"Nichtsdestotrotz" is one of the most complicated words that I had to deal with during my first stays in Germany not so long ago. Someone I had to report to was making very frequent use of it (even in official communication) and I never could understand how or when to use it properly. Everyone told me it was a synonym for trotzdem, and everyone told me they had never made use of this word, but that its usage seemed quite okay. My dictionary told me it was "umgangssprachlich", so I didn't bother.

I recently found out a small answer on Wikipedia that didn't exist when I first figured out how to write this word. It explains the word is originally a kind of student pun between the two synonyms "nichtsdestoweniger" (~nonetheless) and "trotzdem" (~regardless) but that nowadays it is considered okay to use it in a formal way.

On the web (leo forums, duden online) I also found out the word could have been an invention of Kurt Tucholsky, who was a satirist.

So this is my question: Is this word really usable in (formal) conversations, or is it still understood as a grammatical absurdity used only in oral conversations to point out a useless accumulation of words, as a kind of pun or simply to point out the fact that one doesn't want to bother choosing between "trotzdem" and "nichtsdestoweniger" (this kind of things happen frequently in my native language) ?

  • Remark: I once have also read that “nichtsdestoweniger” itself was created as a malapropism of another word or word construction, but I can't find anything about that right now. I wonder if someone else has heard similiarly and can give background on that.
    – k.stm
    Oct 9, 2012 at 16:42
  • I don't think that "funny" is a very good tag.
    – Phira
    Oct 9, 2012 at 16:53
  • @Phira Ditto, I just removed it.
    – k.stm
    Oct 12, 2012 at 6:20
  • ok, i might just have a strange sense of humor when it comes to german vocabulary...btw thanks for the answers and comments, the first part of the question is not closed for me yet, but at least the second part seems to be resolved.
    – Yves
    Oct 29, 2012 at 23:05
  • Even some native germans have problems with this word, don't worry.
    – jawo
    Jan 8, 2015 at 10:31

4 Answers 4


To me, nichtsdestotrotz sounds absolutely correct as a synonym of jedoch. (The proper usage of trotzdem is another can of worm.) It would not seem jarring to me to see it in a formal document. I would certainly expect it more in a legal document than in an informal email.

Ngram speaks a very clear message that nichtsdestotrotz is on the rise and nichtsdestoweniger is waning:

ngram - nichtsdestotrotz vs nichtsdestoweniger

So, better start to get used to it now.

  • 2
    In your face nichtsdestoweniger :)... that always sounded dated to me
    – Emanuel
    Oct 9, 2012 at 17:06
  • Admittedly, "jedoch" and "trotzdem" have way higher usage scores. I actually agree that the usage is just due to the onomotapoeic qualities of the word.
    – Phira
    Oct 9, 2012 at 17:16
  • Mit der NGram-Grafik ist Tucholsky aus dem Rennen, der i.d. ersten Hälfte d. letzten Jahrhundert wirkte, aber das Wort ist ja offensichtlich viel älter. Oct 11, 2012 at 19:38
  • 4
    I hate “nichtsdestotrotz”. Why is everything getting worse?
    – k.stm
    Oct 12, 2012 at 5:43
  • 1
    Rather dennoch than jedoch.
    – user6191
    Jan 15, 2015 at 0:30

To my and this answer's supporters opinion it is not usable in formal conversations. Rather use “nichtsdestoweniger” or one of its other synonyms.

  • 2
    Whenever someone uses it, I indeed sense the absurdity of “nichtsdestotrotz”.
    – k.stm
    Oct 9, 2012 at 16:43
  • Note that while I feel differently, I think that it is very valuable for me to know that some people feel like you. Would you care to tell us your approximate age or region? (Mine is mid-thirties / Austria.)
    – Phira
    Oct 9, 2012 at 17:18
  • Mid-Twenties, South Germany.
    – k.stm
    Oct 9, 2012 at 17:25
  • Well, maybe we should wait for the North Germans for more input, then.
    – Phira
    Oct 9, 2012 at 17:28
  • Mid-thirties, living in central Germany, but raised in the Southwest.
    – chirlu
    Jun 2, 2013 at 20:03

To judge from Google Books, the word seems to have first appeared in print in the 1920s (one hit), with little peaks of popularity in the 1940s and 1960s. Use in print seems to be almost always non-jocular. Only recently it has reached something close to the popularity of the well established nichtsdestoweniger -- perhaps because nowadays many consider the two words equivalent and nichtsdestotrotz is shorter by two syllables.

Comparing the Google Books hits for nichtsdestotrotz and nichtsdestoweniger, the latter tend to be professionally edited and the former mostly look like academic niche publications, which generally don't receive much attention to word use.

I think I first encountered this word used in a serious context (diploma thesis) in the late 1990s. I was shocked by the writer's poor sense of language, as the nature of the word as a silly pun is quite obvious, I had only ever heard it used jocularly before, and the writer quite obviously didn't mean it humorously at all. Meanwhile the shock value is severely reduced (I just cringe a bit) because non-jocular use has spread so far, but I would seriously advise against using the word that way because there are plenty of safe alternatives. It is never necessary, and there is a chance you will sound stupid to some people.

However, in those situations when using a jocular made-up word such as neverthespite would be at least borderline acceptable in English, nichtsdestotrotz is probably a good choice. I think this post was the first time I have actually written this silly word. I am in my forties.


In my view the word nichtdestotrotz doesn't belong to normal language. It it awkward and much too long. There are enough normal words to express opposition such as aber, jedoch, dennoch, trotzdem. As to me I have never used that ugly word.

I remember that a teacher at school occasionally used that word to get a stylistic or humorous effect. But it wasn't a word we pupils used. It would have been ridiculous if one of us had used "nichtdestotrotz".

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