The closest I was able to find is in Kürze.

Is there a translation that means something similar as it does in English?

  • Can you please elaborate why it is important to you that the literal meaning (I presume) of the translation is similar to the English one? This way, we can better answer your question.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 12:47
  • 1
    Related: German idiom similar to “to put the whole matter into a nutshell”?
    – user9551
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 12:47
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    The German word »in« is not a noun (but a preposition), and therefore must NOT be written with an uppercase first letter (except when being the first word of a sentence, which is not true here). But »Kürze« is a noun, and ALL nouns (without no exception) must ALWAYS be written with a uppercase first letter in German language! So »In kürze« has two errors. Correct is »in Kürze«! I corrected this for you. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 12:52
  • 3
    Maybe you could elaborate a bit, for example, provide the meaning that you wish to be transported? That would also help showing why a dictionary cannot help you with this question.
    – Burki
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 13:02
  • 1
    @everybody: Please do not use comments for answering.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 19:38

8 Answers 8


Posible translations for »in a nutshell« are:

in (aller) Kürze
kurz gefasst
kurz und bündig
(plus a few more)

There is no term containing the German word »Nussschale« that has the meaning of »in a nutshell«.

But there is the German term »in einer Nussschale«. It means: »In a very tiny boat«. If five people want to cross the sea in a boat that is made for two, then they are shipping »in einer Nussschale«.

  • 1
    I think there is a difference between "in aller Kürze" and "in Kürze". As @guidot wrote, "in Kürze" is only used for an event to happen shortly.
    – Iris
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 15:59
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    At least here in Austria „kurz gesagt“ is also used in conversations.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 9:23
  • 3
    "Kurzum" wird ebenfalls noch häufig verwendet, vorzugsweise in Gesprächen.
    – user16185
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 9:47
  • 6
    Hat mich gerade an In a Nutshell - Kurzgesagt erinnert. Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 10:51
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    "kurzgesagt" and "kurz gesagt" are used in germany too. Btw, "Nussschale" could even lead to confusion, it is used in a figurative way to mean a very small, probably inadequate, boat. Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 19:21

My first thought was Stephen Hawking's book The Universe In A Nutshell and how the title there was translated to German. In German, the book is called: Das Universum in der Nussschale, however, the title has two meanings:

Der englische Titel The Universe in a Nutshell ist eine Redewendung, die auf Shakespeares Hamlet zurückgeht. Dort heißt es: „(Hamlet) O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space – were it not that I have bad dreams.“ [II.ii.254] Die englische Redewendung "in a nutshell" bedeutet „in aller Kürze“. Wikipedia

In the German title Das Universum in der Nussschale, the meaning of in short/very briefly is lost, but the reference to Shakespeares Hamlet is kept.


Your proposal in Kürze would likely be understood, but is mainly used for an event to happen shortly:

Hier eröffnet in Kürze eine Filiale von xxx. (here opens an outlet of xxx soon.)

My proposal is:

kurz und knapp

I had assumed it is a standing phrase, but Google hits are not so convincing.


In Kurzform.

This is in my opinion the best translation. Google hits like Unsere Forderungen in Kurzform or Bad Kissingens Geschichte in Kurzform are perfect examples for which the idiomatic translation is "in a nutshell" ("our demands in a nutshell", "the city's history in a nutshell").

Other suggestions: Leo has an entry for "in a nutshell". In addition to the other suggestions they propose

  • zusammenfassend (to sum up): this is a good neutral translation which at least hints a bit at the "essence" quality of "nutshell";
  • kurz und bündig;
  • for "to put in a nutshell": auf den Punkt bringen.

I like the last one because it emphasizes that what's said is not just short but focused ("auf den Punkt").


It is "kurz gesagt". There is a well known YouTube Channel named Kurzgesagt or "in a nutshell". Check it out here


It depends on how you use it. But I want to add an other option to the already given answers.


It is often used for book titels.

For example:

Java in a nutshell

could be translated to:

Java kompakt

Because it is shorter than the other words, I would assume that this book is more straight forward and to the point. Also is sounds a little more professional to me.


The Latin "in nuce" is sometimes used in German, but it's a lot more highbrow than "in a nutshell".


kurzum (in short)

bis zu dem Punkt kommen (to come to the point)

im Umriss (in outline)

I gave an English translation in the bracket

  • 2
    Welcome to German Language SE. Being a native speaker, I never heard the latter two in this context and a brief Internet search did not yield any convincing examples either. Are you sure they are correct? Do you mean perhaps auf den Punkt kommen for your second suggestion. If yes, you should elaborate on its usage, as it is a verb, not an adverb.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 8:18

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