In German quiz shows (e.g., "Wer wird Millionär?"/"Who wants to be a millionaire?"), a contestant chooses between a set of possible answers, the choice is then locked and the answer checked. Before locking the board, the host typically asks the contestant (for example):

Soll Antwort C jetzt eingeloggt werden?

My question is the spelling of "einloggen".

Duden says

einloggen, [...] besonders in Quizsendungen im Fernsehen, bei denen die Kandidaten jeweils aus mehreren Antworten diejenige auswählen müssen, [...]

and refers to

Herkunft englisch to log in

However, to me it seems that one would rather like to refer to the process of "locking" the board, which would point to the spelling "einlocken".

What is your take on this?

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The correct spelling would be "einloggen", which relates to the spelling of its English counterpart "to log in".

As the word German word "einloggen" derived from the English word "to log in", both words are spelled with a 'g'.

Linguistically it has nothing to do with the word "locking".

That the Germans call the process of locking an answer in a quiz show "Eine Antwort einloggen" is more of a curiosity than anything else. Apart from that the word "einloggen" is used in the same way the English version is commonly used, for instance by saying:

Ich habe mich soeben in meinen Facebook-Account eingeloggt.

Which translates to

I just logged into my facebook account.

  • Sorry, I misread your answer. I have deleted my comment. – Carsten S Dec 5 '14 at 10:29
  • "[...] used in the same way the English version is commonly used. [...]" Do you know of an example for "logging in the answer"? – Nico Schlömer Dec 5 '14 at 11:04
  • 1
    @Nico: In German quiz shows - tons. In English ones - none. Take a look at the discussion going on in Thorsten Dittmar's answer for further clarification though. I meant to say that except for this one particular use in German entertainment shows where "einloggen" means something else, the German word "einloggen" is used to describe the same process than the English word "to log in" (which is to log into an account for instance). – J_LV Dec 5 '14 at 11:10

This usually does not refer to the process of "locking" the board, but the process of selecting the answer. In the case of "Wer wird Millionär" - as only one answer may be given in the first place - logging in the answer and locking the input after that is the same thing.

There are, however, other shows where the candidates can make up their minds and before the board is locked may log in answers multiple times.


Upon request by Carsten Schultz I found one Wikipedia entry where the English term "log in" is also used for "answering a question in a quiz show". Quote:

As soon as all Pack Members have logged in their answer, the Control Player marks his move

In this context as well it seems that having "logged in" the answer is equivalent to having provided the final answer and thus having locked input. This would actually mean that the German "einloggen" and the Englisch "log in" are used equivalently for the act of providing an answer, not for locking the input controls.

  • That's correct. It always felt wrong to me that in the case of "Wer wird Millionär?", logging in is being used somewhat synonymously with "locking the input". It created unnecessary ambiguity about the word "einloggen" and caused questions like this one to arise. – J_LV Dec 5 '14 at 9:36
  • Curiously I've never actually spent a thought on that until now. To me, "einloggen" was clearly the right choice :-) – Thorsten Dittmar Dec 5 '14 at 9:38
  • Is a similar expression used in English? Can you give references? – Carsten S Dec 5 '14 at 9:42
  • @CarstenSchultz The following blog entry uses this term: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_the_Pack. I quote: As soon as all Pack Members have logged in their answer, the Control Player marks his move: – Thorsten Dittmar Dec 5 '14 at 9:49
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    This is VERY interesting. However what kinda throws me is that searching for the string "to log in an answer" with Google yields only 7 (!!) results and while searching for the string "log in an answer" produces more hits, most of these appear to be from people who meant to say "log in and answer". And while I generally trust Wikipedia, this particular entry appears to be somewhat of a niche article which makes it unclear to me how often it is being reviewed for mistakes. – J_LV Dec 5 '14 at 11:02

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