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What is the difference between "Dickicht" and "Gestrüpp"? To what degree are the two words synonymous?
Are there certain situations where these words would not be used?

closed as off-topic by Tom Au, guidot, problemofficer, Hubert Schölnast, Björn Friedrich Jul 30 '17 at 10:55

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  • Was sagt das Wörterbuch? – user unknown Jul 24 '17 at 13:49
  • No effort was shown in this question. Guesses, even wrong ones, are fine, because they give us a starting point from which to work (and a clue to you proficiency). But there is no such Standpunkt here. You haven't made clear, for instance, that these words refer to "plants" (or that you intend another meaning). – Tom Au Jul 24 '17 at 17:44
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Das Gestrüpp is something you can entangle yourself in. It does not necessarily mean you cannot see your way.

Meine Beine steckten in dem Gestrüpp fest.

My legs were stuck in the brushwood.

Das Dickicht is something you cannot see through.

Sie verschwanden ins Dickicht.

They disappeared into the covert.

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    Wenn man hindurchsehen kann, ist es eher ein Dünnicht. – Christian Geiselmann Jul 23 '17 at 21:09
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    @ChristianGeiselmann: Good idea, let's confuse the learners with cringe-worthy puns, why not? For the record: There's no such word. – Ingmar Jul 24 '17 at 3:57
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    If I google images for Dickicht, most scenes are quite "transparent", but the Gestrüpp images are spot on (example) – Raketenolli Jul 24 '17 at 6:35
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Gestrüpp targets the plants themselves that make up the scrub without specifying what types of plants (thorns, blackberries, ...) it's consisting of, but differentiating from "trees", "bushes", "grass".

You can

  • das Gestrüpp zurückschneiden
  • sich am Gestrüpp die Beine aufscheuern
  • das Gestrüpp ausreißen

Also, Gestrüpp denotes scrubby, thorny plants, hard to go through.

Dickicht targets the group of plants as a thicket and denotes the type of vegetation (differentiating from "wood", "meadow", "grassland",...)

You can

  • Ein Reh im Dickicht verschwinden sehen
  • sich im Dickicht verstecken

Dickicht denotes a vegetation type that is hard to see through, not necessarily hard to go through. (Could also be just ferns instead of scrubs and thorns)

So, the difference between "Gestrüpp" and "Dickicht" is very much the same difference as the one between "Bäume" and "Wald", i.e. "trees" and "forest".

You thus cannot use the following sentences

  • Ich lasse das Dickicht hinten im Garten nächstes Jahr ausreißen
  • Ich habe mir am Dickicht die Beine aufgescheuert
  • Der Förster hat draußen im Wald ein Dickicht angepflanzt

You would rather use "Gestrüpp" in this context.

Gestrüpp, denoting the sort of thorny, physically scrubby plants, also doesn't work for some types of thickets: Im Dickicht des Schilfs (reed thicket) and im Dickicht des Farns (fern thicket) work OK, while Schilfgestrüpp (reed scrub) and Farngestrüpp don't - Gestrüpp doesn't fit for fern and reed.

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For German we have the "Duden" as famous reference for German words and explanations. It seems to make no difference between the two words Dickicht (Duden) and Gestrüpp. It even mentions it synonymously in the first link.

Personally I would say that "Dickicht" is a more literal / old style word, whereas "Gestrüpp" might be slang / gossip. But you would find it in either of them and everybody will understand.

You might also find the word "Unterholz" interesting. Hope that helps.

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    The "Duden" (I assume that you mean "Duden, Vol. 1") is primarily an orthographical wordbook, not a general dictionary, even though sometimes short explanations are given. – Uwe Jul 24 '17 at 9:44
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A »Dickicht« usually is a dark, jungle-like area which can be entered by man. A »Gestrüpp« is a small size »Dickicht« which cannot be entered by the whole of your body. The man with the machete is typically not found inside a »Gestrüpp«.

  • Er verschwand im Dickicht des Waldes.

  • Wer seinen Garten zu lange nicht pflegt, steht knietief im Gestrüpp.

  • Wenn der Mann seinen Intimbereich nicht rasiert, entsteht ein Gestrüpp (Vogelnest).
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By way of confirmation what others have said here about the difference of Dickicht and Gestrüpp, here an erotic short story (very short!) that includes and illustrates both:

Meine Freundin und ich gingen in den Wald, um uns im Dickicht versteckt ein paar schöne Stunden zu machen. Doch wir verfingen uns im Gestrüpp und kamen ganz zerkratzt heraus.

You cannot swap Dickicht and Gestrüpp here. Which is a nice indicator that they are indeed not synonyms.

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