Yes, there already is a post with a similar title, but that question is very closely tied to the verb setzen, while my question here is more basic and general.

I have a vocabulary list that includes the following three entries

hin                 there
dahin               there
dorthin             there

First, I would like to either consolidate entries if they are reasonably synonymous (i.e. one can be replace by the other, at least in most cases).

For, if dahin and dorthin were largely synonymous (and my guess is that they are), I would consolidate at least the last two lines above like this:

hin                 there
dahin, dorthin      there

Second, for the lines that are not sufficiently synonymous to be consolidated in this manner, how can I change the English column (as succinctly as possible) to indicate their difference? For example,

hin                 there, over there
dahin, dorthin      to there, to that place

My question boils down to asking for confirmation that what I've illustrated with my examples above is accurate, and if not, how to improve it.

2 Answers 2


"hin" focuses on the first of a pair of journeys: hin und zurück = "there and back again". You cannot use "hin" for a trip without implying that it's a two-way trip.

"dahin" does the same, but additionally it implies that the goal is within sight so that you can (notionally) point to it (is is deictic). You cannot use "dorthin" or "dahin" without implying that the goal of the trip is visible, or at least common ground in the conversation. This is why Estragon's line from "Waiting for Godot" is considered absurd or dadaist:

Do you see someone coming?


(without gesture) There.

  • erm, no (to your first paragraph). Fritz feiert seinen Geburtstag - Gehst du hin?
    – tofro
    Jun 17, 2018 at 16:18
  • You don't come back from birthday parties? Jun 17, 2018 at 18:30

Hin implies toward a direction.

Hin is generally the opposite of zurück, i.e. like forth is the opposite of back. E.g. wohin means "whereto".

Dahin means "towards there", i.e. towards a certain place designated with da, i.e. referring to something or pointed to a certain direction (something like "thereto").

Dorthin is like dahin, but dort is generally further away from the speaker. So dort is usualy a considerable distance away, while da can be quite close to the speaker (something like "hitherto").

IOW, hin roughly means "toward", dahin roughly means "thereto" and dorthin roughly means "hitherto".

Ich gehe hin = I'm going toward it or I'm going there.

Ich gehe dahin = I'm going in that direction or I'm going toward that place or simply I'm going there.

Ich gehe dorthin = I'm going toward that place over there or simply I'm going over there.

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