I want to say the following in German:

When children come home, they binge on screen time. [talking about mobile phones.]

But I can’t seem to find the appropriate word for binge. I've found words like Fressgelage and Saufgelage but they relate to eating/drinking.

Is there a general word/verb that means excessive usage (after not doing the action for a while)?

Would it be the word Gelage? If so, how would you relate it to phones? Handygelage? As the only options for binge I have found are nouns, what verb would you use with them? Or is there a verb that means to binge?

Currently I've come up with this alternative:

Wenn Kinder nach Haus kommen, benutzen sie sofort ihre Handys, weil den ganzen Tag in der Schule sie verboten.

Would this be a good alternative?

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    The broadening of the meaning in English is relatively new, something similar has not happened in German.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 10:47
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    I recommend glotzen, as for TV. It's derogative for starrento stare. Wenn die Kinder nach Hause kommen, glotzen sie gleich wieder in ihr Tablet.
    – Janka
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 13:57
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    The sequence of words is wrong, "Wenn Kinder nach Haus kommen, benutzen sie sofort ihre Handys, weil sie den ganzen Tag in der Schule verboten sind" is better.
    – Uwe
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 20:17
  • I have always asked myself the same questions. Shame all the answers are related to this specific use case.
    – marsze
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 7:47
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    At least among the nerdier of my friends, we use the word "binge" itself for the act of watching many episodes of a TV series in one sitting. "Am Wochenende hab ich die siebte Staffel von Game of Thrones gebinget." Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 8:42

7 Answers 7


There is no word that can be universally used like "binge". As you already found out, there are different words for the different things you can do excessively. Up to my knowledge, however, there's no word that describes the excessive use of mobile phones.

In principle, you could say "Sie benutzen ihr Handy exzessiv", but saying "Wenn Kinder nach Hause kommen, benutzen sie sofort ihre Handys exzessiv." sounds odd, as exzessiv is normally used to describe an action that lasts longer or is generally true. Saying

Kinder, denen die Handynutzung in der Schule verboten ist, zeigen eine exzessivere Nutzung in ihrer Freizeit.

would be a fine way of saying it. It is definitely written language, though. If your sentence is more conversational, than there's nothing wrong with

Wenn Kinder nach Haus kommen, benutzen sie sofort ihre Handys, weil es ihnen den ganzen Tag in der Schule verboten ist.

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    I think "exzessiv" is a good general translation of "binge" in all contexts (even though the grammatical constructions a different). Which means that there is no translation actually, since "exzessiv" is the exact twin of "excessive". Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 4:59

"Hängen" is often used in the consumer context of binging. "Zu Hause hängen sie ständig am Computer/am Handy/vor der Glotze (TV set)". An intentional/organized/prepared binging event is often titled "Marathon" with a qualifier, like a "Star-Wars-Marathon".

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    This is particularly good because "hängen" suggests "abhängig" (addicted), and that's just what binging implies as well. Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 7:01
  • Can hängen also be used about, for example, junk food or alcohol? Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 7:56
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    @Wilson Well, AFAIK hängen refers to the medium, not actually to the activity. So while you can say "Zu Hause hängen sie ständig am Handy" it is not referring to what is consumed through the mobile. So while you could for alcohol say "Er hängt leider an der Flasche" referring to something that is contained in the bottle implying making addicted, while saying "Er hängt am essen" or "Er hängt am Alkohol", while not being able to say its incorrect, I can tell you that feels odd to me.
    – Zaibis
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 13:09

A word that fits well but would rarely be found in any dictionary is "suchteln" or "süchteln" or "suchten" (all derived from "Sucht" == addiction) that I tend to use for my kid's internet desires:

Wenn meine Kinder nach Hause kommen, suchteln sie schon nach ihren Handys, weil die in der Schule verboten sind.

While suchteln and suchten might be very colloquial, süchteln is an old German word that would be understood as "binge" and can be found in some older dictionaries.

SÜCHTELN, vb., iterativum zu 1suchten, süchten, 'kränkeln': sücklen, süchtlen zukkelen, ziekelyk zyn Kramer-Moerbeck neues dt.-holländ. wb. (1768) 334b; später, wohl direct aus 1sucht (III A 1 c) abgeleitet, 'in kleinlicher und lächerlicher weise nach etwas streben': für einen nach originalität süchtelnden narren Gutzkow (1872) 5, 74.

(Grimm's Wörterbuch)

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    Today, in most regions the l is left out: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/suchten mundmische.de/bedeutung/6105-suchten sprachnudel.de/woerterbuch/suchten
    – Takkat
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 10:36
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    Finde ich unpassend, denn zwischen Sucht und binge ist ein gewaltiger Unterschied.
    – Robert
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 21:01
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    I'd agree on Sucht being slightly misplaced, but suchten comes quite close. Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 8:25
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    @Robert Suchteln, is a much weaker form of addiction and generally perceived as harmless. For me it also carries the connotation of short bursts of excessive action throughout the day. So I think this is the most adequate translation in this context.
    – MrPaulch
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 8:30

When children come home, they binge on screen time.

Wenn die Kinder nach Hause kommen, hängen sie am Handy/am Internet/am Bildschirm. 

Hängen wird auch für anderes Suchtverhalten, für andere Abhängigkeiten verwendet, etwa an der Flasche hängen, an der Nadel hängen. Statt hängen drückt auch kleben eine intensive, schwer lösbare Bindung gut aus.

Eine Alternative wäre auch:

Wenn die Kinder nach Hause kommen, versinken sie ins Handy/ins  Internet. 

Eine exzessive Nutzung zeigen ist ein sehr trockener, psychologischer oder soziologischer Sprachgebrauch.

Sie ... suchteln schon nach ihren Handys drückt noch den Moment vor dem Gebrauch aus. Sonderlich verbreitet ist das Wort auch nicht.

Glotzen passt nur für 's Fernsehen, bei dem man nicht selbst aktiv ist, wie bei Smartphone oder Computer.


A somewhat informal expression that is more on the youth side of users, is "etwas suchten" - "Das Kind suchtet den ganzen Tag ein Computerspiel, Filme, etc"


A word which perhaps can be used in some contexts is Orgie. I fits nicely because it is, like Gelage, also about gluttony but can be used metaphorically.

Sobald die Kinder nach Hause kommen, geht wieder die Handy-Orgie los.

One problem with that is the sexual connotation and language level. binge, while being somewhat informal, can still be used in written language like a newspaper article. By contrast, Orgie in this metaphorical sense is probably restricted to more informal uses, probably only casual spoken German.


[http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/schwelgen][1] The closest would be "schwelgen", I guess.

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