Germany’s most popular baby names revealed

The most popular German baby names for 2019 have been released - including for every region of the country.

Germany's most popular baby names revealed
Photo: DPA

Hanna/Hannah is now the most popular name for girls, pushing last year’s first place of Emma into second. 

Noah has shot up the charts from fourth place into first, pushing 2018’s first-place getter Ben into second position. 

The list is compiled by the Society for the German Language (GfdS), with the 2019 figures released on Monday. 

READ: Germany's most popular baby names of 2018

In recent years, baby name charts have stayed relatively similar across Germany. 

But in 2019 some of the fixtures of previous lists have fallen from favour, including names like Marie, Sophie, Maximilian and Alexander which don’t feature in the new top ten at all. 

Germany's most popular baby names, broken down by region. Graph: DPA

‘Boys names are more colourful, more feminine’ 

Prof. Damaris Nübling told DPA that names for boys had become increasingly creative – and increasingly feminine – over the past few years. 

“The boy names are somewhat more colourful,” said Nübling. “Their spectrum of vowels and consonants is significantly richer.”

Boys names have become more feminine since the 1990s, rather than the harder-sounding names which were common in the 1960s like Peter, Werner or Klaus. 

Instead, names finishing in an ‘a’ sound like Noah and Luka have become common place. 

‘Soft names still dominant for girls’

While the boys’ names may have trended in a more feminine direction in recent years, girls’ names have not headed in the opposite direction. 

Nübling says softer names still dominate for girls. In addition to Hanna, Mia (3), Emilia (4), Lina (6) and Mila (9) all feature on the list. 

‘Pets now get human names’

Another trend noticed by the Society has been the tendency for pet owners to christen their best friends with human names. 

“In the playground, you often don't know whether someone is calling the child or the dog,” Nübling told DPA.

Female dogs and cats are increasingly being called names like Maja, Emma or Lily, while male cats and dogs get names like Paul, Felix or Oskar.

“It used to be different,” Nübling said. 

“Dogs were often called Bello or Fiffi, Lumpi or Rex regardless of gender.”

Top ten girls (position in previous year)

1. Hannah / Hanna (2)

2. Emma (1)

3. Mia (3)

4. Emilia (5)

5. Sophia / Sofia (4)

6.Lina (6)

7.Clara / Clara (9)

8. Ella (8)

9.Mila (7)

10. Marie (12)

Top ten boys

1. Noah (4)

2. Ben (1)

3. Paul (2)

4. Leon (3)

5. Louis / Luis (5)

6. Henry / Henri (8)

7. Felix (9)

8. Elias (7)

9. Jonas (6)

10. Finn (11)

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EXPLAINED: The lingo you need to talk about sleep like a true German

Sleep is a hugely important part of our daily lives, so if you struggle to sort your 'ausschlafen' from your 'einschlafen', this guide to German sleep vocabulary could come in handy.

EXPLAINED: The lingo you need to talk about sleep like a true German

Unless you’re someone who often spends a few days in a row at Berlin’s famous Berghain nightclub, sleep is an activity that most of us do every day.

It helps us prepare for the day ahead and sift through events in our lives, or alert us to something we’re worried about with a dreaded anxiety dream. When we’re deprived of it, it’s absolute hell, but nothing is more heavenly than a blissful lie-in. 

Unsurprisingly, sleep is a topic that comes up regularly in conversation in Germany, so it’s essential that these words are part of your German Wortschatz (vocabulary). 

Here’s our guide to some of the key terms that may crop up, whether you’re coaxing a child to finally go to sleep or enjoying some kip yourself. 

The basics 

As you probably know, the German word for sleep is der Schlaf, which can be turned into the verb schlafen, meaning to sleep. 

If you want to announce to whoever will listen that it’s bedtime for you, you can use the phrase: “Ich gehe ins Bett” (I’m going to bed), “Ich muss schlafen.” (I need to sleep) or “Es ist Schlafenzeit” (It’s bedtime) to make it clear that you’re ready to sleep.

For a slightly less direct way of indicating how tired you are, you can also reach for sich hinlegen, which means to lie down. As an example, you might say, “Jetzt ist wohl Schlafenzeit – ich glaube, ich lege mich hin.”  (It’s probably bedtime, I think I’ll lie down.) 

If you’re dealing with a child who’s determined to stay up past their bedtime, you’ll probably require the following phrases (and you may need to use them a number of times):

“Es wird langsam Schlafenzeit” – It’s slowly getting to your bedtime. 

“Du müsstest schon lange im Bett sein!” – It’s way past your bedtime. 

Your sleep habits 

When it comes to talking about your sleep habits, a lot can be done by simply adding prefixes to the word schlafen

For example, if you want to talk about falling asleep, you can use the word einschlafen. For example, you can say: “Ich bin um 22 Uhr ins Bett gegangen, aber um 23 Uhr eingeschlafen.” (I went to bed at 10pm but fell asleep at 11pm.) 

This might be a little confusing for English speakers, because einschlafen instinctively sounds like “sleeping in” – so try not to confuse the two.

If you do want to talk about having a lie-in and getting your fill of sleep, the word you need instead is ausschlafen. Generally, when “aus” is at the start of the word – i.e. ausreden (to finish talking) or auslesen (to finish a book) – it means you’ve done an activity to completion, and the same is true of sleeping.

READ ALSO: Eight of the most common (and funniest) mistakes German learners make

A man falls asleep next to his phone

A man falls asleep next to his smartphone and headphones. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Franziska Gabbert

But what about those awkward moments when you snooze through your alarm and wake up far later than you should? For those you’ll need the word verschlafen, which means to oversleep.

Of course, some of us have problems falling asleep in the first place, and that can be helpfully described by referring to die Schlaflosigkeit, which means sleeplessness or insomnia. 

Over a long period of time, this may develop into a fully blown Schlafstörung, or sleep disorder, which you may want to talk to a doctor about.

One important thing to note is that, as in English, schlafen can also have a double meaning, so if you say, “Ich habe mit jemandem geschlafen.” (I slept with someone), people will usually assume you’ve done a lot more than having a snooze.

Starting the day

The opposite of being eingeschlafen (asleep) is being wach (awake), and when you want to talk about waking up, the word you need is aufwachen.

The thing that wakes you up is called der Wecker (the alarm) and after you wake up, the next thing you may do is get out of bed, or aufstehen (stand up). Like einschlafen and aufwachen, this is a separable verb, which means you say: “Ich stehe auf” (I’m getting up) rather than “Ich aufstehe” when using it in the present tense. 

However, the two parts of the verb come back together when you use it in the past tense. 

An an example, you might tell a friend: “Ich bin um 8 Uhr heute wegen meinem Wecker aufgewacht, und um 8:30 bin ich aufgestanden.” (I woke up at 8am today because of my alarm clock and got up at 8:30.)

READ ALSO: 10 German words with hilarious literal translations

Dreams and feelings 

Sometimes we may not be so keen on describing our sleep regimen, but we do want to communicate with colleagues and friends that we’re desperately in need of it.

For these situations, you may find the following adjectives useful:

Müde: Tired
Erschöpft: Exhausted
Kaputt: Broken / Exhausted (colloquial)

And what if you want to talk about your dreams? Well, luckily, the word for this isn’t too different from the English: der Traum (the dream) or die Träume (the dreams). 

A woman sleeping in bed.

A woman sleeping in bed. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Bernd Diekjobst

The verb form of this is träumen, which can be helpful if you want to describe your dreams or say that you don’t often have them. For example, you could say:

Ich habe gestern von dir geträumt. (I had a dream about you yesterday)


Ich schlafe sehr tief and träume sehr selten. (I sleep very deeply and dream very rarely)

READ ALSO: The 10 false friends English and German speakers keep muddling up

As we know, not all dreams are particularly pleasant, so the word Albtraum (m.) – meaning nightmare – may come in handy. This apparently dates back to Germanic mythology, in which mythical other-wordly beings called Alben were believed to be responsible for dreams.

As in English, you can also use this word metaphorically to describe a particular unpleasant experience or situation.

For example:“Ich hoffe, ich verpasse mein Flug nicht. Das wäre ein echter Albtraum!” (I hope I don’t miss my flight. That would be a total nightmare!)