"of or pertaining to Germany or the Germans," 1550s, from German (n.). German shepherd as a breed of dog (1922) is short for German shepherd dog (1889), which translates German deutscher Schäferhund. German Ocean as an old name for the North Sea translates Ptolemy. German measles attested by 1856. German-American is from 1880. German Reformed church is from 1812.
"of the same parents or grandparents," c. 1300, from Old French germain "own, full; born of the same mother and father; closely related" (12c.), from Latin germanus "full, own (of brothers and sisters); one's own brother; genuine, real, actual, true," related to germen (genitive germinis) "sprout, bud," which is of uncertain origin; perhaps it is a dissimilation of PIE *gen(e)-men-, suffixed form of root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.
Your cousin-german (also first cousin) is the son or daughter of an uncle or aunt; your children and your first cousins are second cousins to one another; to you, your first cousin's children are first cousins once removed.
"a native of Germany," 1520s, from Latin Germanus (adjective and noun, plural Germani), first attested in writings of Julius Caesar, who used Germani to designate a group of tribes in northeastern Gaul, of unknown origin and considered to be neither Latin nor Germanic. Perhaps originally the name of an individual tribe, but Gaulish (Celtic) origins have been proposed, from words perhaps originally meaning "noisy" (compare Old Irish garim "to shout") or "neighbor" (compare Old Irish gair "neighbor"). Middle English had Germayns (plural, late 14c.), but only in the sense "ancient Teuton, member of the Germanic tribes." The earlier English word was Almain (early 14c., via French; see Alemanni) or Dutch. Shakespeare and Marlowe have Almain for "German; a German."
Þe empere passede from þe Grees to þe Frenschemen and to þe Germans, þat beeþ Almayns. [Ranulph Higden’s "Polychronicon," mid-14c., John Trevisa's translation, 1380s]
Their name for themselves, die Deutschen (see Dutch), dates from 12c. Roman writers also used Teutoni as a German tribal name, and writers in Latin after about 875 commonly refer to the German language as teutonicus (see Teutonic). Meaning "the German language" in English is from 1748. High German (1823 in English) and Low German as a division of dialects is geographical: High German (from 16c. established as the literary language) was the German spoken in the upland regions in southern Germany, Low German (often including Dutch, Frisian, Flemish), also called Plattdeutsch was spoken in the regions near the North Sea. In the U.S. German also was used of descendants of settlers from Germany.
1630s, "of Germany or Germans," from Latin Germanicus, from Germani (see German (n.)). From 1773 as "of the Teutonic race;" from 1842 especially with reference to the language family that includes German, Dutch, English, etc. As a noun, the name of that language family, by 1892, replacing earlier Teutonic. Germanical is attested from 1550s.
c. 1300, "region of continental Europe inhabited by Germanic peoples," in a broad sense, from Latin Germania, a Roman designation (see German (n.)). In Middle English the place also was called Almaine (early 14c.), later Almany (16c.-17c.); see Alemanni. Middle English writers, following Latin, sometimes wrote of two Germanies, distinguishing the Alps and the region below the Danube from the region above it.
mid-14c., "having the same parents," a doublet of german (adj.) but directly from Latin germanus instead of via French (compare urbane/urban). Main modern sense of "closely connected, relevant" (c. 1600) derives from use in "Hamlet" Act V, Scene ii: "The phrase would bee more Germaine to the matter: If we could carry Cannon by our sides," which is a figurative use of the word in the now-obsolete loosened sense of "closely related, akin" (late 15c.) in reference to things, not persons.
World War I British Army slang for "a German; the Germans," 1919, probably an alteration of German based on the male nickname Jerry, popular form of Jeremy. But it also is said to be from the shape of the German helmet, which was thought to resemble a jerry, British slang for "chamber pot, toilet" (1850), this being probably an abbreviation of jeroboam, which is attested in this sense from 1827. Compare jerry-hat "round felt hat" (1841).
from the Latin form of Alsace. Alsatian was adopted 1917 by the Kennel Club for "German Shepherd dog" to avoid the wartime associations of German; the breed has no connection with Alsace. Alsatia was an old popular name for the White Friars district of London (1680s), which drew disreputable inhabitants owing to the privilege of sanctuary from a 13c. church and convent there; the image was of "debatable ground" (as Alsatia was between France and Germany). Hence Alsatian "London criminal," 1690s.
1530s, "of or relating to cities or towns," from French urbain (14c.) and directly from Latin urbanus "belonging to a city," also "citified, elegant" (see urban). The meaning "having the manners of townspeople, courteous, refined" is from 1620s, from a secondary sense in classical Latin. Urbanity in this sense is recorded from 1530s. For sense connection and differentiation of form, compare human/humane; german/germane.
Urbane; literally city-like, expresses a sort of politeness which is not only sincere and kind, but peculiarly suave and agreeable. [Century Dictionary]