German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm referring to word groups like oben and droben, or außen and draußen.

Does the "dr-" represent something in its own right, perhaps a contraction of "dr-"?

Apparently, they lend some subtle changes or shades of meaning to the above-mentioned adverbs. How does that come about?

share|improve this question
Can you give some examples? – Hackworth Sep 14 '11 at 5:44
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The adverb droben is a short form of "dort oben". It's contracted for "daroben" which is not used anymore. The word "droben" itself isn't very commonly used in everyday language though.

draußen is a popular adverb, meaning outside or outdoors. I'm not sure, but it could also have its origin from the word "dort" (in combination with außen) or as Takkat wrote: a contraction of daraußen (not a word in modern German).

There are other examples of adverbs starting in dr-:

  • drunter (short for darunter)
  • drin (darin)
  • drüber (darüber)
share|improve this answer

Both examples come from a contraction of two words into one evolving from Middle High German:

draußen - mhd. dār ūʒenDuden

or, in your other example from

droben - dort obenDuden

Examples where both variants coexist are

dran - daran, drüber - darüber, drum - darum, drauf - darauf [...]

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.