As you can see from my username, my surname is "Hoerster." Before the Hoersters came over to the United States from Prussia, and before that, Germany itself, they spelled their surname as Hörster. Does anyone know what this means?

(I am a Yiddish speaker who is learning a bit of German and I do not think it is Yiddish even though it is a German-Jewish surname.)


I am also wondering the proper German pronunciation of Hörster. In Texas (where I live), we were taught to pronounce it "Her-ster" but that sounds very botched. How should it really be said?

  • It's a field name at a village. Hörster is the one who lives on the local Horst. See de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horst_(Toponym)
    – Janka
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 23:55
  • @Janka - Danke schön. That is very interesting. Perhaps this would be a good reason why the Hoersters were successful sheep and cattle raisers. Why did you not make this an answer? Anyways, I look forward to seeing what other users say, even though I'm inclined to say your explanation is the best.
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 1:15
  • Attention: I have also added an edit to my question asking for the proper pronunciation.
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 1:19
  • The German syllable hör sounds like the English word her. The -ster is "spiky", as in ster-oids.
    – Janka
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 1:32
  • 1
    As you can see from my username - Your username is e3ra :) Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


Hörster is the name of the family living on the Horst. This is a formation of the ground, and also a field name at a village. See the Wikipedia entry on this.

Hör- in Hörster ist indeed pronounced as the English word her. The -st- is "spiky" as in the English word steroids, the final -er is a schwa in reality (a hushed a sound.)

  • 5
    The original pronunciation of the -st- does not have to have been "spiky". It depends on what region the name comes from. E.g in the southwestern parts of the German speaking area, where Alleman dialects are spoken, st is always pronunced "sht" regardless of the position in a word. (Ist-ischt, kannst-kannscht) Furthermore, the combination -rst- (as indeed is found in Hörster) is spoken as "sht" in the Bavarian dialects in the southeast. (Wurst-Wurscht, erst-erscht)
    – Beta
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 7:42

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