I watch videos from DW's website. I really like the manuscripts that DW includes with the videos. The manuscripts include words that a viewer might not know, and the words are defined in German and not in English. That is what I especially like. That got me thinking about acquiring a German dictionary and not a German-English one. Of course, I want a superior one. Any recommendations?

  • You are looking for an encyclopedia (Enzyklopädie)? A monolingual dictionary (einsprachiges Wörterbuch)? Aug 14, 2015 at 17:32
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    Werde ich in einer Enzyklopädie dieselbe Wörter, die in einem Wörterbuch stehen, finden können? I would guess that a dictionary would be more exhaustive than an encyclopedia, but I could be wrong. Aug 14, 2015 at 17:56
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    It is true that most encyclopedias may focus on more specialized words and skip basic terms such as "gehen", "sein", or "schön". But in general, I would say the border between Wörterbuch and Enzyklopädie is fuzzy. Aug 14, 2015 at 17:58
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    @O.R.Mapper, eine Enzyklopädie ist etwas völlig anderes als ein Wörterbuch.
    – Carsten S
    Aug 15, 2015 at 3:24
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    @CarstenS: Da es sich bei beiden um einen speziellen Typ von Nachschlagewerken handelt, welche Wörter zusammen mit Erklärungen/Definitionen auflisten, finde ich die Behauptung, sie seien "völlig anders" doch ziemlich gewagt. Wie oben erwähnt enthält eine Enzyklopädie dabei tendenziell eher speziellere Wörter und ausführlichere Erklärungen, aber durch diese recht abstrakte Abgrenzung wird schon offensichtlich, dass die beiden Buchtypen fließend ineinander übergehen. Aug 15, 2015 at 7:54

1 Answer 1


I recommend "Langenscheidt Power Wörterbuch Deutsch" (ISBN: 3468131100, 978-3468131103), simply based on the fact that I bought it for a friend and she likes it. However, there are many other dictionaries available. In general, the German term for the kind of dictionary you are looking for is "Bedeutungswörterbuch", "einsprachiges Wörterbuch", or also "Lernwörterbuch" when it is targeted at learners.

  • "Langenscheidt Taschenwörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache: einsprachig Deutsch" (ISBN: 3468490445, 978-3468490446)
  • "Langenscheidt Großwörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache" (ISBN: 3468490429, 978-3468490422) - this is heavy but the most comprehensive dictionary if you are an advanced learner
  • The authoritative reference is the "Duden" which also publishes a dictionary with definitions: "Duden 10. Das Bedeutungswörterbuch: Wortschatz und Wortbildung." (ISBN: 3411041048, 978-3411041046) - the definitions here are a bit shorter and targeted at native speakers.
  • The comprehensive variant of the "Duden" is: "Duden - Deutsches Universalwörterbuch: Das umfassende Bedeutungswörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache" (ISBN: 3411055073, 978-3411055074)

You can look into and compare these books at Amazon Germany. Duden also made their dictionary available online. You can for example use this to find out that the German word Enzyklopädie does not refer to a book that contains information about words and their meanings but to a book that attempts to make factual information from one or more branches of knowledge available.

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    +1, Duden as some kind of authority came to my mind first, too. Langenscheidt ranks highly, too, in my opinion, mainly because it's responsible for the splendid Dictionary of Contemporary English. Aug 14, 2015 at 19:21

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