April 15, 2012
doppelgänger (noun)
\DAH-pul-gang-er\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: someone who looks like someone else
How do you use it?
When I passed him on the street, I did a double-take because I thought he was you, but he was just your doppelgänger.
Are you a word wiz?

If the word "doppelgänger" doesn't look or sound like English to you, that's because it comes from another language. What language do you think "doppelgänger" comes from?

No need to double-check if you chose C! "Doppelgänger" came into English from German in the mid-1800s. But when "doppelganger" first came into English from German, it referred not to a living double, but to a ghost or wraith that resembled a living person. This was the meaning of German "Doppelgänger," which combined the German words "doppel," meaning "double," and "gänger," meaning "goer." That sense of "doppelgänger" is still sometimes used in English, though over time the spooky meaning has faded and "doppelgänger" has come to be used for someone who looks like someone else.
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