My German teacher explained the meaning of the word "prestigeträchtig". The word prestige is no brainer but he said the suffix -trächtig comes from the verb "tragen", which fascinated me a lot since I realized if I can just learn the origin of some words then it would become easier for me to memorize them. So I asked him if he knew any book or reference, which contains such explanation. Sadly he didn't know any. So please if you guys have any book/website/etc. recommendations please share them with me.

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    dwds is a good resource for that kind of explanations (in German). See e.g. trächtig in section Etymologie. Sep 21, 2020 at 19:29
  • Oh I use DWDS all the time I didn't notice that section before. Thank you! Sep 21, 2020 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


It is indeed a good memorization strategy to dig deeper into the etymology of words. This holds true not only for suffixes, but also for them. (Beware of using this strategy for prefixes, though, because this might lead to a lot of errors. Even if there are some regularities in the meaning of prefixes, there is no secure way of guessing the meaning of a verb from its prefix, so you just have to learn the different meaning of verbs with different prefixes.)

I don't know a special resource for the etymology of suffixes, and I doubt there is a dedicated book on this. But you can just use ordinary etymological dictionaries:

The by far best and most recommendable is Digitales Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache. It has the best content, because the etymology part reflects Wolfgang Pfeifer: Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Deutschen, Akademie-Verlag Berlin 1989. which is currently the best existing etymological dictionary of German. It is also free and available online.

Another widely used etymological dictionary is

  • Kluge: Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache

Less recommendable (because they have a less lemmas and less information per lemma) are

  • Wahrig: Herkunftswörterbuch
  • Duden Herkunftswörterbuch.
  • An example of the type of error that can occur if you're not careful: Ein Bär kann gebären, ein Waschbär kann gebären, aber ein Waschbär kann nicht waschgebären.
    – RDBury
    Sep 21, 2020 at 20:50
  • Thank you very much! Sep 22, 2020 at 13:24

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