In the Pokemon game one of the swimmer enemies describes himself as locker und gelenk. But what does it mean?

Locker, I've already found in a dictionary.

  • 3
    – Carsten S
    Jun 25, 2014 at 21:59
  • It says, Gebrauch: veraltet. So why this word is in Pokemon?
    – user8720
    Jun 25, 2014 at 22:08
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    Who nows? There is no law against using old words. It is not that uncommon in literature, especially when it comes to fantasy settings that chose oldish wording on purpose - perhaps the translator has done some of these recently.
    – Hulk
    Jun 26, 2014 at 4:20
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    Duden appears to be the only contemporary dictionary having an entry for the adjective gelenk. Please do not close this question for "lack of research effort". We should not expect a user to consult all dictionaries (including those he may have no access to) before asking here. For a non-native user Duden may not really be the dictionary of first choice.
    – Takkat
    Jun 27, 2014 at 19:45
  • 1
    If you disagree, please discuss that on Meta: meta.german.stackexchange.com/questions/698/…
    – Takkat
    Jun 27, 2014 at 20:15

4 Answers 4


"Gelenk" may be rather rare and I would guess the person translating the game just took whatever the dictionary was suggesting without double checking.
The opposite however, "ungelenk", is commonly used both as an adverb or an adjective.
Since "ungelenk" (clumsy, clumsily moving) is not the same as "ungelenkig" (not very limber), I perceive the same difference for "gelenk" vs. "gelenkig", the latter being "limber" and the former being "agile".

  • 1
    Never ever heard ungelenk...
    – Em1
    Jun 26, 2014 at 10:36
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    @Em1... that is really surprising actually... books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – Emanuel
    Jun 26, 2014 at 11:27
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    Naja, im Geschriebenen sind beide Wörter sehr selten. Die Wahrscheinlichkeit das eine oder andere zu lesen geht gegen Null. Wortschatz-Portal hat ~60 bzw. ~150 Einträge. Zum Vergleich, Fußball, ein Thema über das sehr viel geschrieben wird, hat ~21500 Einträge. – Im Sportunterricht oder beim Training höre/hörte ich "(un)gelenkig" hingegen sehr häufig. "(Un)gelenk" ist mir aber noch nie untergekommen; falls ich es doch jemals mal gehört haben sollte, habe ich es mit Sicherheit als Irrtum registriert, sprich schlicht ein fehlendes "-ig".
    – Em1
    Jun 26, 2014 at 12:52
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    I'm a foreigner and I've heard these words. I believe the context was a song called "Weisse Schleier, Gruenen Myrte."
    – Tom Au
    Jun 26, 2014 at 21:31

Like others have already said, gelenk is synonymous with gelenkig ‘flexible, agile’ and the former is falling out of use. They are not used for different functions, e.g. adverb and adjective.

Some adjectives require the transparent word class suffix +ig in compounds, e.g. neu+ig+keit, others do not appear without it, e.g. ewig, artig. Of these, some have a tendency to incorporate that morpheme into their base form, too, e.g. gelenk+ig, whereas it’s wrong for others like *neu+ig. The reasons for this change may be manifold, from phonologic constraints to semantic disambiguation.

“Transparent” above means that words from other classes do not end in -ig (where i is not part of a diphthong ei). Prominent counter-examples are nouns Essig, Honig, Käfig, König, Pfennig and Reisig (but this list is pretty much complete) and names of all kinds like Leipzig, Grundig, Herbig, Ludwig. Let’s assume, numerals like vier+zig were adjectives. There are also about 100 verbs that end in +ig+en and therefore could have an inflective, imperative or schwa-apocopic form with -ig at the end; they’re usually derivates of adjectives or nouns, and most also include a prefix like be+, er+ or ver+.

“Adjective” is used in a loose sense above, because it may include adverbs and pronouns, cf. wenig+ and einig+. So +ig is restricted to words that can inflect in a common way: differentiated by gender.

  • 1
    forgive if I sound stupid but... what? I don't understand why you're telling all this. What does that have to do with the question?
    – Emanuel
    Jun 26, 2014 at 12:04
  • @Emanuel, I have added an introduction that answers the question more concretely, but others had already done that. I wanted to provide some background knowledge.
    – Crissov
    Jun 26, 2014 at 15:36

gelenk is the opposite of ungelenk

Ungelenk means stiff. So gelenk means not stiff or flexible.

Gelenk is similar to rank und schlank.

A person can be Rank und schlank. (tall and thin) and gelenk (be flexible).


I think you meant "Gelenkig" because you can not use the word "Gelenk" to describe someone (at least in common language).

It means that you can move the parts of your body very well. The actual translation is "agile" or "supple"

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