‘GroKo’ named German word of the year

“GroKo” was named as German word of the year on Friday morning - an abbreviation for the planned “grand coalition” government between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats.

'GroKo' named German word of the year
SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel, Chancellor Merkel and CSU leader Horst Seehofer show off the "GroKo" agreement. Photo: DPA.

Linguists at the Society for German Language said it deserved the title because it characterized the year in a special way.

Society chairman Armin Burkhardt said "GroKo" – shorthand for “Große Koalition” (Grand Coalition) – was also an interesting, linguistically playful construction. 

In second place was buzz-word "Protz-Bischof" – or "bling bishop" – used frequently to describe Bishop of Limburg Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who attracted worldwide media attention in October for spending €31 million of church funds building his luxurious headquarters in Limburg.

CLICK HERE for the top ten German words of 2013

The jury chose their top ten words of 2013 out of over 2,400 entries at its meeting in Wiesbaden near Frankfurt on Friday.

The decision, made by the society every year, is less about how frequently the word gets used and more about how much it gives a "linguistic chronicle" of the year, according to the language society.

Last year the linguists opted for "Rettungsroutine" – rescue routine – as word of the year, a term coined by politician Wolfgang Bosbach referring to measures adopted by Germany to address the sovereign debt crisis in Europe.

In previous years society members have used their choice to highlight major political, social and health issues especially prominent in that year.

The word of 2005 was "Bundeskanzlerin" – the female form of "chancellor" – to mark Angela Merkel becoming Germany's first woman leader.

In 1991 the linguists chose "Besserwessi", a contraction of the words for "better" and "westerner," used by East Germans to mock perceived attitudes of superiority on the part of their newly-reunited West German neighbours.

And in 1987 they picked "AIDS" and "Kondom" (condom) to highlight the spread of HIV and the drive to promote safer sex.

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