Actually I like to understand meaning of words by their root and etymology, I am looking to find something like this for German, up to now I found following books and cons and pros for them, would you please add something new or give a piece of advice?

1) German Word Family Dict Hardcover – Jun 1 1978 / by Keller (Author)

  • pro: this is near to what I want
  • cons: price: it is expensive (new: 450 USD!) / it is NOT German, I am almost sure if Germans want to write the same book they can do better, as it is their own language ...

2) Wortfamilienwörterbuch der deutschen Gegenwartssprache Gebundene Ausgabe – 15. März 2009

  • pro: it is German
  • cons: well, I checked its inside as much as amazon permitted, it is fine but the description it presents for each word is not enough, and it is not divided based on the root of words

3) Knaurs etymologisches Lexikon. Herkunft und Geschichte unserer Neu- und Fremdwörter Taschenbuch – April 1992 well, its title seems promising but I do not know what is inside, do you know this book?

4) Der kleine deutsche Wortschatz Taschenbuch – 15. Mai 2017 / von Beat Gloor (Autor) well, again: its title seems promising but I do not know what is inside, do you know this book?

5) Der Wortschatzexpander: Eine Sammlung von Vor-und Nachsilben zum Lernen und Nachschlagen 1st Edition, von Richard Moritz. It is more about suffix and prefixes, not roots.

6) Kluge: Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache Gebundene Ausgabe – 28. September 2011 von Friedrich Kluge

  • pro: professional , German
  • cons: too much for me, not divided by root family

Actually it seems the first book is the best possible option for me, it is just strange I can not find something like that published by Germans in Germany!

  • Keller sounds like a German name? Might be coincidence, but the language of presentation shouldn't matter. It has the minor benefit of glossing headwords in what's basically Latin, as Grimm already did in the "Deutsches Wörterbuch" (19th century, difficult to read). That's a dictionary. Wortfamilien are rather limited in their use in comparison, IMHO, if they sort by stem and affixes, IMHO. English Wiktionary is trying to do it all, and I applaud their effort, but it is woefully incomplete. Do you know DWDS.de?
    – vectory
    Jul 31, 2023 at 16:16
  • As for Kluge, older editions (which are online) are difficult to read for anyone who hasn't learned Fraktur-Schrift. Newer editions of Kluge/Seebold are better, but they assume a thorough grasp of the grammar and stemming of course.
    – vectory
    Jul 31, 2023 at 16:19

3 Answers 3


I have mentioned this book before when someone was looking for a thesaurus:

Dornseiff: Der deutsche Wortschatz nach Sachgruppen.

This book does not try to be a simple thesaurus listing exact synonyms, but instead sorts vocabulary by topic and also lists "close friends" with (at least some) explanation. Definitively have a look inside before you buy - The book is not exactly cheap (Don't use Google books or Amazon look inside - They both offer only very non-interesting pages). You will also need a good dictionary along with it.


Mein Wortbildungswoerterbuch "Zum Beispiel" enthält über 700 Wortfamilien, ist aber nur in einigen Universitätsbibliotheken zu haben; und manche Beispele im zweiten Band sind leider veraltet. Ich würde auch den Sprach-Brockhaus empfehlen, aber der ist nur noch antiquarisch (und meistens teuer) zu bekommen.

Sorry, I should have answered in English! The only places where I know for certain there is a copy are Lancaster University, Selwyn College and the Cambridge MML faculty library.

  • 1
    Welcome, @Bernhard. Notice that questions should be answered in the language that was used in the question. Jul 30, 2023 at 17:10
  • More detailed bibliographical information would probably be useful.
    – HalvarF
    Jul 31, 2023 at 10:14

Lühr, R. (Hg.): Deutsche Wortfeldetymologie in europäischem Kontext. Bd. 5: B. Irslinger & S. Zeilfelder: Wirtschaft

Rezension: Stefan Zimmer, Aus der Zeitschrift Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie https://doi.org/10.1515/zcph-2022-0008

Als „Basisbegriffe“ der Wirtschaft werden die Begriffe Wirtschaft, Ökonomie, Arbeit, Industrie, Waren, Güter sowie Geschäft besprochen. [Zimmer]

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