Are there any well-known German expressions for someone who is very board and detailed in knowledge? for example:

He is a human database


5 Answers 5



Sie ist ein wandelndes Lexikon.

Sometimes also used in this form

Sie ist ein lebendes Lexikon.

  • 2
    +1 for wandelndes Lexikon (I've never lived in a region where the other version is used). Commented Aug 27, 2011 at 13:49

One option would be "der/die Universalgelehrte" from the English word "polymath".


There is also the exppression "Hansdampf in allen Gassen."

  • From which region is this? As a Rheinisch person I'd have no idea what this meant.
    – YPOC
    Commented Aug 23, 2023 at 9:15

I think both Alleskönner and Tausendsassa could fit as well, if a more colloquial term is needed. Multitalent would be another option.


The word I would use is "savant." It was originally French, may have been adopted in German, but I'm not sure.

  • 3
    It is sometimes used in German, but only for who are "savant" due to Asperger syndrome, as far as I know. Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 17:47
  • 1
    I suspect a lot of Germans wouldn't be familiar with that term. I've certainly never heard it used.
    – Cass
    Commented Aug 30, 2011 at 13:35
  • 1
    You can use that (the german word is "Inselbegabter"), but it doesn't describe someone with a broad knowledge. Savants are often mentally retarded, but have one particular skill that is far better than that of normal people. That can be perfectly playing music just after hearing a piece once or reciting a telephone book after reading it once. A savant is also not necessarily an autistic person. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 11:32

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