I'm looking for a German to English dictionary which for example, when I search for the word "Wörterbuch", it shows:

Wort: Word

Buch: Book

Is there anything like this?

  • 1
    If you can't type Umlaute (äöüÄÖÜ) use ae, oe etc. The two dots represent an e. If you can't type ß, use ss instead.
    – Janka
    Sep 12, 2018 at 21:57
  • 4
    Could you explain why - to what end - you need this? Sep 13, 2018 at 8:23
  • @Christian Geiselmann: I'm learning German and when I encounter a new word, for example "Sonderangebot", instead of just translating it to "special offer", I prefer to learn that it is actually "sonder-" + "angebot". In this way, I learn two new words and also, remember the meaning easier, because I understand the logic. I understand that the meaning is not necessarily the same, but it gives a very good clue. I have only found www.learnwitholiver.com that has this option.
    – mohammad
    Sep 13, 2018 at 23:17
  • 1
    To potential close-voters: I think "asking for a dictionary" is different from "asking for things found in a dictionary" - the latter being off-topic, the former being maybe a little open-ended, in the worst case. Sep 14, 2018 at 9:11

5 Answers 5


Such a dicitonary does not exist to my knowledge but you can easily get there with the wordformation browser offered from Canoo.net.

If you search for Wörterbuch click on the Wordformation button there. Then you are presented with an analysis as follows:

enter image description here

The blue entries are clickable, which means you can click on Wort and on Buch there. You will then not only find all other frequent composites built on these words but you will also have a link to a very concise German > English dictionary on the top right corner of the screen named LEO (DE-E) for your convenience.

The search you are looking for is not displayed at once, but it is only two mouse clicks away, which is better than nothing. This can be done for many composites but as is the case for most dictionaries only the most frequent will be includes.

  • +1 for the link. Useful.
    – Janka
    Sep 13, 2018 at 9:57
  • @Janka: Canoo is awesome !!!
    – Takkat
    Sep 13, 2018 at 9:59

You are looking for a dictionary of German stems. Such dictionaries exist, but they aren't targeted to language learners but linguists.

But seriously, you don't need such a thing. Your goal is identifying the parts of a compound. There's an easy way to to that: understand the compound from the end backwards.


  • h ← that's for sure not a German word. Only vowels may stand alone.
  • ch ← that neither, no vowel.
  • uch ← that may be a German word, look it up. … No, it isn't.
  • buch ← that's a German word. You know it well.

So … a Wörterbuch is a special kind of Buch. That's the logic behind German compunds. Let's check the rest.

  • r ← no.
  • er ← Ok, that's a German word. Let's stash it for now.

Continue with the rest

  • t ← no.
  • rt ← still no vowel.
  • ört ← that may be a German word, look it up. … No, it isn't.
  • Wört ← that may be a German word, look it up. … No, it isn't.

Hmm. No luck with Wört. It may be plural then. Plurals often have those pesky Umlaute in there. Look up Wort instead. YES!

BUT, the dictionary says the plural of Wort is either Worte or Wörter. So, the er we stashed is part of Wörter. We are done.

Wörterbuch → book of many words.

This may seem tedious at first but believe me it works automatically as soon your vocabulary grows. Your lectures are built that way the compounds are made from words you already know. It's the same way German children learn the language.

If you are curious. There are some compounds which leave you clueless. And German speakers, too. For example Staubecken. This is either

die Staub-ecken (multiple corners filled with dust)


das Stau-becken (a basin meant to pond water)

Context is key then.

  • How do you know, what the OP needs?
    – Arsak
    Sep 13, 2018 at 9:22
  • 2
    Never claimed that. But I know what the OP don't need to do what he wants. And that, he described pretty spot-on.
    – Janka
    Sep 13, 2018 at 9:52
  • Nimm's mir bitte nicht übel, aber für mich liest sich der Satz irgendwie bevormundend und von oben herab und ich bin mir relativ sicher, dass Du das nicht so meinst. Und darauf wollte ich nur aufmerksam gemacht haben.
    – Arsak
    Sep 13, 2018 at 10:06
  • Für mich liest er sich hingegen aufmunternd, so wie der ganze Text. So unterscheiden sich die Sichtweisen.
    – Janka
    Sep 13, 2018 at 10:09

Luckily there is one dictionary I know which provides you with this information. It's Larousse German/English dictionary. It separates the components of compound nouns by a vertical bar.





Here is an example from inside the book.

  • Unfortunately Larousse refuses to load here (it may need registration). Do they also translate compounds separately? Can you give us an example/screenshot of how they work?
    – Takkat
    Sep 13, 2018 at 10:07
  • 1
    I put the link into your post. To see how it was made click on edit. I also added an Amazon link - SE has an affliliation with Amazon and will earn a little money for posting Amazon links.
    – Takkat
    Sep 13, 2018 at 10:21
  • Also see german.stackexchange.com/editing-help for all you can do while editing or writing posts.
    – Takkat
    Sep 13, 2018 at 10:26
  • 1
    But Mohammad wanted to get from Wörterbuch to Wort and Buch, not to Wörter and Buch. (For what reason ever he needs that.) So, the Larousse word division is not necessarily helpful. Sep 13, 2018 at 10:47
  • @Christian Geiselmann Even if this division does not help him in some words, I am positive it will get him half the way. The other half can be done easily by most electronic dictionaries, because in such dictionaries you can put any form of the word (whether singular or plural) to get you automatically to the main 'singular' entery.
    – user34137
    Sep 13, 2018 at 10:55

I don't know if there are specifically any German to English dictionaries that do this, but most regular German dictionaries show the component words and there are special "Herkunfswörterbücher" (etymological dictionaries), that will give that information.


The only dictionary that I found is: www.wiktionary.com which is exactly what I needed

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