I want to know if herausquetschen is the right word for to squeeze out, in the context of squeezing out a group of people, for example middle class families being squeezed out of private education.

  • Do you talk about "squeezeing out" stakeholders? In this case, "squeeze-out" is used in german, too (as technical term for this particular legal phenomenon). – tohuwawohu Feb 5 '16 at 14:28
  • I would like to see a bit of context. Like "Insurer cutbacks squeeze patients out of high-end care"? – Peter - Reinstate Monica Feb 5 '16 at 17:10
  • I meant squeeze out in the context of middle class families being squeezed out of private education – user19770 Feb 6 '16 at 17:48
  • What did you do to answer your question on a classical way (dictionary search)? Why wasn't that sufficient? – user unknown Feb 19 '16 at 17:38

Depending on the context i would prefer to use:

  • verdrängen (here you can find detailed explanation and Examples)


which may mean displace, push out or push away!

So as tofro (in his comment) and Hubert the verb "drängen" could also be used in this case especially in the form: "gedrängt werden" or "drängt aus etwas (hinaus/heraus)"

  • 1
    I second that. The original sentence from above would end up like "Angehörige von Mittelklassefamilien werden aus der ... gedrängt" – tofro Feb 17 '16 at 0:15
  • As a native Austrian I also support this answer. – BerndGit Feb 17 '16 at 22:10
  • "Herausdrängen" is excellent. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Feb 19 '16 at 11:12
  • 1
    "Herausdrängen" does somehow imply you're pushing from the outside. "Hinausdrängen" might be even better, as it means you're pushing from the inside, which would fit better, depending on context. – tofro Dec 24 '16 at 12:40


but you have to keep in mind a subtle difference between squeezing out toothpaste out of its tube and squeezing out people out of a stadium at the end of a game (in English as well an in German).

Squeezing toothpaste out of a tube

This is not done by the toothpaste itself. Somebody else has to do it:

Gerald squeezed an inch of toothpaste out of the tube.
Gerald quetschte zweieinhalb Zentimeter Zahnpasta aus der Tube.

Squeezing people out of the stadium

Here the people are themselves performing the act of squeezing. My English is not good enough to decide if it is good style to say the next example-sentence. I think it is not, but I think it is grammatically correct English:

The crowd squeezes itself out of the stadium.
Die Menge quetschte sich aus dem Stadion.

The German translation is definitely grammatically correct, but it is of bad style. It would be better to use drängen:

Die Menge drängte aus dem Stadion.

  • 3
    I would like to add the note that quetschen is stronger than drängen. – Burki Feb 5 '16 at 8:27
  • 2
    Also, if individuals (not groups) squeeze themselves through a narrow opening, zwängen is more idiomatic. The appropriate preposition is durch then and also applies to quetschen. – Crissov Feb 5 '16 at 8:30
  • OP did not ask about ausquetschen but about herausquetschen. Would that be correct for squeezing toothpaste? Is herausquetschen correct for people squeezing out of a stadium when the speaker is speaking from inside the crowd? Would it still be correct if the speaker is actually not in the situation but describing it from outside? – Colin McLarty Feb 5 '16 at 15:52
  • It depends on the prefix. aus- and heraus- describe a view from the outside, hinaus- describes a view from the inside. – Janek Bevendorff Feb 20 '16 at 9:57

Das Wort quetschen und davon abgeleitete Wörter implizieren immer physische Gewalt oder Kraft. Sei es die Zahnpasta, die aus der Tube gequetscht wird, die Menschen, die sich aus dem Stadion quetschen (wie beispielhaft in den anderen Antworten genannt) oder metaphorisch jemand, der aus einer Person eine Antwort oder ein Geständnis herausquetscht. In jedem dieser Fälle wird unmittelbar echte oder metaphorische physische Gewalt angewendet.

Wenn es allerdings eher um abstraktere Vorgänge wie demographische Verdrängung geht, dann ist quetschen ungebräuchlich (außer ggf. in Fachsprache). In diesem Fall ist die Verwendung schwächerer Begriffe wie Verdrängung oder Vertreibung üblicher.

EDIT: I just noticed that at the time of writing I either didn't realize that the question was in English or that I was writing German. Happens sometimes when you're fluent in two languages. Since this whole StackExchange is all about German language, I think people are still able to read it, but here is an English version, just in case:

The word quetschen and derived words always imply physical force. Be it toothpaste which is squeezed out of the tube (aus der Tube quetschen), people who squeeze themselves out of a stadium (aus dem Stadion (hinaus-)quetschen) or, metaphorically, someone who squeezes an answer or a confession out of someone (eine Antwort/ein Geständnis herausquetschen). In all these cases there is immediate real or metaphorical physical force.

If you're talking about more abstract things, though, such as demographic squeeze-out, then quetschen is uncommon (except for maybe in technical language). In that case you should use weaker expressions such as Verdrängung or Vertreibung (meaning something more like expulsion).


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