When I have used translation services, the word suggestions for "dating" seem to be along the lines of carbon dating, not the intended romantic words.

The other challenge is that American concept of dating varies widely from the German concept of dating. Hence there might not be a very literal translation.

Though I did at one point get the German(?) word "Dating" but is that really used? I also found "Datieren."

So I fell back to the word "courting" which to German translates to "Balzende." But would this be a good idea?

I have been searching around and this seems to be a topic that has been brought up but no real answer has been given that I could find. For example, here.

other thread

  • 3
    Could you describe the "American concept of dating"?
    – unor
    Feb 23, 2014 at 22:14
  • 3
    Even among Americans, I think there is significant variation in what people consider to be "dating." I (an American) have been trying to figure it out for a long time and I'm still not sure.
    – David Z
    Feb 24, 2014 at 2:06
  • @unor I can say that "dating" in America is often used as a term to describe the initial phases of getting to know someone. Like having coffee, dinner, or going somewhere together with the intent of gauging if there is mutual romantic interest. From the women I have asked, when a single man and a single woman are together alone, then that is a "date." But of course not all women agree with that. Our dictionary defines "date" as a social or romantic appointment or engagement.
    – JGallardo
    Feb 26, 2014 at 18:22

4 Answers 4


"Balzende", which comes from the noun "die Balz" (verb "balzen"), usually refers to animal courtship. It is hardly ever used for humans in the sense of "courtship", except as a derogatory expression, if you want to emphasize the animalistic part of it (e.g. you might refer to a gang of horny teenagers trying to get some girls' attention as "balzende Kinder"), but even that is rarely done. Also, this really only refers to the act of "courting" before any kind of relationship (even if it is only sexual).

The better translation for "courting" would be "Werbung", but I guess this one is a bit antiquated nowadays. However, also this refers to everything before and maybe including the dates until some form of relationship is established, not really anything more.

Guntram already gave an answer of what you could call "dating" in Germany (and I'll also take his definition as a basis), which basically sums it up. However, one should be aware that "die Beiden sind zusammen" is also used for serious relationships, while "die Beiden gehen miteinander" in my experience is more used for teenage relationships (it's the cliché phrase for notes passed between I don't know, maybe primary or middle school pupils: "Willst du mit mir gehn? Ja, Nein, Vielleicht").

An alternative might be "Die beiden gehen aus" or "Die beiden daten" - however I'd say this might be less than what you want to say with "dating". That said, a lot of terms revolving around not so serious relationships (e.g. friends with benefits, one-night stands) are understood in German and do not have an exact translation.

  • 1
    When i was young, "miteinander gehen" was strictly teenage use, that's right. But - at least in my environment - it can be used for all relationships that might, but do not have to, end in marriage. A while ago, a friend told me about his mother who had died 3 years ago, and how his 82-year old father started dating his neighbor recently, and he used the words "seit kurzem gehen Sie miteinander". I probably wouldn't use that in a book except when writing about teenagers, but it seems to have lost the teenager-only meaning at least where i live (southern germany). Feb 23, 2014 at 23:14
  • Interesting! In my environment, this is still highly uncommon. So there might be a slow shift in meaning.
    – Martin
    Feb 24, 2014 at 8:45

There is no German verb that fits exactly. Being German, I don't know the finer points of what "dating" includes or doesn't include in the U.S. But "they have a relationship that probably involves sex, is intended to last at least for a while, and if one partner had the same relationship with someone else, the other partner would feel betrayed" would be called "die beiden gehen miteinander" or "die beiden sind zusammen".

  • Well what would be a term for casually dating someone? like if you just want to meet up with them for a few drinks?
    – JGallardo
    Feb 24, 2014 at 2:47
  • 2
    I don't think there is a term other than describing what you're doing. For example, i'd say "Ich gehe mit <Person> ab und zu ins Kino" or "Meine Kollegin <Name> und ich essen zwei- bis dreimal in der Woche zusammen in der Kantine". If i wanted to make a point that we're not dating, i'd say "Aber sonst ist da nichts". You might also read "X und Y waren platonisch befreundet" in a book, but that's too formal for spoken german. Feb 24, 2014 at 8:28

I am a little bit surprised no one mentioned it yet, but in addition to the already mentioned, one can also say:

Die beiden sind ein Paar.
They are a couple.

  • 2
    This is correct, thank you. I should have added details that what I was looking for was that in America "dating" is more often used to describe the initial stages of establishing if there is romantic interest. For example, if one person is introduced to another and they meet up once for coffee and once for dinner, but then decided to not continue. They would still be considered to have "dated" because they went on 2 dates. Though I have heard from Germans that those "dates" would be considered more "time with a friend" and not serious (in a romantic context).
    – JGallardo
    Feb 26, 2014 at 18:19

Ein nüchterner Ausdruck lautet

  • sich verabreden,

wird aber auch benutzt für Verabredungen zum Geschäftsessen oder im Familienkreis, also keineswegs beschränkt auf romantische Verabredungen.

Die ersten Treffen mit einem möglichen Partner werden auch unter von

  • sich kennenlernen

erfasst, aber das beschreibt eher den Beziehungsstatus, oder eine der ersten Verabredungen. Ein Paar ist man dann aber erst danach vielleicht, abhängig vom Ausgang des Dates.

  • sich daten, ein Date haben

sind heutzutage im Deutschen gängig.

Früher war für romantische Verabredungen das französische

  • ein Rendezvous haben, zum Rendezvous gehen

weit verbreitet, und weniger verbreitet auch

  • das Tête-à-Tête,

ersteres ganz klar dem Bereich des Paarungsverhaltens zugehörig, während das Tête-à-Tête auch eine ernste Angelegenheit betreffen konnte.

  • mit jmd. ausgehen würde auch passen. Kann neutral sein, kann auch mehr sein. Apr 30, 2022 at 8:12
  • Passt oft, ja, für Essengehen, Kinobesuche, aber nicht wenn man sich in einer der Wohnung der Beteiligten trifft. Apr 30, 2022 at 14:22

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