Quite a few villages, towns and cities have their name ending in -ingen: Sigmaringen, Singen, Villingen-Schwenningen (combo), Donaueschingen, Memmingen, Tübingen, Überlingen, Uhldingen. I could go on and on.

What is the origin and the meaning of this suffix?

From experience, I think this is prevalent in Baden-Württemberg. Could it be a Swabian thing?

  • From experience, I think this is prevalent in Baden-Württemberg – Well, there’s Göttingen. – Wrzlprmft Feb 16 '17 at 9:57
  • Indeed, and I'm sure there must be other exceptions ( the northernmost I found was Heeslingen) but it is very frequent in the south. No idea what to make of this information, though. Quite a few of the Viennese districts also end in -ing, that might be related. – drolex Feb 16 '17 at 10:04
  • Or, RLP: Bingen, BAY: Schwabing, Pasing, Altötting, Germering, Herrsching, Memmingen, CH: Peking – user unknown Feb 16 '17 at 10:56
  • Peking (CN) ist in die Schweiz (CH) umgezogen? – tofro Feb 16 '17 at 12:17
  • 3
    京 (mandarin jīng, cantonese ging) means 'capital'. Not related... unless the Chinese garden in Zürich is the proof of the influence of upper Germanic on the Chinese culture or vice versa – drolex Feb 16 '17 at 12:34

The suffix "-ingen" describes the affilation to a leader or a person in general. So in Sigmaringen lived the relatives of Sigmar.

This is not a swabian thing, as you can find many town names with this suffix (even in Europe). It comes from the transmigration when regions were settled by germanics.

The origin of this suffix is old high german or germanic. It comes from "ing" or "jung" and means child.

Sources (in German):


-ingen (or -ing,-ung, -engo and others) denotes affiliation to a person, place or geographic landmark. It is commen in names of persons and places in many european regions where germanic languages had or have influence on local culture.

Examples include:

  • Göttingen, meaning 'habitants close to the river Guta'
  • Tübingen, meaning 'founded by Tuwo'
  • Reading, meaning ''Reada's People' (probably)

Other places can be found in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands', Switzerland, northern Italy and other regions.

  • How does that contradict the other answer? Is it the fact that it doesn't only apply to people but also places? Nice examples, that's interesting. – drolex Feb 17 '17 at 7:07
  • @drolex you are right, I will delete the first comment – steffen Feb 17 '17 at 12:06

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