How could this phrase be translated into German?

I can think of

zu einem wütenden Einzelgänger werden

or similar combinations with different adjectives, but none of them are nearly as concise as the original phrase.

  • 1
    Is "gegen den Strom schwimmen" an option for you?
    – Chris
    Aug 1 '14 at 21:47
  • 1
    Some suggestions: "unfolgsam sein" or "ungehorsam sein" (disobedience), "abtrünnig werden", "aus der Reihe tanzen", "es auf eigene Faust versuchen"?
    – hellcode
    Aug 1 '14 at 22:09
  • 4
    Yeah, "abtrünnig werden" came to mind, too.
    – user6191
    Aug 1 '14 at 23:33
  • It doesn't seem to fully cover the aspect of malice, though.
    – user6191
    Aug 1 '14 at 23:46
  • 3
    There’s no exact and direct translation indeed, @Carlster’s one probably is as close as it gets. ausrasten, austicken or das Zepter/das Recht/die Dinge/es in die (eigene) Hand nehmen may fit sometimes, or some phrase with Einzelkämpfer, Einzelgänger, Ein-Mann-Armee
    – Crissov
    Aug 2 '14 at 7:59

It's difficult to find a translation which is as concise as the English counterpart. Maybe

zum rebellischen Einzelgänger werden

Einzelgänger kennzeichnet die Wahl, vom Mainstream abzuweichen und rebellisch drückt die Art aus. Also eine Person, die kein introvertierter Einzelgänger ist, sondern jemand, der nicht mehr die Befehle von anderen ausführt und eigenständig handelt.


The other suggestions sound strange, I would use abtrünnig werden.

See also this Leo discussion.


It's hard to translate it without context. I'll try to provide some context to all examples above, maybe some fit for you.

gegen den Strom schwimmen you always try to do the opposite of the mainstream

unfolgsam sein" or "ungehorsam sein" (disobedience), "abtrünnig werden", "aus der Reihe tanzen" are mostly just used in military context, with the meaning, you don't follow your leader. But there is no anger or something in the meaning, you just dislike your orders an do something else.

"es auf eigene Faust versuchen" there has to be a group with you don't want to follow, so you try on your own

ausrasten, austicken I like these examples, they reflect the anger part in "going rogue"

das Zepter in die (eigene) Hand nehmen not used in daily German, maybe used in a novel in dark age context

das Recht in die (eigene) Hand nehmen sounds like Billy the Kid is killing the Sheriff. You can use this but bear in mind that people will get this Wild West image in their head

die Dinge in die (eigene) Hand nehmen I don't like this, it's like do it your self (selber machen), there's no anger and power in this translation

Einzelkämpfer, Ein-Mann-Armee mostly used in military situations or in daily business where you try to rise to the top in your company (Einzelkämpfer, not Ein-Mann-Armee)

Einzelgänger is someone who doesn't like to be in a group of persons, this doesn't mean he/she doesn't like the persons or their orders, this person just likes to be alone

zum rebellischen Einzelgänger werden I really belief that no German would ever use this. Maybe a film critic to describe the plot of Rambo ;)

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