The Quick Guide on Descriptive German Adjectives

Use these words to describe yourself and others

To speak German, you have to know your adjectives. As a reminder, these are the descriptive words used to describe a person, place or thing. In this case, let's look at adjectives commonly used to describe people, both physically and behaviourally.

We have grouped adjectives by nouns that they're commonly associated with, but of course, these descriptive words may be used to describe many different things, not just the body part listed.

Also, the adjectives are given in "neuter" form, so make sure to appropriately declinate adjectives according to the noun gender they describe. 

Tip: If you are studying German on your own, a quick and simple way to practice the vocabulary would be to pick a picture of someone in a newspaper, magazine or website and describe them.

German Worlds to Describe Physical Appearance

Der Körper (body): schlank (skinny) - dünn (thin) - hager (gaunt) - groß (big) - riesig (gigantic, really tall) - dick (fat) - stark, kräftig (strong) - schwach, schwächlich (weak) - braun (tanned) - gebückt (stooped).

Das Gesicht (face): lang (long) - rund (round) - oval (oval) - breit (broad), Pickel im Gesicht (pimples on the face) - mit Falten, faltiges Gesicht (with wrinkles, a wrinkly face) - pausbäckig (chubby-cheeked) - bleich, blass (pale) - ein rotes Gesicht (a red face) - kantig (angular)

Die Augen (eyes): tiefliegende Augen (deep-set eyes) - strahlend (bright, brilliant), dunkel (dark, hazel) - mandelförmig (almond-shaped eyes), geschwollen (puffy), müde (tired), klar (clear), funkelnd (twinkling) - wulstig (bulging)

Die Augenbrauen (eyebrows): dicht (thick), voll (full), schön geformte (nicely-shaped), dünn (sparse), geschwungen (slightly curved)

Die Nase (nose): krumm (crooked) - spitz (pointy) - gerade (straight) – stumpf (turned-up) – flach (flat)

Der Mund (mouth): lächelnd (smiling) - die Stirn runzeln (to frown) - eine Schnute ziehen/einen Schmollmund machen ( to pout) - eckig (square) - offen (open) - weit aufgesperrt (gaping) - Mundgeruch haben (to have bad breath)

Die Haare (hair): lockig (curly) – kraus (tightly-curled) – kurz (short) – glänzend (shiny) – glatt (straight) - glatzköpfig (bald) - schmutzig (dirty) - fettig (greasy) - einen Pferdeschwanz tragen (in a ponytail) - einen Knoten tragen ( in a bun) – gewellt (wavy) - voluminös (voluminous). See also colors.

Die Ohren (ears): herausstehende Ohren (ears that stick out) – Elfenohren (elf ears) - die Schwerhörigkeit (hard of hearing) – taub (deaf) – Ohrringe tragen (wearing earrings) - Hörgerät tragen (wear a hearing-aid)

Die Kleidung (clothes):  modisch (fashionable) - lässig (casual) - sportlich (athletic) - beruflich (professional) - unschön (not fashionable) - altmodisch (dated)

More clothes-related nouns that can help describe details: die Hose (pants) - das Hemd (shirt) - das T-shirt ( t-shirt) - der Pullover (sweater) - die Schuhe (shoes) - die Sandalen (sandals) - die Spitzschuhe (high heels) - die Stiefeln (boots) - der Mantel (coat) - die Jacke (jacket) - der Hut (hat) - der Anzug (a suit). See more on clothes and fashion.

Other: manikürte Nägel (manicured nails) - das Muttermal (birthmark) - schmale Lippen (thin lips) – Plattfüße (flat-feet)

German Words To Describe a Person

Eigenschaften (personality): Erregt (excited) - redselig (talkative) – schlechtgelaunt (bad-tempered) – jähzornig (violent-tempered) - spaßig (amusing) - zufrieden (happy; satisfied) - freundlich (friendly) - tapfer (courageous) – gemein (mean) – sanft (gentle) – großzügig (generous) – ungeduldig (impatient) – geduldig (patient) - faul (lazy) – hard-working (fleißig) – nervös (nervous) - ernst (serious) - schüchtern (shy) - schlau (clever) - klug (smart) - religiös (religious) – dickköpfig (stubborn) - traurig (sad) – depremiert (depressed) - komish (funny, weird) - seltsam, merkwürdig (strange) - gierig (greedy) – gerissen (sly) – barmherzig (compassionate) - fleißig (hard-working) – witzig (witty, funny) - jemand der sich immer beklagt (complainer) – eitel (vain) – sportlich (athletic)

Descriptive Verbs

Hobbys: lesen (reading) – tanzen (dancing) – schreiben (reading) - Sport treiben (to play sports), singen (singing) – basteln (to do crafts) – photographieren (to take photos) – reisen (to travel) Holzbearbeitung machen (woodworking) – backen (to bake) – kochen (to cook) – malen (to paint, color) – zeichnen (to draw) – camping (Campen gehen) – einkaufen (shopping)

Other Descriptive Nouns

Die Familie (family): die Eltern (parents) - die Mutter (mother) - der Vater (father) - der Sohn (son) - die Tochter (daughter) - die Schwester (sister) - der Bruder (brother). See Family Glossary for more.

Describe Yourself in German

Here is a sample description of how it might sound to describe yourself in German. An English translation is below.

Hallo. Ich heiße Hilde und komme aus Deutschland.

Ich bin in Essen geboren, aber lebe seit vierzehn Jahren in Stuttgart. Zur Zeit studiere ich Maschinenbau an der Universität. Ich mag reisen, lesen und tanzen. Meine Freunde nennen mich „Schwatzliese,“ weil ich immer so redselig bin – auch während den Unterricht! Ich habe dunkle, krause Haare, haselnussbraune Augen und ziehe öfters eine Schnute wenn ich beleidigt bin. Ich bin sehr fleißig zum Studieren aber zu faul um meine Wohnung aufzuräumen. Ich trage lieber Jeans und Rennschuhe, als Röcke und Spitzschuhen.

English Translation:

Hello. My name is Hilde and I am from Germany. I was born in Essen, but have lived for fourteen years in Stuttgart. Currently, I am studying mechanical engineering at the university. I like to travel, read and dance. My friends call me a chatterbox because I’m always talking so much – even during class! I have dark, curly hair, hazel eyes and can pout really well when I am offended. I am very studious, but very lazy when it comes to cleaning up my apartment. I rather wear jeans and running shoes than skirts and high heels.