I have a problem with the correct spelling, IMHO the ie is wrong, however the Duden states it is the correct one. I want to give an example:

Die einen finden das Bild schön, die anderen widerum hässlich.

The word here is rather used as a contradiction (Widerspruch) than a repetition (Wiederholung), so why should it be written with "ie" then? Or do you see it different? All the efforts of explanations in the web are rather lousy.

  • Logic only applies partially to languages. Why.. questions are always difficult to answer. – Trilarion Oct 26 '16 at 13:13
  • @Trilarion I don't think that logic fails, I would say : ) It's only superficial or wrong understanding. E.g. expecting to find regular patterns, where they might not exist. Language has rather that right. – c.p. Oct 26 '16 at 19:43
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    The repepetition for "wieder" comes from the "(r)um" - "if we turn the issue around and look again, there is another point of view" – Erich Kitzmüller Oct 27 '16 at 14:03
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    Ich hab' ne Weile Schnaps probiert, jetzt trink ich wieder Rum. – tofro Oct 29 '16 at 7:02

Note, that Grimm's Wörterbuch consistently writes Wi(e)der... for practically all similar words, so you can at least claim historical correctness.

Since the same word wiederum is meaning repetition as well as oppositeness, you could well argue, that two different words would be more appropriate. But adjusting the spelling to one meaning on cost of the other is somewhat adventurous, given that Duden only provides the wiederum spelling.

  • Making decision on costs of something minor is common in our world but in this special case it was the major side which was dropped. But I feel honored to be in the same boat with Grimms. At least for a millisecond. ;-) – Thomas Oct 26 '16 at 13:22

"Wider" and "wieder" are etymologically the same word. The different spellings of "wi(e)derum" are thus not governed by logic, or by etymology, but purely by convention. Look at the "Etymologie" section here:



It's a repetition.

You can say:

Die einen finden das Bild schön, die anderen wiederum hässlich. Die einen finden das Bild schön, die anderen wieder hässlich. Die einen finden das Bild schön, die anderen anderseits hässlich.

  • anderseits (otherwise or but then again / then again / But then, ... ?)

The word again (wieder) means a repetition.

  • Welcome to German Language Stack Exchange. Feel free to take a tour of the site. The help center will answer most unanswered questions about how it works. – Jan Oct 26 '16 at 21:07

Spelling rules are about conventions, and about the frequencies how a word is used. Only recently we tried to introduce some logic to the latest spelling reform but as we all know how this logic also fails at times.

There are always reasons making a given spelling look more sensible than the other. We can for example ask why it isn't spellt widerrum just like Widerruf is. Some people do this, but most don't. Most people spell it wiederum. That is just about all there is to our spelling rules.


This isn't about contradiction or not but whether a word is derived from the wieder or the wider root. Wiederum is derived from wieder, that's why it's always written with ie. Regardless whether the meaning is again or on the other hand.

Stupid German language. Sorry.

  • Warum? Weil Ironie manch einen überfordern könnte? – Janka Oct 26 '16 at 11:59
  • Ich halte das Herumeditieren in den Beiträgen anderer für eine sehr mächtige Funktion, die nur in allergrößter Not eingesetzt werden sollte. – Janka Oct 26 '16 at 12:05
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    @Janka: help disagrees with your viewpoint: Editing is important for keeping questions and answers clear, relevant, and up-to-date. – guidot Oct 26 '16 at 12:19
  • Help also suggest not to be rude in editing. Oh wait, it does not. – Janka Oct 26 '16 at 12:23
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    @Janka: But who and when was it decided it has to be derived from "wieder", I think my question even has doubt in this and only because it was decided once, it does not become more valid. PS: Your joke was ok for me. Still like the riddles of German language, it is rather like a challenge to know it. ;-) – Thomas Oct 26 '16 at 13:18

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