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Jungle is a slang term for a dense forest in the tropics .

South American jungle
Jungle in Cambodia


In a narrower sense, only the original primeval forest of South and Southeast Asian countries is called jungle. In the sciences (e.g. in geography) the term is sometimes used for the dense forests of the northern monsoon zone . Impenetrable vegetation (see etymology) is more likely to be found in the original mixed forests of Central Europe with their distinctive shrub layers, but hardly in the rather sparse tropical primary forest . The wet and dry forests of the tropical savannah zone, which at times have extremely dense undergrowth during the rainy season and dry out during the dry season, are colloquially known as bush ; a term that is incorrectly used in adventure stories for tropical rainforests and jungles.


Originally, jangal (جنگل) meant “forest” or “thicket” in Persian . This Persian word is originally related to Sanskrit जङ्गल jaṅgala for “wasteland, desert; Thicket ”and the adjective jaṅgala for“ undeveloped, barren or not very fertile, desolate, arid, sparsely overgrown with trees; wild". It is therefore difficult to decide whether the Hindi word jaṃgal (जंगल) comes from Sanskrit or is one of the many Persian loanwords in Hindi. The British living in India derived the English word jungle from it and used it mainly to describe the subtropical monsoon forest and the bamboo-rich swamp areas in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and in the Ganges delta .

Word usage

In German it is called the or (rarely) the jungle. With the phrase law of the jungle , with reference to eating and being eaten, conditions are designated in which a “law of the strongest” prevails, for example in the manner of the law of the thumb .


  • The jungle , novel by Upton Sinclair about the bad conditions in the meat industry in Chicago around 1900. Here, too, the word The jungle is used as a metaphor for the impenetrable (namely the conditions for the common worker), but also for the struggle of all against all (here of management against the workforce).
  • Tarzan
  • The jungle book , the feminine form that is unfamiliar today has been used here since it was first translated in 1899 and has been retained in German editions to this day. It also seems to have been an unconventional, albeit grammatically correct, decision by the translators at the time, which fits in well with the otherwise courageous, linguistically very successful translation into German.

Web links

Commons : Jungle  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Jungle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Steingass, Francis Joseph: A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary , London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1892, p. 374, [1]
  2. Apte, Vaman Shivram: The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary , Poona: Prasad Prakashan, 1957-1959, p. 723, [2]
  3. Apte, Vaman Shivram: The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary , Poona: Prasad Prakashan, 1957-1959, p. 732.
  4. Keyword: Dschungel auf duden.de, accessed on August 8, 2020.