I am in high school learning German and one of the online tools we use taught us that jam was the same in German (Jam). However, our teacher told us that it was wrong and that we should use Marmelade instead.

What's the correct term for jam then? Is the site wrong or is our teacher wrong?

  • 7
    I never found Jam claiming to be a German word, and it is quite exotic without a following session.
    – guidot
    Apr 6, 2017 at 6:45
  • 2
    As you might expect, that site is very wrong and your teacher is absolutely correct. Apr 6, 2017 at 7:29
  • 2
    Which of the very many meanings of English 'jam' do you want to translate? In German, both 'Jam' and 'Marmelade' can be correct translations depending on what you are really trying to translate. Other possible translations are Stau, Gedränge, Gewühl, Engpass or Ladehemmung just to mention a few.
    – jarnbjo
    Apr 6, 2017 at 11:05
  • 1
    If you use the word Jam in German, it would probably be often associated with music.
    – Arminius
    Apr 22, 2017 at 22:52
  • 1
    There actually is a German word "Jam" for (especially British) Marmelade and Duden knows about it - But hardly anyone else.
    – tofro
    Apr 23, 2017 at 6:22

1 Answer 1


Most common are



These are more or less synonymous and mean a fruity jam with pieces of fruit in it. Swiss German speakers use Konfitüre more, Germans and Austrians Marmelade. Both are used both for English "marmalade" and English "jam".

Another word is


This is for jams with no recognizeable pieces of fruit (though pips may still be in there). Most common is Apfelmus (applesauce), Birnenmus, and Pflaumenmus.

  • 5
    There is also Gelée which is a product made of fruit juice (not fruits). Also the EU ruled that "Marmelade" is to be used for products made of oitrus fruits only, but nobody really cares/knows about it and uses it for any kind of jam/marmelade. Apr 6, 2017 at 2:40
  • 1
    @user1583209 Agreed, but the French spelling "Gelée" is rather rare in German. Usually, the word is written without the accent.
    – Uwe
    Apr 6, 2017 at 2:48
  • 1
    The bureaucratic correct term since the EU's decision mentioned by @user1583209 is Fruchtaufstrich, even if nobody uses it.
    – guidot
    Apr 6, 2017 at 6:42
  • 1
    I feel urged to comment here that Mus is something completely different from Marmelade. Marmelade is, basically cooked fruit with added sugar and usually some other stuff for gelling (if the fruit itself does not have enough of that stuff), then put in jars to be durable. Whereas Mus is just the fruit without added sugar or gelling stuff, and usually eaten right away, so not with the idea of being durable. (Well, there are jars of Apfelmus in the super markets... don't know how they make them durable. Probably by adding chemicals.) Apr 6, 2017 at 8:00
  • 1
    Do I understand it correctly that if I am stuck in a jam on my way home from work, I have to look out on the street for whole pieces of fruit to decide if I can say "Ich stecke in der Marmelade fest." or "Ich stecke in dem Muß fest." in German?
    – jarnbjo
    Apr 6, 2017 at 11:09

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