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
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    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
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    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
  • dict.cc/?s=lone+wolf – 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 - Reinstate Monica Jun 4 '14 at 7:40

For the metaphorical meaning, the idiomatic term is Einzelgänger.


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

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    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.


Wiktionary lists the (imho) nice alternative "Eigenbrötler" to "Einzelgänger". It adds a little pinch of eccentricity if so desired.


I have to add a little more explanation, in English there is also the word loner which is best translated as Einzelgänger. The loner might be someone who simply hides and has no contact to outer world. He usually avoids every conflict with others.

In contrast the additional word wolf emphasizes the fact he is brave and a real hard fighter for something even if there might be hard resistance against him or his opinion. In German the best translation is Einzelkämpfer or Einsamer Krieger or Einsamer Wolf.


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

  • 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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