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I am looking for a good German word(s) for the English "(a)lone wolf". Practically I am looking for not only a simple dictionary translation, but for a secondary/metaphorical meaning as well, if it exists.

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Can You elaborate on what you consider the primary and secondary meaning? – Wrzlprmft Jun 3 '14 at 10:38
I guess the secondary meaning is not the literal meaning, so in this case lone wolf = a person who depends only on himself and is distant from the other people. – Jagger Jun 3 '14 at 10:58
I don't know the English "lone wolf". I don't know what you came up with when doing your research. Did you use a dictionary? I just tried 3 different dictionaries and those agree on "Einzelgänger". At least, now I know what a lone wolf is. -1 anyway. – Em1 Jun 3 '14 at 14:53 – Emanuel Jun 3 '14 at 20:06
@Em1 I didn't asked for a dictionary equivalent, but for a metaphorical equivalent, which I mentioned clearly in my question. It differs mostly a lot from the simple dictionary translation (which I also could translate to f.e. "allein Wolf" or so). Although I had to at least check this in a dictionary, simply I didn't thought it could be found it them. My previous attempts to find metaphorical equivalents were mostly unsuccessful based on leo.dict/google attempts, and I though, native speakers could give much better alternatives. Maybe this explanation is enough for a vote change/hold removal? – peterh Jun 4 '14 at 7:40
up vote 15 down vote accepted

For the metaphorical meaning, the idiomatic term is Einzelgänger.

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This is also what dict.leo says :) – Jagger Jun 3 '14 at 11:11
@Jagger Thanks :-) I didn't even try it. – peterh Jun 3 '14 at 11:59
Wiktionary lists the (imho) nice alternative "Eigenbrötler" which adds a little pinch of eccentricity if so desired. – Raphael Jun 3 '14 at 16:14

The literal translation “Einsamer Wolf” is something you could say in German as well.

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Thank for you as well! – peterh Jun 3 '14 at 12:00
Not only could say, but in fact you do. And it has quite a different connotation than "Einzelgänger" (solitaire), probably exactly the same as lone wolf in English. – Zane Jun 3 '14 at 13:28

"Einzelkämpfer" and the similar "Einsamer Krieger" are common; they apply to non-competetive settings but do imply that the person is actually doing something (alone), as opposed to just being alone as a general rule.


Alle sitzen in der Sonne, aber Klaus mäht den Rasen, der einsame Krieger!

Viele arbeiten lieber in Gruppen, aber Claudia ist eine Einzelkämpferin.

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If you want a somewhat heavy literary allusion, there's "Steppenwolf"

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Welcome to German Language! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – Vogel612 Jun 3 '14 at 17:12

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