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According to Cornelio Tácito tells us in his De origine et situ Germanorum ("Of the origin and territory of the Germans"), the gentilicio Germans comes from the eponymous of a god: "They celebrate the ancient songs, which is the only kind of memories and annals they have, to a god named Tuiston, born of the earth, and his son Manno, who is ...


11

The other answers have all touched on different aspects of the question, but I'll try to combine them. Thousands of years ago, the Romans named much of north-central Europe Germānia, and the people who lived there Germānī (and things from that area Germānicus). It's unclear where this word came from; it's probably not related to the native Latin word ...


26

It's also worth pointing out the term originates in German as Urgermanisch or Protogermanisch, and that the German for German is Deutsch, not Germanisch. It was intended to be more neutral w.r.t. living Germanic (germanische) languages than it ended up sounding in English.


26

Roman authors, at the latest from the time of Caesar, used "Germani" to identify all the "Germanic" tribes on both sides of the Rhine. So this usage has been established for a long time.


7

Names are to a good part conventions. It is historically long established to name the group of languages consisting of the Scandinavian languages (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic; but not Finnish or Sami), German and Dutch, Frisian and English, Gothic and some more related languages "Germanic". The protolanguage is named Proto-Germanic ...


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