What would the best German word be for an SQL table whose only purpose is to match e.g. an id with a name? In English, I would call this a "lookup table" since the ID is "looked up" and the corresponding name is returned.

My best guess would be Nachschlagtabelle? Is that the standard term?

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  • 2
    What is the difference to just a table? Don't you use all tables to lookup something? Oct 14, 2011 at 21:04
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    Man müsste einen der deutschsprachigen SQL-Instruktoren, der ohne rot zu werden von 'Sichten' statt von 'Views' fragen. Wie man die erreicht kann ich leider nicht sagen, aber ich gehe davon aus, das diese um stimmige Übersetzungen bemüht sind.
    – bernd_k
    Oct 15, 2011 at 9:17
  • I just asked on meta.dba.stackexchange.com/questions/462/…, if the question would be acceptable there. I think the answer must be given by those with teaching practice in that field.
    – bernd_k
    Oct 15, 2011 at 9:52

4 Answers 4


Wikipedia says


translating only half the word. That is not uncommon in IT language, where English is the de-facto standard.

If you want/need an all-German term, I would propose either

Nachschlagetabelle (a Nachschlag is a 2nd serving of food after you've finished the previous)



Strictly speaking, the latter is a mathematical term, but the same idea and maybe close enough, depending on the circumstances, as usual.

  • +1 für Lookup-Tabelle
    – bernd_k
    Oct 14, 2011 at 17:31
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    I'm not too happy with "Wertetabelle", because the term lookup-table has a strong emphasis on the function of the described table. However, Lookup-Tabelle is fine.
    – 0x6d64
    Oct 18, 2011 at 8:35
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    +1 for suggesting that a Nachschlagtabelle would relate to food. Oct 18, 2011 at 17:24

To add to the nice suggestions already made we could also use

[tabellarisches] Verzeichnis

where in Verzeichnis the purpose to look up something is inherent.

A composite noun translated from look-up and table is not generally used but possible. Analogous to "Nachschlagewerk" it would have to be built like this



I agree, die Nachschlagetabelle seems to be a well-established term. Here are some translation examples: http://www.linguee.de/deutsch-englisch/uebersetzung/nachschlagetabelle.html

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    Linguee results may be biased as only translated texts are displayed (that not necessarily are translated well). Doing a Google search reveals that "look-up tabelle" has twice the number of hits as compared to "Nachlagetabelle" but still "Wertetabelle" is found 10 times more often. Of course Google hits are not scientific either ;)
    – Takkat
    Oct 14, 2011 at 14:35
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    @Takkat: Wertetabelle appears frequently because it is commonly used in basic maths education to speak of the particular table that contains the values of a function (as opposed to, for instance, different functions, parameters, ...). Other than with that background information, it is rather a pretty pointless term, and I doubt its general use in IT. After all, what else could a table in a database possibly contain beside "values", which, in IT, has a much broader meaning than in the aforementioned functional analysis context? May 17, 2015 at 13:04

I do a lot of work within SQL server, and apart from Lookup-Tabelle as Hackworth suggested, we often use Referenztabelle for something like this. After all, you (should) have referential integrity in place, so you have a reference from a column in another table referring to the primary key column within this table. And for those types of tables, looking up things based on the keys is one of the main uses.

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