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"Nichtsdestotrotz" is one of the most complicated words that I had to deal with during my first stays in Germany not so long ago. Someone I had to report to was making very frequent use of it (even in official communication) and I never could understand how or when to use it properly. Everyone told me it was a synonym for trotzdem, and everyone told me they had never made use of this word, but that its usage seemed quite okay. My dictionary told me it was "umgangsprachlich", so I didn't bother.

I recently found out a small answer on Wikipedia that didn't exist when I first figured out how to write this word. It explains the word is originally a kind of student pun between the two synonyms "nichtsdestoweniger" (~nonetheless) and "trotzdem" (~regardless) but that nowadays it is considered okay to use it in a formal way.

On the web (leo forums, duden online) I also found out the word could have been an invention of Kurt Tucholsky, who was a satirist.

So this is my question: Is this word really usable in (formal) conversations, or is it still understood as a grammatical absurdity used only in oral conversations to point out a useless accumulation of words, as a kind of pun or simply to point out the fact that one doesn't want to bother choosing between "trotzdem" and "nichtsdestoweniger" (this kind of things happen frequently in my native language) ?

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Remark: I once have also read that “nichtsdestoweniger” itself was created as a malapropism of another word or word construction, but I can't find anything about that right now. I wonder if someone else has heard similiarly and can give background on that. –  k.stm Oct 9 '12 at 16:42
    
I don't think that "funny" is a very good tag. –  Phira Oct 9 '12 at 16:53
    
@Phira Ditto, I just removed it. –  k.stm Oct 12 '12 at 6:20
    
ok, i might just have a strange sense of humor when it comes to german vocabulary...btw thanks for the answers and comments, the first part of the question is not closed for me yet, but at least the second part seems to be resolved. –  Yves Oct 29 '12 at 23:05
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2 Answers 2

To me, nichtsdestotrotz sounds absolutely correct as a synonym of jedoch. (The proper usage of trotzdem is another can of worm.) It would not seem jarring to me to see it in a formal document. I would certainly expect it more in a legal document than in an informal email.

Ngram speaks a very clear message that nichtsdestotrotz is on the rise and nichtsdestoweniger is waning:

ngram - nichtsdestotrotz vs nichtsdestoweniger

So, better start to get used to it now.

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In your face nichtsdestoweniger :)... that always sounded dated to me –  Emanuel Oct 9 '12 at 17:06
    
Admittedly, "jedoch" and "trotzdem" have way higher usage scores. I actually agree that the usage is just due to the onomotapoeic qualities of the word. –  Phira Oct 9 '12 at 17:16
    
Mit der NGram-Grafik ist Tucholsky aus dem Rennen, der i.d. ersten Hälfte d. letzten Jahrhundert wirkte, aber das Wort ist ja offensichtlich viel älter. –  user unknown Oct 11 '12 at 19:38
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I hate “nichtsdestotrotz”. Why is everything getting worse? –  k.stm Oct 12 '12 at 5:43
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To my and this answer's supporters opinion it is not usable in formal conversations. Rather use “nichtsdestoweniger” or one of its other synonyms.

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Whenever someone uses it, I indeed sense the absurdity of “nichtsdestotrotz”. –  k.stm Oct 9 '12 at 16:43
    
Note that while I feel differently, I think that it is very valuable for me to know that some people feel like you. Would you care to tell us your approximate age or region? (Mine is mid-thirties / Austria.) –  Phira Oct 9 '12 at 17:18
    
Mid-Twenties, South Germany. –  k.stm Oct 9 '12 at 17:25
    
Well, maybe we should wait for the North Germans for more input, then. –  Phira Oct 9 '12 at 17:28
    
Mid-thirties, living in central Germany, but raised in the Southwest. –  chirlu Jun 2 '13 at 20:03
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