I've attached a link to a question asking about the ability of one to prefix "blöd" with "er-." An answer says that one can technically do this, as it conforms with the grammatical rules of the prefix. Can someone provide these rules, and preferably a link or reference to the source.

EDIT: This question is solely about forming compounds from adjective-roots. I should have mentioned that initially.


"Ok, dann erblöde ich mich mal und antworte auf die Frage. Das Verb ist nach deutschen Regeln korrekt gebildet, daher auch verständlich und sozusagen echt, es existiert nach dem Duden aber nicht, weil zu selten jemand auf die Idee kommt, es zu bilden und zu benutzen. Mit alt oder neu hat das weniger zu tun. Mag trotzdem sein, dass seine besten Tage schon weiter zurück liegen."

  • 4
    Just a comment: I do not know what your goals are with these questions. Maybe you are just very much interested in prefixes, and why not. But if your goal is to learn German then you are spending your time on the wrong things. Just learn each verb on its own, even if it was built by adding a prefix to another verb. If you can see the connection, great. If you slowly develop a feel for the prefixes, also great. If not, don’t worry. Just make sure that with each word that you learn you look at enough examples.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 10:40

2 Answers 2


German speakers create new words all the time. It's just common practice. Scrabble in German is quite chilling. Pointless.

The er- prefix is especially productive. Put it in front of a common action and you created an action that means winning a prize. Ever heard of

sich das Traumgewicht errauchen

Urlaubstage erquatschen

Bonusmeilen erfliegen

No? Because I made them up on the spot. They are valid. Everyone immediately knows what I'm talking about. Other prefixes are just the same. So much it's very hard to find examples that aren't in the dictionary already.

Er hat sich verlogen.

This one plays on the adjective verlogen which looks like a Partizip II. There is no verb verlügen though. Still, it's understandable as a funny variation of verheben in the sense of telling more lies than he could lift.

Bebrabbel mich nicht.

A mix of begrabbeln and brabbeln.

Nachdem ich in der Kneipe war, musste ich mich erstmal entstinken.


  • Thank you, good answer. Also, would you use "ver-" with "blöd," or is there a reason you wouldn't? More generally, is there a reason you opt for one prefix over the other (ie, "er-" over "ver-" or vice versa) when creating words?
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 23:56
  • 1
    The verb verblöden is in the dictionary. It's means becoming stupid or making someone stupid. The verb erblöden in contrary should mean winning a prize from exercising stupidity.
    – Janka
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 0:33
  • The pattern in question seems to be er+adjective+en, and you do not mention that: ergrauen, erblinden, erstarren.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 6:36
  • @CarstenS I have just edited the question, thank you.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 9:27

Erblöden is a variant of entblöden that has died out; Adelung and DWB have it. As can happen with any product of word formation, it has taken on a meaning that cannot be derived from the meaning of the parts and is highly restricted in its use (obligatory nicht and infinitive clause).

Duden: sich nicht entblöden, etwas zu tun (gehoben abwertend: sich nicht schämen, scheuen, etwas [Dreistes, Unkluges o. Ä.] zu tun)

(Funnily enough, this is exactly the meaning that DWB calls unrichtig.)

If a speaker feels the need to use a new word to express their feelings, they may use word formation to form a new word. This has been called an ad hoc formation (okkasionelle Bildung, Gelegenheitsbildung). It seems plausible that this new word should be formed transparently, so that listeners can understand it (although this is by no means necessary). A newly formed word is transparent if its meaning can be derived from the meaning of its parts, or if there is an obvious analogy to similarly formed existing words.

As has been mentioned in a comment, a verb erblöden could be interpreted analogously to verbs such as erblinden, ergrauen, erbleichen, which all share the meaning become X, with X being the state denoted by the adjective. (However, in this specific instance, it is unlikely that such a word would be formed since verblöden already exists.)

  • Thank you, good answer. If there is an adjective for which there exists no "er-" or "ver-" compounds, is there a reason you would opt for one over the other if you were to create a compound from it (eg, launisch, herzlos, glücklich)? Also, it seems that adjectives ending in "-lich" tend often to be prefixed (when possible) by "ver-." Is there a reason for this? Additionally, I'm not aware of any umlauted-adjective for which there formally exists compounds with both "ver-" and "er-" ("ergänzen," no "vergänzen," etc.). Is there a reason for this, or is this an unfounded recognition?
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 13:31
  • I created a separate question about the final two questions I asked in the previous comment, as that seemed more appropriate, but do you have any insights regarding the first (opting for "er-" over "ver-" or vice versa)?
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 13:37
  • I don't feel a difference between er- and ver- as such. You may always be able to find pairs where there seems to be a difference, such as Madame erblaßte vs. Die Farbe verblaßte, but it wouldn't do to ascribe this difference to er- and ver-.
    – David Vogt
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 13:54

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