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I learned a new German word today, "Waidmann", but I already knew the word "Jaegermeister", so I wondered what the difference between them is. When would a German use one over the other?

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3 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

In the end both mean the same.

The usage of "Jägermeister" is obsolete. Nowadays when saying "Jägermeister" you usually refer to the alcoholic drink.

"Weidmann" or "Waidmann" is the technical term used by hunter and is also well known in "Weidmannsheil" and "Weidmannsdank", a greeting.

The informal term is just "Jäger"

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Thanks for the additional note of "Jäger" –  TecBrat Jun 21 '12 at 17:21
    
@TecBrat: Unless you're very advanced, my advice is: for your active knowledge, forget "Waidmann" and learn "Jäger". –  Hendrik Vogt Jun 21 '12 at 19:22
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I'm definately not "very advanced". I can say "Es tut mir leid, mein Deutsch is nicht so gut." with the best of them though. :-) –  TecBrat Jun 21 '12 at 19:55
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Saying "Waidmann" is obsolete, but understanding the term is essential when a Jäger says "Waidmanns Heil!", this not being a neo-nazi phrase, but a "May thou be successfull!" shout between Jäger persons. Needless to say :-| –  TheBlastOne Jun 22 '12 at 5:59
    
Another use of "Waidmann" would be in poetic language. –  0x6d64 Jun 22 '12 at 9:52
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Occupational titles change with the society that bestows them.

Jägermeister is an obsolete occupational title for a professional* hunter after a three year apprenticeship and an examination for a master craftsman's certificate (Meisterprüfung). It was current from around 1600 until the early 20th century. Today it is the name of a popular digestif (Kräuterlikör).

Waidmann – originally referring to anyone catching any kind of animal, later having the two more specific meanings "fisher" and "hunter" – is an even older occupational title, which was slowly displaced by "Jäger" from around 1600 onwards. It survives in popular folk songs and poetry when a romantic image of a huntsman is to be evoked, as well as in traditionalist hunter's lore.

Jagdmeister The job titles today are "Revierjäger", "Revierjagdmeister" (after a Meisterprüfung), Revieroberjäger (after 10 years as Jagdmeister) and Wildmeister (after 10 years as Oberjäger). [Source: http://www.revierjaeger.de/ernennungen]

*professional here meaning a job, not the quality

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They both mean the same thing, a hunter. According to Wikipedia, a Jägermeister was quite literally a master hunter.

Note, though, that today, under pretty much all circumstances, "Jägermeister" will be confused with the liqueur of the same name, and "Waidmann/Weidmann" is an outdated term that may not be understood at all except for the "Waidmanns Heil" ("good luck") expression.

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Careful: "Waidmanns Heil" is not equivalent to "good luck". So if you want to say "Good luck", you'd better say "Viel Glück". "Waidmanns Heil" usually does have a hunting conotation or evokes/requires some kind of hunting context. If someone told me she was hunting a bug in her code, I could respond with "Waidmanns Heil". Jokingly :D –  Jürgen A. Erhard Jun 22 '12 at 0:19
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A Jägermeister was not "quite literally a master hunter", he was a master hunter. A Waidmann was just a simple huntsman, a Jäger, not a master. But the terms were in use at different times. –  user1914 Mar 8 '13 at 13:01
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