I have been searching for something like the German equivalent to the OED, which provides amazing etymological speculation and historical information on most English words. Bonus for a web version that has clickable links that can take me down an etymological rabbit hole. Double bonus for something that can live in my phone.

(Note: I am by no means fluent in German but do know basic vocabulary and grammar that I am able to investigate German poetry and philosophy that interests me.)


See previous question here Is there a good online resource to look up the etymology of German words?

I most often use dwds.de and like the dashboard feel to each page, and that you have so many different resources for each word. Take a look!

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The Grimm Deutsches Wörterbuch is the standard historical dictionary of German, though quite different in format to the OED as it was started earlier. The first edition is online for free. For historical reasons, the section A–F is not quite up to the same standard as the rest and is currently being revised for a second edition, due to be completed in the next few years (but sadly not currently available online except a few example entries in the range F–Fasnacht). The new section is much more like the OED than any of the old edition, but unfortunately due to funding difficulties the letters G–Z will not be updated again.

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  • That's some sad information. – 355durch113 Oct 18 '15 at 15:17
  • Thanks for confirming my answer and giving valuable detail. – Carsten S Oct 18 '15 at 15:33

No, unfortunately there is no German dictionary that contains as much information and is as easy to use as the OED (where I refer to the “real” OED, which does not have free access).

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  • Some people seemed to be unsatisfied with my answer. I can only imagine that they found the second sentence irrelevant, so I have deleted it and concentrated on giving an answer. I am looking forward to the up-votes that will now surely roll in. – Carsten S Oct 18 '15 at 18:48

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