I just saw a friend write this in Whatsapp:

Ich hab mal wieder Magen Darm

I guess she is trying to say that her tummy hurts, but I do not get why she wrote it like this. Magen is stomach and Darm is intestine. Both together do not make much sense, do they?


"Magen Darm" is wrong, it needs an hyphen: "Magen-Darm".

That is short and colloquial for all kind of deseases that affect stomach and intestine at the same time (=diarrhea with vomiting/sickness).

The according long names would be Magen-Darm-Entzündung, Magen-Darm-Infektion, Magen-Darm-Grippe or Brechdurchfall.

Comment: Why do I think "Magen-Darm" is better than "Magendarm"?

Duden defines Brechdurchfall as "eine mit Erbrechen und Durchfall einhergehende Erkrankung des Magen-Darm-Kanals"

  • 1
    Magen-Darm ist richtig, auch wenn man bedenkt, dass es im menschlichen Körper kein "Magendarm" gibt, nur Magen UND Darm. Dasselbe gilt beispielweise Hals-Nasen-Ohren- und Herz-Lungen-Krankheiten. Im "Arztlateinischen" setzt man die Wörter jedoch ohne Bindestrich zusammen, z.B "Laryngotracheitis" "Rhinosinuitis" "Gastroenteritis" etc – Beta Nov 25 '16 at 8:01
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    Ich verstehe und akzeptiere, dass ihr "Magen-Darm" mit Bindestrich schreibt. Dann fällt mir aber gleich was auf: Rätselhaft ist mir, dass im Folgesatz "Brechdurchfall" zusammen geschrieben wird (Ich weiss natürlich, dass das so "richtig" ist, nach derselben Logik müsste man es aber auch mit Bindestrich schreiben) – tofro Nov 25 '16 at 8:52

As I recently outlined in my answer to this question, writing Magen Darm is wrong according to the German spelling rules. It should be Magendarm.

Magendarmgrippe is a colloquial term for what doctors would call Gastroenteritis — an umbrella term for a number of infections that cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea. It has nothing to do with influenza, even though the same root Grippe is used. Colloquially, it is common to drop Grippe and just speak of Magendarm.

While I myself am not trained in medicine and thus don’t know what a doctor would actually call Gastroenteritis, I would assume that colloquial usage of Magendarm(grippe) is broader than the original term. It is typically already used for severe unwellness that one attributes to the intestinal tract; whether an infection is the cause or not.

So what your friend wanted to say is that she is unwell, probably vomiting or suffering from diarrhoea.

  • I get what she wanted to tell. I was just curious at 2 things: 1) The words were separate 2) Grippe was nowhere to be found – Enrique Moreno Tent Nov 24 '16 at 18:01
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    @EnriqueMorenoTent 1) Many peolpe unfortunately make that spelling mistake 2) I added a sentence. I glossed over the issue of the missing grippe. It is now explicit. – Jan Nov 24 '16 at 18:04
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    Magendarmgrippe is not correct in my opinion. Instead I'd say it must be Magen-Darm-Grippe, as the term is not really a composite noun, but a contraction of Magen- und Darm-Grippe. Magendarmgrippe wäre eine Erkrankung des "Magendarms" (whatever that's supposed to be). – Thorsten Dittmar Nov 25 '16 at 8:34
  • @ThorstenDittmar To me, the word has become one. I wouldn’t have known that people consider it a contraction of Magengrippe und Darmgrippe or Magen- und Darm-Grippe although it doesn’t seem illogical per se. I don’t consider the individual constituents of the word to retain any meaning of their own, and the way I pronounce it doesn’t suggest that they should be separated. Thus, I’m sticking with the non-hyphenated variant. – Jan Nov 25 '16 at 22:10
  • @Jan Für mein Sprachgefühl ist Magendarmgrippe ein Wort. Der Duden würde es wahrscheinlich, wie Magen-Darm-Katarrh, als Aneinanderreihung einstufen und mit Bindestrichen schreiben. duden.de/sprachwissen/rechtschreibregeln/bindestrich#K26 – aventurin Nov 26 '16 at 16:23

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