrs. Sister-in-law," or Frau In-Law-Sister or similar.

Frau Deviless = Frau Teufelin. Female version of the word.

free = "he would much like to free her" = "der wollte sie gern freien!" To free someone from widowhood.

freed a widow = freite eine Wittwe. Widowhood must have been something that one entered into, similar to marriage, and consequently something someone could be brought out of also. Almost the opposite of what we think of today. When you are single (or widowed as in this case) you are not free. Another way of saying courting.

Frischling = young wild-pig. Diminutive.

fully on = they could eat and drink as much as they wanted, free food and drink, a party.

gable = Zinne. The steps of the staircase gable. A room high in the attic.

Gackennestle = Gacken? + nest?+ diminutive? = nest-chirper, nest-tweeter, nest-gacker, nest-clucker, or the same with the diminutive ending added? In this case, "little nest-chirper" would also be appropriate. Nest-chirper-let? Nest-chirper-chen?

Geck = jokster, prankster?

Gefatter = God Father, God parent.

gelt = Retribution, remuneration, compensation. "Now we are even." Similar to the English "gild - a payment or tax."

Gevatter = godfather.

Gevatterschmanus = Gevatter (godfather) + schmaus (feast) = godfather feast.

girl-let = Mädchen. Could also be translated as "maiden."

Glasberg = glass mountain. Glasberg is a common motif in magical tales. It is said to represent and transparent, very smooth obstacle that can not be overcome. Inhabited by super natural beings. Mount Olympus in Greek Mythology. Men overcome it by great deeds, women by sacrifices (cut off fingers).

Glimpf. An unusual word. We might say "luck," but it is not that. When something is "Glimpfich," it has no negative consequences. Something that almost went wrong, but didn't. To handle someone benevolently.

gloomy = Dumpf. Also dull, hollow, musty.

Gnadenbrod = Gnaden + brot. Gnaden = grace, mercy, clemency, favor. Brod = brot = bread. "Mercy-bread."

goldfinger. Most likely the wedding ring finger, which in Germany and some other European countries is the fourth finger on the right hand. In America and other countries, it is usually the same finger on the left hand.

good = meaning long time. The German word is "gute" = good.

good cousin = gut Vetter.

Goethel = Frau Goethel = Hessian for "Godparent" or "Godmother."

Götz = an uncomprehending person.

Graf = Earl. Also Count.

Guesthouse = Gasthouse = hotel, inn.

gullet = gurgel = throat.

guts = intestines = Därme.

Haber = old German for "oats."

Hajduk = commonly referring to outlaws, highwaymen or freedom fighters in Central Europe. Similar to Robin Hood's Merry Men.

hall-cracks = Dielenritzen. Diele can be a floor, or the largest room in a building, or a wood floorboard.

hands = farm hands, servants.

hands = servants.

Hanfbutz = What a fool would look like after having wallowed in honey and feathers.

hankerchief-let? = Fazziletlein. Only from the context of sentence. No references found.

Hanswurst = Hans + Wurst (sausage), a dericive term for the fool? An expression?

harrier = Weih. Certainly sounds like antlers (Geweih), but seems to in fact be an abbreviation for Wiesenweihe = Montagu's Harrier or harrier.

has patience = thut gemach = slowly, easy, not over hasty.

hart = Hirsch. Male deer.

Häuslein = little house, small house. Diminutive.

Hawk= sell aggressively =feilhalten.

hawk = Kautzen = Habicht = Northern Goshawk. Possibly also "Owl."

heavy = schwer. Also difficult.

Hebritzen = Ebereschen = Rowan-berry = Vogelbeeren ("bird berries"). Why do they "make" them and not "get" them? Was it a type of trap made of these berries? Needs more research.

Heller = half-penny. An old German coin worth a half Pfennig (penny).

hen-let = Hühnchen = female chicken = hen. Diminutive.

Herr(n) = Lord. Also Mister.

Herren = "Misters," Lords,….

Hexe = witch.

Hexenmeister = a male witch, sorcerer, wizard, warlock. I left it as Hexenmesiter because I preferred that over the other words.

Hexentochter = Witchs daughter.

Hinde-cow = female deer.

Hinkelbeinchen = Chicken bone-let. Diminutive. An important motive in Märchen.

Hirschfänger = a large 16" - 28" long, double edged hunting knife used to kill deer. "Deer-capturer," or "deer-catcher."

hit dead = todt schlugen. Also killed.

Hoppinglet = Hüpferling. Diminutive for little one who hops around.

Husband = Husband or man, depending on the context. The German word for both is the same.

Hurleburlebutz. What does the word mean? We can find the English equivalents of the name and come up with a very good description. We have Hurl + burl + buss. Hurl refers to motion, to move, or be carried or driven with violence or impetuosity; to rush impetuously; to dash. The action or an act of hurling; a forcible or violent cast or throw (from the OED). Burl is to pick knots and loose threads from cloth, to pick off burls. Bourle is a diminutive of a flock or lock of wool or hair. If Butz is also Buss, then it is a vessel of burden, or a kiss, a smack. Putting all the elements together paints a good picture of the name the fox gives to the girls he puts on his tail.

Hussar refers to a number of types of light cavalry which originated in Hungary. The title and distinctive dress of these horsemen was later widely adopted by light cavalry regiments in European and other armies.

Ilse-bill = His wife's name is "Ilse." This has variously been translated as "Isabel" or "Ilsebill." Ilse is also a diminutive for Elizabeth. In English it might be "Elsa" or "Else." The "bill" part was possibly added to make it rhyme with "will" rather than it being the wife's name.

index finger = zeigefinger = "pointing finger."

Ja= yes.

Jockel = The name of the main character? from Joachin, Johannes?

Johanneswürmchen = Johanniswürmchen. Kleiner Leuchtkäfer. Lamprohiza splendidula. European firefly.

Kerl = Chap, guy, bloke?

kindness = Gefälligkeit = complaisance, willingness to please, acquiescence, graciousness, courteousness, fondness, pleasantness, goodwill, kindliness, benevolence, agreeableness, niceness. This is an important one. Depending on which word is chosen in the translation, different meanings result. Compliance is not the same as courteousness.

Klotzkopf = block-head.

Knaben = young boy.

knacker = Schinder.  A Schinder is a person who disposes of old and weak animals. Similar to the English knacker.

Knauel = Knäuel = ball of yarn = clew, skein. A clew is from Greek Mythology- The ball of thread used by Theseus to find his way out of the labyrinth.

Kobold = Kobald = Kobalt = tailings rocks.

König = king. The text specifically states king (König), not queen (Königin). #19

Köten-Light = Köten-Licht. At the end of the texts of the Märchen, before the Anhang (appendix KHM PG 388) the Grimms added a page of annotations and text corrections. In the corrections they list Köten-Licht with an explanation. "Kötenlicht l. K ö t e n- oder K ö t i n g  l i c h t  Regnaert de Bos v. 303 "bernende stal-licht." von kothe, arme Hütte, Stall, a. f. c n t e, engl. und holl c o t, k o t."

In English(?):"Kötenlicht l. K ö t e n- or K ö t i n g  l i g h t  Regnaert de Bos v. 303 "bernende stal-licht." from kothe, poor hut, stall, a. f. c n t e, English and Dutch     c o t,  k o t."

Kreutzer = a small silver coin used in Southern Germany.

Küster= Church warden.

Lacings = Schuerrte. Sneewittchen must have been wearing clothing that required lacking up.

larded = geschmalzen = lard added to the food.

Lawel = Friend?

lead-on = meaning deceive.

Lenchen is the forresters daughter.

life punishment = death.

life-day = Lebtag = "Leb(en)" (life) = tag (day).

livestock = Vieh. Also cattle.

living-quarters = wohnung. Also habitation, dwelling, lodging.

Loffelbitz = spoon.

Losament = the general term for living quarters. From the French Logement. Also from military terminology for a simple, temporary structure.

love = liebe. Could also be translated as dear.

Lumpenkerls = bad fellows.

Lure-tails = Zeiselschwänze. Zeiseln comes from the Swabian meaning attract, approach, call, entice, lure, decoy, hurry, rush, urgent. Schwänze= schwanz = tail. So a possible good translation might be lure-tail, or lure- tails. Many translations dispense with this word entirely.

lusting = lustern. Also desire.

Mädchen = maiden = little girl. Maiden.

Mägdelein = young girl. Diminutive.

Maiden = Jungfrau = virgin. A literal translation of "Jungfrau" would be "young (Jung) woman (frau) or "Young Missus" (mistress). The word has a different origin than the English word which is of French origin. "Jungfrau" applies only to females. German has no corresponding word for males. In the English, "virgin" can apply to males and females alike.

Mamsell = lady. From the French Mademoiselle.

"Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!" It is difficult to translate. Even Germans are not 100% sure. Possibly means: "Hello here is! Here stand I, Tim Te!" I have seen some translators say that it is a variation of "Männchen," High German for "little man" or "man-let" (with the diminutive). Others say it is from "mon Dieu" (my God!). My theory is the following: The Low German or Pommeranian dialect that the story is written is very similar to the Dutch language. Both are Western Germanic Languages.  Mandje is the Dutch diminuitive of "mand," meaning "basket." While "basket" seems to be unrelated, it does lead to "Mande." Mande is a Danish term derived from "mand" meaning "man." "Mande comes from the latin "mandô" meaning manus (hand, handwriting, power) +ýdô (I give, I offer or render, I yield surrender, concede). Mander is also French for the Latin mandô and also means to "command, summon, or to inform, to send news of." The Latin mandô when used as a verb also means: "I order, I command, I put in hand, I confide, I entrust." So in this story, the fisherman says "Mandje!, Mandje!" twice. With an exclamation point we should not forget. The first "Mandje!" can then mean: "powerful fish, I summon you, I command you." The second "Mandje!" can then mean: "I offer myself, I confide" and then the fisherman says: "Tim(pe) Te!"

"Mandje! Mandje! Timpe Te!" can mean:

"Powerful fish, I summon you! I offer myself! Timpe Te!" or

"Powerful fish, I command you! I surrender! Timpe Te!"

 or simply:

"I summon you! I offer myself! Timpe Te!"

 Mann = husband or man, depending on the context. The German word for both is the same.

Mansellchen = German short for the French term Mademoiselle. Diminutive.

Märe = news. First time the word ever comes up in the text.

Marienkind = Mary's Child.

masterpiece = Meisterstück. In Germany, when an apprentice finishes his apprenticeship, he makes a Meisterstück. Then he is a Schreinermiester (master carpenter, etc). Not necessarily the best work ever created by the master.

Maus = German for mouse.

May-beeches = Maibuchen. Beech trees whose leaves appear in early May. See Comments in #69.

Menschenfresser = human eater, human flesh eater. Menschen = human. Fresser = Eating. German has different words for humans eating and animals eating. English only has eating. When animals eat, the word "fressen" is used. When humans eat, the word "essen" is used.

Menschenfresserin = Female version of the name. Refers to the oger's wife.

middlest = mittelste = most middle one.

mindful = aufmerksam. Also attentive, considerate, thoughtful, observant. Not entirely clear here which word to use.

mir nichts dir nichts = translates literally as "nothing-for-me, nothing-for-you" but is actually a German ideom meaning: rapidly, quickly.

Morningstar = Morgenstern = Venus.

Motherchen = Mutterchen = diminutive from of "mother."

mountain crystal = Bergkristall = quartz crystal.

Mountain-boys = Bergbuben. "Mountain-boys." Also miners.

mountain-works = Bergwerk = mines.

Mouse-dead = mausetodt = German expression for "completely dead."

muck-let = mistchen. Often in English translations, this mistakenly translated as "little ember" or "little ash-heap."

mutterseelig = "mother" + "soul" = From the French "moi tout seul" meaning "ich ganz allein" "I all alone." Completely alone.

Na! = Well.

Nee = no. I would pronounce it similar to the English "nay," buy without the "a" sound.

Neighboress = Nachtbarin = neighbor. Again, in English we have not male or female term for neighbor. Neighbor is gender neutral, so I am leaving it as the female German word. We only come close as in  prince and princess, priest and priestess, host and hostess, etc.

nein = no.

Next day = am anderen tage = could be the next, following day or some day in the near future.

next-to = neben an = next-door. In English we would refer to it as "next door."

Nine-pins = kugelspiel = bowling.

nothing be missing for you . In English we would say: You shall want for nothing.

nothing but meat = eitel Fleisch. One would think that it means: Eitel (vain) + Fleisch (meat), but that makes no sense. The book Gedrängtes Handwörterbuch der deutschen Sprache: Mit Bezeichnung ..., Volume 1 by Christian Wenig published in Lichtensteig in 1831 defines "eitel Fleisch" as "nichts als Fleich" (nothing but meat). Ther are many references to the same phrase by Martin Luther.

now carries. The original German says "…jetzt geht" = "now goes." Now carries might be better.

Nuß and berg. Other stories also mention nuts and mountains (hills). This is usually translated as "nut mountain," but without any sort of definition so that many English readers might not know what it means. A "nußberg" is a term from Southern Germany and is a high area where beech trees grow. High because beeches prefer dry soil conditions. I.e you won't find them next to a stream or near water or in wet soil. Hence the term "berg" (mountain, mount or hill). So a nußberg is an elevated beech forest or a forest composed primarily of beech trees. It could also contain other species such as oaks, but primarily composed of beeches. The nuts from the beech trees ripen in the fall and fall down. These nuts are then a prime source of food for wild animals  deer, pigs, pheasants, etc. The nuts split open and the small seeds are exposed. Fowl pick out the small seeds out of the seed pods. The Nuß (nut) that the two chickens eat are the small seeds from inside the larger beech seed pod. Nußberg can also refer to the hill or mound under a beech tree made of fallen beech nuts. A mound like this may look like a hill or a mountain to a chicken.

Nut shells = Nußschaalen. It refers to the nut shells of the beech tree. A Nußschale is also a German term for a small boat or ship. Also an unsuitable vessel.

Nut . Means most likely a "bast-basket," or small basket with a lid on it for carrying clothes.

nutshell = Nußschale. Here it probably is a real nut shell. A nut and nutshell are somewhat common German expressions usually meaning an unsuitable vessel (container) like a very small boat, small house, small suitcase, etc.

Of = Von. This could also be translated as Regarding the Nightingale and the Blindworm.

Okerlo = Oger. Possibly from the latin "orcus," underworld or god of the underworld.

Once it was = "Es was einmal." This is usually translated as "Once upon a time," which is a good translation, but the original German is more closely translated as "There was once." In English we would change the word order to "There once was."

Oncetime = Einstmals = unusual plural of "one time."

one-horn = Einhorn. Also unicorn.

palace = Schloß = castle, palace, chateau. Schloß also means "lock," so that a Schloß was a place where one could be locked in, whereas a Burg (castle) was a place where one could hide (be protected). Schloß is a place where royalty lived. The German "ß" is "ss." Used at the end of words instead of the double "ss." Pronounced "s."

Pan-cake = pfannkuchen.

patch = bletz. Bletz is a scrap of fabric, a left over. In English it might be called a remnant. Here the word is used in the sense of "patching," i.e how the remnant is used.

peaceful = gute. Also "good."

Pfannkuchen = pancakes  German style, like crepes, made without baking powder, not American style (thick with baking powder). These are a German style and were common for farmers and other workers to take with them into the field to eat later on. Thin and without air bubbles in them. Eaten flat, folded or rolled.

pfui = "phew" or "yuck."

Pisspot = An unsuitable habitation, a shack. Literally a vulgar term for "bed-pan," or "chamber-pot." Also spelled "Pißpott" at the end.

platch-foot = Platschfuß = flat foot.

plate-let = small plate, diminutive.

play-creation = Spielwerk. In German one can add "werk"(works, mechanism, product, plant) to many words to make new words such as "Kraftwerk" (power plant), "Handwerk" (hand craft), etc. Here it is "play-work" or "play-product" or "play-mechanism"" I choose "play-creation" because it was easier to understand and makes more sense.

plays pranks = Schabernack. Pranks, practical joke, mischievous deeds.

pocket = "she suddenly pulled it out of her pocket." From: "sie ihn plötzlich aus der Tasche zog." Tasche could be pocket or bag.

pious = fromm. Also devout, religious, god-fearing, etc.

ragamuffin = Lumpengesindel = a ragged unkempt, disreputable person.

rappen = black horse.

Raspelbrod = "Grated bread" or bread from which the crust has been grated away. The Neues vollständiges Wörterbuch der Dänischen und Deutschen Sprache, Volume 1. Leipzig, 1858. Pg 342, defines it as: Bread (through grating small made bread); the Raspelbrod (grated off, through the grate removed rind or crust freed bread). Raspelbrod or Raspel-bread is then either bread crumbs or bread without crust.

rauffe = basket or container with hay from which animals eat.

rauscht = rushing or murmuring.

Reinald means"ruler's advisor." From the Old High German ragin = der Rat (the advisor), der Beschluss (the decision) and waltan = walten, herrschen, der Herrscher (rule, ruler).

Reverenz = To honor someone. To bow, to pay homage. From the Latin "vereri" meaning: fear, shy away from, worship. To pay someone Reverenz is something someone does when visiting a high official (King, diplomat, etc.)

Rheinish Gulden = a gold coin from the late middle ages used in the area of the Rhine.

Riff-raff = Gesindel. A good example to the use Gesindel as in #10 Das Lumpengesindel .

ritze = crack. In this case it is most likely a cracked floorboard or the space between boards. But then, why do they say the child sits on the "Erde" (earth)? and not "boden" (floor)?

Romandia = possibly refers to the local name for French speaking areas in Switzerland. Romandy in English.

Ross = noble horse or charger.

Rothkäppchen = Red-cap-let, Redcap-let. Most all translations translate this as "Little Red Riding Hood." They take the diminutive "chen" and turn it into "little." This changes the meaning subtly. It is not the girl who is necessarily little, but the cap that is little. Depends on who or what is being referred to  the girl or the cap.

Sanne = possibly short for Susanne.

sap= Tropfen. The phrase is "schalt es aber einen armen Tropfen." In English it is "shouts it to a poor drop." We would probably translate "Tropfen" here as "sap," "sap" as in "fool."

Sarbrücken. Saarbrücken (two a's) is a city in Germany. Here it is spelled with one "a."

Sau = female pig who has given birth. Also called "sow" in English.

Sauer kochen = meat that is marinated in a mixture of vinegar, water or wine and herbs and spices. Many will be familiar with "Sauerbraten."

Saus und Braus = to live high on the hog, to live in clover, to live on the fat of the land. A German idiom. Saus is an archaic expression used for rush (noise), noisy festivity used only in the idiom. Braus is hefty blowing.

Scheiterhaufen = wood pyre.

Schinder = A Schinder is a person who disposes of old and weak animals. Similar to the English knacker.

schlep = carry, as a burden.

Schlepped = to carry, as a burden.

Schnabelweid = "beakfood." Anything to eat.

Schulz = Schulz is a common German family name in Northern Germany and originates from the local official known as Dorf-Schulz (Town-Schulz), a local law enforcement officer like a police officer or magistrate. So here "Schulz" might refer to a farmer who is also the local magistrate.

Schuster = cobbler, shoemaker.

Schwager = brother-in law.

Schwagerbear = bear-brother-in law.

Schwarzenfelser = a person from Schwarzenfels.

Schwarzenfelsischen = "black rock area." Schwarzenfels area.

schweift = wander. To wander around, to go somewhere without destination.

scoffingly = verächtlich = contemptuously, scornfully, disdainfully.

shameful = schändlichsten = despicable, disgraceful, shameful, ignominious, nefarious.

shieldwatch = Schildwache = sentinel.

simple-minded = einfältige = simple, simple minded, naïve, gulliable. Depending on which word one chooses, the meaning can be altered.

sincere = redlich = honest, truthful, frank, candid, sincere, straightforward.

sincerely = redlich = honest, truthful, frank.

slats =Bretchen.

slowly go back = trollen. From the Schwabian, slowly, ashamedly.

son-ling = Söhnchen. Sohn = son. Söhnchen = "little son." Baby. Diminutive.

son-lings = little sons, diminutive.

Sparrowhawk = Sperber. A small bird of prey.

spazieren = walk. One of these interesting German concepts. Not easy to define. Walk in German = "gehen," but it is not the same as "spazieren." Spazieren has an easy, delightful, pleasant, relaxing assiciation with it that "gehen" alone does not necessarily have. The term originated as a term for aristrocratic wanderings in parks and gardens.

spazieren gefahren = walk driving. Same as above but with the added connotation of moving in a carriage.

Speiglein = Little mirror. Or Mirror-let.

Spitzbuben = rouges.

splinter naked. Could also be translated as "bare-naked," but I left it as "splinter."

Spoon = Löffel. Here an expression.

stand up, you children. In German the text is "…steht auf…" which means stand up. In English we would say "get up." I left it as "stand up."

Steige, Seiege = old unit of measure meaning 20. Commonly used by tailors. Twenty Steigen would be 20 x 20 = 400.

Stube. A warm room in the house. A smoke free room usually heated with a wood oven. An important room in the house and often the only room that could be heated in the winter. Related to the English word "Stove" (oven).

sued = processirte. Went to court much and sued people.

Swiegermutter = Mother-in-law.

Swiger-mother = mother-in-law.

Tailors Hostel = Schneiderherberge.

Teufel = devil.

Teufelchen = devil-let, little devil, diminutive for "devil."

Thal = valley.

Thaler = a silver coin used in Europe.

Thierlein = little animal. Diminutive.

Thou = ihr. Formal address of "you."

threw in bucket and rope. Difficult to translate the meaning. "…Kübel und Seil eingeworfen…" Literally: "…bucket and rope thrown in…" Since this text/story is over 400 years old, it probably meant something that is today not easy so discern. Possibly an expression as when one throws a bucket with a rope attached into a well to get water to drink, here it is an expression meaning to get food.

Thrush = a bird.

Tippeled = trippelte.

Tractiren. I translated it as "well served."

Traun ! From the tale, it looks to be an expression of wonderment, but the Schwäbisches Wörterbuch: mit etymologischen und historischen Anmerkungen published in Stuttgazrt in 1831, lists the following for Traun: Trün, traun, truthfully - everything is made clear.

tried = gedachte, can also mean "thought," but that does not apply here.

tube-well = A fountain with a tube or tubes coming out of it from which water flows out.

Tüchelchen = small, delicate towel. Diminutive.

under-door = Untertüre. Refers to a two part door with an upper and a lower part. Also called a Dutch door or a stable door. Today, the top part of the door can be opened while the top remains closed. Originally made to keep animals out of houses or to keep children in. The door in the story must have been made so the upper and lower halves could be independently opened or closed.

Uu! = Wailing, a cry.

veg-lets = "Gemüschen" = small vegetables. Diminutive.

verächtlich = contemptuously, scornfully, disdainfully, scoffingly.

Verwunderung = amazement, astonishment, marvel, wonderment, surprise.

Vieruhrenbrot = four-hour-bread = afternoon tea/coffee, afternoon meal.

virgin = Jungfrau. Also maiden.

visitor = Fremde = visitor, newcomer.

wald-manling = forest-manling. Original German is "Waldmännchen." Diminutive.

walked =spazieren.

Wallfisch = whale-fish. A whale. Archaic. Since whales do not have scales, it probably refers to a large fish, not necessarily what we think of today as a whale.

Wanderings = travels = Wanderschaft.

ware = beware, watch out.

washing-woman = Wäscherin = laundry woman. Washeress?

water her wash = und wollte ihre Leinwand begießen.

wayfaring = Wanderschaft. Also wanderings, wayfaring (travels by foot).

Wechselbalg = Changeling. Wechsel (Change) + Balg (pelt). Superstitious belief that children were exchanged by creatures such as the devil, witches or other beings. Similar to the English Changeling. The English word does not have the interesting part of a pelt in it. Wechselbalg is a much more interesting word. Someone disguised with a pelt.

Weckbrei = white bread porridge.

Weed-lion = Krautlöwe = a rabbit. There is no such English word. I am creating it. Kraut (small plants, weeds or herbs) + lion. A "weed-lion." Could also be: "herb-lion," "grass-lion" or similar. So called because when a rabbit is caught by a fox, it lets out shrill screams. There is also a German word similar and possibly related  Löwenzahn. Possibly a plant that rabbits like to eat. In English we call it "Dandelion." Note the ending - "lion" in both the English and the German words. I have seen "Krautlöwe" translated as "wild cat," but wild cats do not generally let out shrill screams like rabbits do when they are captured, injured and or dying. The rabbit screams can be heard from miles away. The screams are called "Hasenklage" in German.

weib = pejorative for "woman" or archaic for "woman," "wife."


Wesen =  essence. The coorect use of the word. In the Grimm TV series it is a supernatural being. Ficticious. Here it means something more like "hullabaloo" = noise, commotion.

West Friesland = North Western Germany, next to the Denmark.

Westerwald = Western forest = a low lying mountain range on the right bank of the Rhine river. One of the best known mountain ranges in Germany.

white horses = Schimmeln.

Wichtelmännern = Usually translated as "elves" in Elglish translations. "Dwarves" might be a better translation. Could also be  Cobold or Gnome. Wichtel + Mann. Wichtel = the diminutive form of Wicht. A Wicht is from Norse sagas a helpful house spirit. Could be translated as "Wichtelmen."

Wichtelmännlein diminuitive for Wichtelmännern.

wicked = böse. Evil, wicked, bad.

Wieb = pejorative for "woman" or archaic for "woman," "wife."

wild = meaning wild animals.

wild's face = "wild's Gebrächt." "Gebräch" are teeth, so this is possibly a way so saying that he made a terrible face showing his teeth.

window-let = Fensterchen = little window. Diminutive.

wink-of-an-eye = augenblick = augen (eye) + blick (glance). Also "immediately".

Wirtshaus = tavern, inn.

Wohlan = Roughly translated as "very well." Now obsolete, meaning also "now then," or "lets go (get) to it." Similar to the English: "aye, aye sir." "I understand the command and hasten to comply with the order."

wood-chopper = Holzhacker. Could also be translated as wood-cutter.

Wood-hacker = holzhacker = wood-cutter.

work-hand= farmhand = servant.

 wrathful = grimmige. Also ferocious, furious, grim, fierce, etc.

Wurst = sausage.

Würstchen = sausage. Diminutive.

You my god ! = German expression. We would say "my God" in English.

Zauberin = female magician, magicess? or magicianess?

Zachiel. Possible reference to the biblical character Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible, meaning 'May God strengthen him,' or one of the Christian Archangels. Could also be written "Ziekiel."

Zahl-pearls = Zahlperlen = Pearls that are completely round and are sold by the piece instead of by weight. From "zahl" meaning "count" plus "pearl." In the book: Bulletin des Neuesten und Wissenswürdigsten aus der Naturwissenschaft ..., by Sigismund Friederich Hermbstädt, Vol. 11, Berlin 1812, pearls are described in the following way: The pearls are differentiated into Stückperlen (piece-perarls) or Zahlperlen (count-pearls), in Unzenperlen (ounce-perals) or Lothperlen (loth-pearls), in Brockenperlen (chunk-pearls) and in Kartenperlen (card-pearls). The first ones are quite equal. The chunk-pearls are uneven and angular, but posess a significant size, and stand in worth after the first sort. Card-pearls are those called that are on one side flat....Completely round or Zahlperlen (zahl-pearls), are paid for by weight. The English translations might not be correct.

Zwieback is a type of crisp, sweetened bread, made with eggs and baked twice. It is sliced before it is baked a second time, which produces crisp, brittle slices that closely resemble melba toast. Zwieback is commonly used to feed teething children. Zwieback literally translates to "twice-baked". Known in America as "Rusk."