Sign up ×
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.

In English when a man is in a relationship with another man, he can say he's his boyfriend. In German, saying "Freund" when both are of the same sex is usually understood to mean the equivalent of "friend", not implying a relationship. Same goes for women.

Is there a german word for this?

share|improve this question
possible duplicate of How to distinguish between a female friend and a girlfriend? – John Smithers Aug 15 '12 at 11:17
Note that you can say Kumpel (fellow, buddy) to avoid ambiguity when referring to a friend. – Em1 Aug 15 '12 at 12:01
But you usually wouldn't call a girl like that. – Alexander Rühl Aug 15 '12 at 12:18
@Geziefer Correct, then you can take Kumpeline :D – Em1 Aug 15 '12 at 12:44
You imply not to have a relationship if you call somebody your friend? – user unknown Aug 20 '12 at 2:04

4 Answers 4

Basically there is no distinction, which sometimes makes it difficult to understand.

So when I say Das ist meine Freundin it's not obvious whether she is my girlfriend or just a friend.

Usually people then say something like Das ist eine Freundin (von mir) for the 2nd case.

Concerning the same sex - a colleague of mine is homosexual and when I speak of his Freund it's not obvious for others that I mean his boyfriend.

So, German pretty much lacks a word here...

share|improve this answer
It is easy and unambigous though if you refer to your best friend: "bester Freund"/"beste Freunding". This clearly does not refer to your boy-/girlfriend. – mthomas Aug 24 '12 at 16:05
I sometimes hear Germans speaking German and using the English words by/girl-friend to refer to a partner and the German words for "just good friends". – Mawg Jul 3 at 6:31

A boyfriend could be called »fester Freund«, a girlfriend »feste Freundin«.

There is also the term Partner (Partnerin) or, to clarify that it’s not a business partner, Lebenspartner (Lebenspartnerin). Another term is Lebensgefährte (Lebensgefährtin).

share|improve this answer
"Gender-neutral" is the wrong word: There are the clearly female forms "Partnerin" and "Lebensgefährtin". "Schatz" would be gender-neutral, because it remains the same whether your "Schatz" is male or female. – elena Aug 15 '12 at 11:45
@elena: As far as I know »Partner« and »Gefährte« are 'generisch maskulin'. So if someone says »Da kommt mein Partner« it is not 100% clear whether it's a male or a female person. You can only be sure if it is a female person and the speaker uses the female form. But the speaker doesn't have to use it. If the »Partner« is a female person it would be still correct to say »Da kommt mein Partner«. But I see that "gender-neutral" is not the right term for it, because a female form can be used. – unor Aug 15 '12 at 12:15
@StephaneRolland: It depends on your operating system and/or keyboard layout. On Gnome (GNU/Linux) I can type it with Alt Gr + 1. You can find a list of some subscript/superscript characters on Wikipedia. Feel free to ask a question on Superuser, where it can be discussed in more detail. – unor Aug 15 '12 at 21:40
@unor, if the partner is a female person and is just approaching, it would NOT be correct to say "Da kommt mein Partner." To a native speaker of German "Partner" in this context is male. If I see a woman approaching and the person next to me says "Da kommt mein Partner", I would not clock that it's the woman they're talking about. – teylyn Aug 17 '12 at 10:58
@teylyn: I agree that in this case it would be unusual not to use the feminine form. But afaik it would be strictly considered correct. In other situations it might become more clear: "Jeder darf seinen Partner mitbringen" (most wouldn't think that only male partners are welcome). Even clearer with the plural: a boy that says "meine bisherigen Partner" (instead of "Partnerinnen") doesn't necessarily mean only male partners. –– – unor Aug 17 '12 at 14:20

The only correct answer is: no. Both friend and boyfriend are "Freund" in German, and this often causes confusion.

share|improve this answer
While "Freund" can be attributed to make things clearer, as in er ist mein bester Freund (he's my best friend) or sie ist meine feste Freundin (she's my girlfriend). Also, the use of the article/personal pronoun can add a meaning: er ist ein Freund (he's a friend) versus er ist mein Freund (he's my boyfriend). – Thorsten Dittmar Oct 18 '12 at 13:55

As a gay man who has close German relatives I refer to my boyfriend with them (so for introductions or clarification) as Liebesfreund (implying a romantic relationship) versus referring to male friends of mine as ein Freund.

share|improve this answer
Mein lieber Freund X will be understood as my dear friend X, so it’s actually not a good option. – chirlu Nov 8 at 19:30
Welcome! Making up words like Liebesfreund may work and even be charming, but I understood the question as being about German as spoken by Germans ;) – Carsten S Nov 8 at 21:32
@carsten yeah I was looking for words germans use primarily. But I am open for creative word combinations aswell. "Liebesfreund".. I have never heard it, but it sounds interesting – Johannes Schaub - litb Nov 8 at 22:24
@JohannesSchaub-litb, I was trying to say that this is BS and be nice about it. – Carsten S Nov 9 at 9:53

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.