To express how something looks like or seems like, in German we can use "aussehen". But In English, depending on the situation, one needs to use 'sounding like' when the object in question is not visible, and only is described verbally. Does this distinction even exist in German? If so, what it the phrase/verb?

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the "smells like" question has also been closed.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 11:12
  • I suppose it should, actually. This question actually inspired me to make my own question (I wrote that other, now closed question) Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 15:59
  • @SkeletonBow: why close? Phrase requests usually are well received but some users apparently don't like them. Also read meta.german.stackexchange.com/questions/1093/…
    – Takkat
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 7:34
  • Okay, that's interesting. But I realized that my question (and this one, too) are both easily answerable by a dictionary, so it's not completely "on-topic," is it? Though it does seem to generate quite some traffic it seems Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 8:18
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    @SkeletonBow: dict.cc is one of the best dictionaries for German online. using the key terms "sound like", and NOT KNOWING THE GERMAN EQUIVALENT ALREADY, can you point out how exactly one is supposed to find it there? If you do, the least is I'll have learned a better lookup method.
    – Makan
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 13:24

2 Answers 2


Take your pick:

  • Es hört sich nach X an.
  • Es hört sich wie X an.
  • Es klingt nach X.
  • Es klingt wie X.

All of them mean "It sounds like X" (and I don't see a difference between them). Please note that the "sich" in the first two examples is not optional.

Depending on the situation you can also use "das" instead of "es" (to emphasize). Consider this example:

A: "I recently bumped into a Radio Shack's display window with my car."
B: "Uhh, that sounds expensive." – "Oh, das klingt teuer!"


You could express this with the phrase

Es hört sich nach etwas an


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