German Medical and Dental Vocabulary

Back of paramedic rushing at hall
Judith Haeusler/Getty Images

When you are traveling through or living in a German-speaking area, it is wise to know how to talk about medical problems in German. To help you out, explore and study some of the most common German words and phrases related to health care.

In this glossary, you will find words for medical treatments, ailments, diseases, and injuries. There is even a glossary of dental vocabulary in case you find yourself in need of a dentist and need to talk about your treatment in German.

The German Medical Glossary

Below you will find many of the German words you will need when speaking with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. It includes many common medical conditions and ailments and should cover the majority of your basic needs when seeking healthcare in a German-speaking country. Use it as a quick reference or study it ahead of time so you're prepared when you need to seek help.

To use the glossary, you'll find it helpful to know what a few common abbreviations mean:

  • Noun Genders: r (der, masc.), e (die, fem.), s (das, neu.)
  • Abbreviations: adj. (adjective), adv. (adverb), Br. (British), n. (noun), v. (verb), pl. (plural)  

Also, you'll find a few annotations throughout the glossary. Quite often these point out a relationship to German doctors and researchers who discovered a medical condition or treatment option. 


abscess  r Abszess
e Akne
  Pickel (pl.)
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)ADS (Aufmerksamkeits-Defizit-Störung)
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)ADHS (Aufmerksamkeits-Defizit und Hyperaktivitäts-Störung)
  become addicted/an addict
  drug addict
r/e Süchtige
  süchtig werden
  r/e Drogensüchtige
addiction  e Sucht
  AIDS victim
  e/r AIDS-Kranke(r)
allergic (to)allergisch (gegen)
allergye Allergie
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)e ALS (e Amyotrophe Lateralsklerose, Amyotrophische Lateralsklerose)
  Lou Gehrig's disease  s Lou-Gehrig-Syndrom
Named for the famous German-American baseball player Heinrich Ludwig “Lou” Gehrig (1903–1941). The star New York Yankees player was born into a poor German immigrant family in New York City and attended college on a football scholarship. Gehrig died of the muscle-wasting disease.
Alzheimer's (disease)e Alzheimer Krankheit
Named for the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer (1864–1915), who first identified the disease in 1906.
anesthesia/anesthesiae Betäubung/e Narkose
  general anesthetic
  local anesthetic
s Betäubungsmittel/s Narkosemittel
  e Vollnarkose
  örtliche Betäubung
anthrax  r Milzbrand, r Anthrax
The anthrax bacillus, the cause of Milzbrand, was discovered and isolated by the German Robert Koch in 1876.
antidote (to)s Gegengift, s Gegenmittel (gegen)
appendicitis  e Blinddarmentzündung
arteriosclerosis  e Arteriosklerose, e Arterienverkalkung
arthritis  e Arthritis, e Gelenkentzündung
aspirins Aspirin
In Germany and some other countries, the term Aspirin is a trademarked name. Aspirin was invented by the German firm Bayer in 1899.
asthmas Asthma
asthmatic  asthmatisch


bacterium (bacteria)e Bakterie (-n), s Bakterium (Bakteria)
bandage  s Pflaster (-)
  Band-Aid ®
r Verband (Verbände)
  s Hansaplast ®
benign  benigne (med.), gutartig
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH, enlarging prostate)BPH, Benigne Prostatahyperplasie
blood count  
  blood poisoning  
  blood pressure  
    high blood pressure  
  blood sugar  
  blood test
  blood type/group  
  blood transfusion  
s Blut
  s Blutbild
  e Blutvergiftung
  r Blutdruck
    r Bluthochdruck
  r Blutzucker
  e Blutprobe
  e Blutgruppe
  e Bluttransfusion
bloody  blutig
botulism  r Botulismus
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)die Bovine Spongiforme Enzephalopathie, die BSE
breast cancer r Brustkrebs
BSE, “mad cow” disease
  the BSE crisis 
e BSE, r Rinderwahn
  e BSE-Krise


Caesarean, C section
  She had a (baby by) Caesarean.
r Kaiserschnitt
  Sie hatte einen Kaiserschnitt.
cancer  r Krebs
cancerous adj.bösartig, krebsartig
carcinogen n.r Krebserreger, s Karzinogen
carcinogenic adj.krebsauslösend, krebserregend, krebserzeugend
cardiacHerz- (prefix)
cardiac arrestr Herzstillstand
cardiac disease e Herzkrankheit
cardiac infarctionr Herzinfarkt
cardiologistr Kardiologe, e Kardiologin
cardiologye Kardiologie
cardiopulmonaryHerz-Lungen- (prefix)
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)e Herz-Lungen-Wiederbelebung (HLW)
carpal tunnel syndromes Karpaltunnelsyndrom
CAT scan, CT scane Computertomografie
cataract  r Katarakt, grauer Star
catheter  r Katheter
catheterize (v.)katheterisieren
chemist, pharmacist r Apotheker (-), e Apothekerin (-innen)
chemist's shop, pharmacy e Apotheke (-n)
chemotherapye Chemotherapie
chicken poxWindpocken (pl.)
chills  r Schüttelfrost
chlamydia  e Chlamydieninfektion, e Chlamydien-Infektion
cholera  e Cholera
chronic (adj.
  a chronic disease
  eine chronische Krankheit
circulatory probleme Kreislaufstörung
The French may complain about their livers, but the number one German ailment is Kreislaufstörung.
CJD (Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease)e CJK (die Creuzfeldt-Jakob-Krankheit)
clinic  e Klinik (-en)
clone n.
clone v.
r Klon
  s Klonen
(a) cold, head cold
  to have a cold
eine Erkältung, r Schnupfen
  einen Schnupfen haben
colon cancerr Darmkrebs
colonoscopy  e Darmspiegelung, e Koloskopie
concussion  e Gehirnerschütterung
congenital (adj.angeboren, kongenital
congenital defectr Geburtsfehler
congenital diseasee kongenitale Krankheit (-en)
conjunctivitis  e Bindehautentzündung
constipation  e Verstopfung
s Contagium
  e Ansteckung
e Ansteckungskrankheit
contagious (adj.ansteckend, direkt übertragbar
convulsion(s) r Krampf (Krämpfe)
COPD  (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)COPD (Chronisch obstruktive Lungenerkrankung)
cough  r Husten
cough syrupr Hustensaft
CPR (see "cardiopulmonary resuscitation")e HLW
  stomach cramp
r Krampf (Krämpfe)
  r Magenkrampf
cure (for a disease) s Heilmittel (gegen eine Krankheit)
cure (back to health)e Heilung
cure (at spa)
  take a cure
e Kur
  eine Kur machen
cure (treatment for)e Behandlung (für)
cure (of) (v.)  
  cure s.o. of a disease
heilen (von)
  jmdn. von einer Krankheit heilen
cure-alls Allheilmittel
cut n.e Schnittwunde (-n)


dandruff, flaking skinSchuppen (pl.)
dead   tot
death   r Tod
dental, by a dentist (see dental glossary below)zahnärztlich
dentist   r Zahnarzt/e Zahnärztin
diabetes  e Zuckerkrankheit, r Diabetes
diabetic n.r/e Zuckerkranke, r Diabetiker/e Diabetikerin
diabetic adj.zuckerkrank, diabetisch
diagnosise Diagnose
dialysis  e Dialyse
diarrhea, diarrhoear Durchfall, e Diarrhöe
die v. 
  he died of cancer 
  she died of heart failure
  many people died/lost their lives
sterben, ums Leben kommen
  er starb an Krebs
  sie ist an Herzversagen gestorben
  viele Menschen kamen ums Leben
disease, illness  
  contagious disease
e Krankheit (-en)
  ansteckende Krankheit
doctor, physicianr Arzt/e Ärztin (Ärzte/Ärztinnen)


ENT (ear, nose, and throat)HNO (Hals, Nase, Ohren) 
pronounced HAH-EN-OH
ENT doctor/physicianr HNO-Arzt, e HNO-Ärztin
  in an emergency  
 r Notfall
  im Notfall
emergency room/warde Unfallstation
emergency servicesHilfsdienste (pl.)
environment  e Umwelt


fever  s Fieber
first aid
  administer/give first aid
erste Hilfe
  erste Hilfe leisten
first-aid kite Erste-Hilfe-Ausrüstung
first-aid kitr Verbandkasten/r Verbandskasten
flu, influenzae Grippe


gall bladdere Galle, e Gallenblase
gall stone(s)r Gallenstein (-e)
gastrointestinalMagen-Darm- (in compounds)
gastrointestinal tractr Magen-Darm-Trakt
gastroscopye Magenspiegelung
German measlesRöteln (pl.)
glucoser Traubenzucker, e Glucose
glycerin(e)s Glyzerin
gonorrhea  e Gonorrhöe, r Tripper


hematoma (Br.s Hämatom
haemorrhoid (Br.) e Hämorrhoide
hay feverr Heuschnupfen
  headache tablet/pill, aspirin
  I have a headache.
Kopfschmerzen (pl.)
  e Kopfschmerztablette
  Ich habe Kopfschmerzen.
head nurse, senior nursee Oberschwester
heart attackr Herzanfall, r Herzinfarkt
heart failures Herzversagen
heart pacemakerr Herzschrittmacher
heartburn  s Sodbrennen
health  e Gesundheit
health caree Gesundheitsfürsorge
hematoma, haematoma (Br.)s Hämatom
hemorrhage  e Blutung
  hemorrhoidal ointment  
e Hämorrhoide
  e Hämorrhoidensalbe
hepatitis  e Leberentzündung, e Hepatitis
high blood pressurer Bluthochdruck (med. arterielle Hypertonie)
Hippocratic Oathr hippokratische Eid, r Eid des Hippokrates
  HIV positive/negative
hospital  s Krankenhaus, e Klinik, s Spital (Austria)


ICU (intensive care unit) e Intensivstation
illness, diseasee Krankheit (-en)
incubator  r Brutkasten (-kästen)
infection e Entzündung (-en), e Infektion (-en)
influenza, flu e Grippe
injection, shote Spritze (-n)
innoculate, vaccinate (v.)impfen
insulin  s Insulin
insulin shockr Insulinschock
interaction (drugs)e Wechselwirkung (-en), e Interaktion (-en)


jaundice  e Gelbsucht
Jakob-Creutzfeld disease e Jakob-Creutzfeld-Krankheit


kidney(s)e Niere (-en)
kidney failure, renal failures Nierenversagen
kidney machinee künstliche Niere
kidney stone(s)r Nierenstein (-e)


laxatives Abführmittel
leukemiar Blutkrebs, e Leukämie
life s Leben
to lose your life, to dieums Leben kommen
many people died/lost their livesviele Menschen kamen ums Leben
Lou Gehrig's diseases Lou-Gehrig-Syndrom (see "ALS")
Lyme disease
  transmitted by ticks
e Lyme-Borreliose (also see TBE)
  von Zecken übertragen


"mad cow" disease, BSEr Rinderwahn, e BSE
malaria e Malaria
  German measles, rubella
e Masern (pl.)
  Röteln (pl.)
medical(ly) (adj., adv.)medizinisch, ärztlich, Sanitäts- (in compounds)
medical corps (mil.)e Sanitätstruppe
medical insurancee Krankenversicherung/e Krankenkasse
medical schoolmedizinische Fakultät
medical studentr Medizinstudent/-studentin
medicinal (adj., adv.)heilend, medizinisch
medicinal power(s)e Heilkraft
medicine (in general)e Medizin
medicine, medicatione Arznei, s Arzneimittel, s Medikament (-e)
metabolism r Metabolismus
mono, mononucleosiss Drüsenfieber, e Mononukleose (Pfeiffersches Drüsenfieber)
multiple sclerosis (MS)multiple Sklerose (die)
mumps r Mumps
muscular dystrophye Muskeldystrophie, r Muskelschwund


  head nurse
  male nurse, orderly
e Krankenschwester (-n)
  e Oberschwester (-n)
  r Krankenpfleger (-)
nursinge Krankenpflege


ointment, salvee Salbe (-n)
operate (v.)operieren
operation e Operation (-en)
have an operationsich einer Operation unterziehen, operiert werden
organs Organ
organ banke Organbank
organ donatione Organspende
organ donorr Organspender, e Organspenderin
organ recipientr Organempfänger, e Organempfängerin


pacemakerr Herzschrittmacher
paralysis (n.)e Lähmung, e Paralyse
paralytic (n.)r Paralytiker, e Paralytikerin
paralyzed, paralytic (adj.)gelähmt, paralysiert
parasite r Parasit (-en)
Parkinson's diseasee Parkinson-Krankheit
patient r Patient (-en), e Patientin (-nen)
pharmacy, chemist's shope Apotheke (-n)
pharmacist, chemistr Apotheker (-), e Apothekerin (-nen)
physician, doctorr Arzt/e Ärztin (Ärzte/Ärztinnen)
pill, tablete Pille (-n), e Tablette (-n)
r Pickel (-)
  e Akne
plague e Pest
pneumonia e Lungenentzündung
poison (n.)
  antidote (to)
s Gift/
  s Gegengift, s Gegenmittel (gegen)
poison (v.)vergiften
poisoning e Vergiftung
prescription s Rezept
prostate (gland)e Prostata
prostate cancer r Prostatakrebs
psoriasis e Schuppenflechte


quack (doctor)r Quacksalber
quack remedys Mittelchen, e Quacksalberkur/e Quacksalberpille
quinine s Chinin


rabiese Tollwut
rash (n.)r Ausschlag
rehab e Reha, e Rehabilitierung
rehab centers Reha-Zentrum (-Zentren)
rheumatism s Rheuma
rubella Röteln (pl.)


salivary glande Speicheldrüse (-n)
salve, ointmente Salbe (-n)
SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)s SARS (Schweres akutes Atemnotsyndrom)
scurvy r Skorbut
sedative, tranquilizers Beruhigungsmittel
shot, injectione Spritze (-n)
side effectsNebenwirkungen (pl.)
smallpox e Pocken (pl.)
smallpox vaccinatione Pockenimpfung
sonography e Sonografie
sonogram s Sonogramm (-e)
sprain e Verstauchung
STD (sexually transmitted disease)e Geschlechtskrankheit (-en)
stomach r Magen
stomach aches Bauchweh, Magenbeschwerden (pl.)
stomach cancerr Magenkrebs
stomach ulcers Magengeschwür
surgeon r Chirurg (-en), e Chirurgin (-innen)
syphilis e Syphilis
The German researcher Paul Ehrlich (1854–1915) discovered Salvarsans, a treatment for syphilis, in 1910. Ehrlich was also a pioneer in chemotherapy. He received the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1908.


tablet, pille Tablette (-n), e Pille (-n)
TBE (tick-borne encephalitis)Frühsommer-Meningoenzephalitis (FSME) 
A TBE/FSME vaccine is available which German doctors can give to people at risk, but it cannot be used on children under the age of 12. It is not available in the U.S. The vaccination is good for three years. The tick-borne disease is found in southern Germany and other parts of Europe, but is fairly rare.
  he has a temperature
e Temperatur (-en)
  er hat Fieber
thermal imaginge Thermografie
thermometer s Thermometer (-)
tissue (skin, etc.)s Gewebe (-)
  CAT/CT scan, computer tomography
e Tomografie
  e Computertomografie
tonsilitis e Mandelentzündung
tranquilizer, sedatives Beruhigungsmittel
triglyceride s Triglyzerid (Triglyzeride, pl.)
tuberculosis e Tuberkulose
tuberculin s Tuberkulin
typhoid fever, typhusr Typhus


ulcers Geschwür
ulcerous (adj.geschwürig
urologist r Urologe, e Urologin
urology e Urologie


vaccinate (v.)impfen
vaccination (n.)
  smallpox vaccination
e Impfung (-en)
  e Pockenimpfung
vaccine (n.)r Impfstoff
varicose veine Krampfader
vasectomy e Vasektomie
vascularvaskulär, Gefäß- (in compounds)
vascular diseasee Gefäßkrankheit
veine Vene (-n), e Ader (-n)
venereal disease, VDe Geschlechtskrankheit (-en)
virus s Virus
virus/viral infectione Virusinfektion
vitamin s Vitamin
vitamin deficiencyr Vitaminmangel


warte Warze (-n)
wound (n.)e Wunde (-n)


X-ray (n.)e Röntgenaufnahme, s Röntgenbild
X-ray (v.durchleuchten, eine Röntgenaufnahme machen
The German word for X-rays comes from their German discoverer, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845–1923).


yellow fevers Gelbfieber

German Dental Vocabulary 

When you have a dental emergency, it can be difficult to discuss your issue when you don't know the language. If you're in a German-speaking country, you will find it very useful to rely on this small glossary to help you explain to the dentist what is bothering you. It's also useful as he explains your treatment options.

Be ready to expand you "Z" vocabulary in German. The word "tooth" is der Zahn in German, so you will use it often in the dentist office.

As a reminder, here is the glossary's key to help you understand some of the abbreviations.

  • Noun Genders: r (der, masc.), e (die, fem.), s (das, neu.)
  • Abbreviations: adj. (adjective), adv. (adverb), Br. (British), n. (noun), v. (verb), pl. (plural)  
amalgam (dental filling)s Amalgam
anaesthesia/anesthesiae Betäubung/e Narkose 
  general anesthetic 
  local anesthetic 
s Betäubungsmittel/s Narkosemittel 
  e Vollnarkose
  örtliche Betäubung
(to) bleach, whiten (v.)bleichen  
brace(s) e Klammer (-n), e Spange (-n), e Zahnspange (-n), e Zahnklammer (-n)
crown, cap (tooth) 
  tooth crown
e Krone
  e Zahnkrone  

dentist (m.)

r Zahnarzt (-ärzte) (m.), e Zahnärztin (-ärztinnen) (f.)
dental assistant, dental nurser Zahnarzthelfer (-, m.), e Zahnarzthelferin (-nen) (f.)
dental (adj.)zahnärztlich 
dental flosse Zahnseide  
dental hygiene, dental caree Zahnpflege  
dental technicianr Zahntechniker 
  denture set
  false teeth
r Zahnersatz
  e Zahnprothese  
  falsche Zähne, künstliche Zähne
(to) drill (v.)  
  r Bohrer (-), e Bohrmaschine (-n)  
  sum total of fees (on dental bill)
  service provided
  itemization of services
s Honorar (-e)  
  Summe Honorare  
  e Leistung  
  e Leistungsgliederung  
  (tooth) filling(s)
  to fill (tooth)
e Füllung (-en), e Zahnfüllung (-)
   e Plombe (-n)  
fluoridation, fluoride treatmente Fluoridierung
gum, gumss Zahnfleisch  
gingivitis, gum infectione Zahnfleischentzündung
periodontology (gum treatment/care)e Parodontologie  
periodontosis (shrinking gums)e Parodontose  
plaque, tartar, calculus
  plaque, tartar, calculus
  tartar, calculus (hard coating)
  plaque (soft coating)
r Belag (Beläge)  
  r Zahnbelag  
  harter Zahnbelag  
  weicher Zahnbelag  
prophylaxis (teeth cleaning)e Prophylaxe  
removal (of plaque, tooth, etc.)e Entfernung  
rootr Wurzel  
root-canal worke Wurzelkanalbehandlung, e Zahnwurzelbehandlung  
sensitive (gums, teeth, etc.) (adj.)empfindlich 
tooth (teeth)
  tooth surface(s)
r Zahn (Zähne)  
  e Zahnfläche (-n)  
toothacher Zahnweh, e Zahnschmerzen (pl.)  
tooth enamelr Zahnschmelz  
treatment(s)e Behandlung (-en)  

Disclaimer: This glossary is not intended to offer any medical or dental advice. It is for general information and vocabulary reference only.