I know that die Kleidung is derived from kleiden by removing -en and adding ung. Therefore, I expect die Bekleidung is derived from bekleiden. However, it seems that this word is not so common.

I want to know

  1. whether bekleiden is a commonly used word
  2. the difference between the meaning of bekleiden and that of kleiden
  3. the difference between the meaning of die Bekleidung and that of die Kleidung

Thanks so much

  • 2
    Related: german.stackexchange.com/q/5108/16660
    – Iris
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 9:44
  • Kleidung and kleiden is more about what you wear, Bekleidung and bekleiden rather highlights that you are wearing anything at all.
    – Crissov
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 14:33
  • Bitte nur immer eine Frage auf einmal. Man kann leicht einen der Teile gut beantworten ohne andere gut zu beantworten. Welche Antwort willst Du dann akzeptieren? Diese Regel ist keine Schikane sondern sinnvoll. Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


Bekleidung is most commonly used when referring to clothing as goods ("Bekleidungshandel", "Bekleidungsgeschäft", "Bekleidungsindustrie",...), while Kleidung rather refers to the functional aspects of clothing (covering people) - "Kleidungsstil", "Berufskleidung", "Alltagskleidung". The distinction is, however, not very sharp and there is a lot of overlap.

Similarly, sich kleiden and sich bekleiden can be used as synonyms.

"Ein Amt bekleiden" does only work with "bekleiden".


Duden.de lists Kleidung as one description of the meaning for Bekleidung, so, they should be synonymous in those contexts.

Bekleidung can also mean the paneling of of a wall, but I think in this context Verkleidung is used more often.

Bekleiden is rarely used with the same meaning as kleiden. Most of the time it is used for positions.

Er bekleidet das Amt des Bürgermeisters.

But they can be synonymous as well.

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