How to Talk About Urban Legends in German

by Expath Language School

Germany has plenty of urban legends in the culture. From not going outside with wet hair, to never wishing someone happy birthday before the actual day.


Random German Word of the Day: Ammenmärchen (n.) – this German word means “old wives’ tale” or “urban legend”.

The word Amme originally referred to any breastfeeding woman, and today means “wet nurse”. The word Märchen means “fairy tale”.

The term stems from the habit of 18th-century wet nurses of scaring the children they were taking care of to bed with creepy stories.

Extra Fact

Interestingly, the German word Hebamme (“midwife”) is not at all related: It comes from heben (“to lift”) and Ahnin (“female ancestor”) – referring to the child’s grandmother.

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