To translate at home as in the simple ‘I’m at home’, which of the above is correct? Daheim, Zuhause or zu Hause?

Also, what is the difference between Zuhause and zu Hause?


I’m at home.
Ich bin daheim.
Ich bin zuhause. [Attention, lowercase z]
Ich bin zu Hause.

All four sentences have the same meaning.

The word Zuhause (uppercase this time) can refer to one’s home (house/flat/whatever) as a noun, but that’s unusual for everyday language.

  • 1
    Even tha basic meaning is the same, there are lsightly differences: daheim would be more casual as well as the form used e.g. in Bavaria. Whereas zuhause sein, at least IMHO, is a little more formal (maybe due to the Bavarian fact)
    – frlan
    Jun 28 '15 at 10:20
  • @frlan, „zu Hause“ is not in itself more formal. As you yourself indicate you perceive it as more formal if „daheim“ is (similar to) the expression used in your local dialect.
    – Carsten S
    Jun 28 '15 at 12:26

The difference between daheim and zuhause is a regional one. In the South (Switzerland, Austria, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg), it is more common to say daheim (or dahoam) — Bavaria even has a daily soap on regional TV called Dahoam is dahoam.

In the North, it is more common to say zuhause or zu Hause.

All forms are valid in written texts.

  • Thanks Jan. Do you know anything about swiss versions?
    – cheznead
    Jun 28 '15 at 11:20
  • 2
    @shinninja: Daheim is common in Switzerland and Austria, too, as well as in the southern part of Germany.
    – chirlu
    Jun 29 '15 at 5:56

"Ich bin zu Hause" is the most standard version, IMHO.

"Ich bin zuhause" is most likely the reformed spelling, which introduced "athome" as an adjective - it looks just wrong to me.

"daheim" is a Southern variant and definitely unusual in the Northern part of Germany (I'm from Berlin). Even though everyone would understand it, you'd think the text was written by someone from Bavaria or so. A Thuringian friend of mine says "daheeme", so I don't know how far you'd count the "South"...

  • it looks just wrong to me ... but Duden and anything else tell that it is correct too.
    – deviantfan
    Jun 28 '15 at 14:50
  • Yes, like I said, it's the reformed spelling. In 1996 or so, there was a spelling reform and some bureaucrats declared completely strange spellings the norm, allegedly to make spelling more logical and thus easier to learn for people with an immigration background. However, all that did was create confusion, there was a huge outrage, and as a compromise with many terms both the old and new version are correct to use. So yes, you it would be correct to write "Ich bin zuhause", but for decades the correct spelling used to be "zu Hause" exclusively. Jun 28 '15 at 14:52
  • 1
    @Marvin: One shouldn't blame every 'odd' spelling to the spelling reform. :) I don't have a very authoritative source, but a Google Ngram here clearly suggests that "zuhause" is a common variant for over a hundred years (though indeed less common than "zu Hause").
    – Emil
    Jun 28 '15 at 21:38
  • @Emil: Before 1996, zuhause was a common variant spelling in Austria and Switzerland. It was the reformed orthography that made it an official spelling in Germany, too (but continued to allow zu Hause).
    – chirlu
    Jun 29 '15 at 6:01

originally, "zuhause" was "wherever you live at the moment" (e.g. Ich war am Strand als mir einfiel, dass ich die Sonnencreme zuhause im Hotel vergessen hatte), wheras the word "daheim" meant "the place that is the emotional center of your life")

There's also a proverb "zuhause aber nicht daheim" that is often used to describe the situation of immigrants who don't feel welcome.

In today's everyday German however, it has become a regional thing. People from Bavaria, Baden Würtemberg, Rhineland-Palatine and the southern parts of Hesse and Thuringia will never use the word "zuhause" no matter the context, wheras people from the north will always use "zuhause".

  • 1
    Hast Du eine Quelle für den ersten Absatz?
    – Carsten S
    Sep 6 '15 at 22:56

In contemporary German, "zuhause" has become the standard form, while "daheim" is considered southern dialect. The same is happening to the directional adverb "heim", which used to be standard German from Hamburg to Munich, 30-40 years ago, but is now cosidered "old fashioned" and replaced by "nach hause" outside of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. Until 80 years ago however, "daheim" was perfectly acceptable in Hamburg and Berlin as well. It just didn't mean the same thing. Whereas "zuhause" simply meant the place where someone lived, no matter how short and no matter the emotional connection to that place, the word "daheim" meant "a place to call home", where someone felt rooted to. This meaning has survived (at least to some extent) when speaking about soldiers. If they are at war, they write to their families "daheim"... not "zuhause". There has also been a report about children whose parents were immigrants titled "überall zuhause aber nirgendwo daheim". That said, I don't think that the word "daheim" will survive for much longer. The average German mindset is: "Sounds southern, southerners speak dialect, dialect is no propper German, avoid it."

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