Some computer software uninstallers that are localized for German users use the word "deinstallieren" and others "desinstallieren".

Which one is the correct one - or are both words right?



The Duden spell checking software/service seems to accept both words. But I don't trust it.


  • Could you please add a link to the spell checking service?
    – Phira
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 9:13
  • @thei done. on that page you have to click the "Text überprüfen" tab – it's a little confusing.
    – splattne
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 9:42
  • 2
    This is interesting. The spellchecker has more words than the dictionary. I tried "überwuzeln" and "unterwuchern", and the spellchecker knows überwuzeln which the dictionary does not, but it does not accept unterwuchern (as it would if it just decomposed prefixes). So maybe Desinstallieren (which is absolutely wrong to my feeling) has been included by popular demand.
    – Phira
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 9:51
  • @thei: Do you really mean überwuzeln? Then I wonder why this would be included. Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 11:50
  • @Hendrik ostarrichi.org/wort-7272-at-(etwas)+%C3%BCberwuzelt+sein.html sich im fortgeschritten Alter befinden :)
    – splattne
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 12:42

3 Answers 3


Deinstallieren/Deinstallation is correct - the confusion might come from Desinformieren/Desinformation (disinformation)

  • Hm, the spelling checker in MS Word recognizes both "deinstallieren" and "desinstallieren" as correct.
    – splattne
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 10:23
  • 4
    @splattne: Maybe I'm prejudiced but I'd consider that one of the least trustworthy sources. Duden for example doesn't know about desinstallieren.
    – musiKk
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 10:40
  • @musiKk i.imgur.com/DM6Hu.png (Duden online spell checker)
    – splattne
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 10:44
  • 1
    @splattne: duden.de/suchen/dudenonline/desinstallieren - duden.de/suchen/dudenonline/deinstallieren - See the difference? Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 11:03
  • 1
    @John okay, thanks! It just seems that the (online) Duden orthography software doesn't use its own vocabulary.
    – splattne
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 11:20

A Google search indicates that desinstallieren is a spelling mistake: Searching for desinstallieren yields about 10,000 results, whereas deinstallieren yields almost 5,000,000 results, which is a factor of 500. Moreover, if you type in desinstallieren, it auto-corrects and offers deinstallieren.

  • 1
    I went to the Duden Online orthography checker. Both words seem to be accepted: i.imgur.com/DM6Hu.png -- Update: It even accepts Disinstallation and Dissinstallation!
    – splattne
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 10:41
  • @splattne: So you say it accepts almost anything? Seems rather useless to me ... Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 10:50
  • hm... yes, my trust in that site certainly has been shaken.
    – splattne
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 10:56
  • An explanation of the downvote would be appreciated. Commented Aug 27, 2011 at 15:00

duden.de lists the same meanings for the prefixes de- and des- as:

(1.) drückt in Bildungen mit Verben aus, dass etwas aufgehoben, rückgängig gemacht wird


But I agree with Hendrik Vogt and Hackworth that deinstallieren is the correct one, I don't think I've ever seen desinstallieren used in my 25 years as a programmer.

  • 2
    I disagree with your conclusion. It is certainly not "technically" correct to apply the prefix des- to some word even if it sounds half-way right and call it a day. It's the other way around: If a word does have this prefix, then it means whatever you said above.
    – musiKk
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 11:54
  • @musiKk I guess you have a point there, I removed that sentence.
    – takrl
    Commented Aug 23, 2011 at 11:57

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