The word der Bildschirm means computer monitor. I observe that there is another word der Monitor which also means computer monitor. I want to know, is there any difference between these two words?

  • 1
    Beides stimmt so nicht. Bildschirm und Monitor können als Ausgabegeräte für Computer dienen, aber beim Fernsehen zum Beispiel spricht man auch von Bildschirm und Monitor. Monitor wird auch bei Konzerten für die Box benutzt, mit der die Band sich selbst hört, aber da bin ich nur sehr oberflächlich informiert - das bedarf sicher einer präziseren Darstellung. Aug 8, 2019 at 19:17
  • 1
    Verkaufer kennen in IT-Geschäfte das Wort "Monitor" nicht. Bildschirm, ja.
    – peterh
    Aug 8, 2019 at 21:46

4 Answers 4


When it comes to computers, no, there is not. "Monitor" and "Bildschirm" mean the same thing. Much like "monitor" and "screen" do in English.

For reference in German, this is how the Duden defines "Monitor" in the context applicable here:

Bildschirm eines Personal Computers o. Ä.

If you want to nitpick (which you shouldn't), the "Bildschirm" is only the "screen that displays the image". In monitors of yore, i.e. cathod-ray tubes (Kathodenstrahl-Röhren), it designated the phosphorescent surface that the electron beam would hit, thus making the image appear. The "monitor"/"Monitor" (in English/German) would then be the integral "electronic device with a screen used for display", as Merriam-Webster defines it.

But again, the two words are used interchangeably. Not just because the days of cathode-ray tubes are long gone. Also because people don't usually dwell on that technical distinction.

  • In English, the same as in German, the screen/Bildschirm is the flat part of the monitor that displays the picture and not the whole device. People confuse the two terms in both languages: the screen is the only part of the monitor they are concerned with.
    – PiedPiper
    Aug 9, 2019 at 18:44
  • Other answers to the question support my view that this has not yet become standard usage
    – PiedPiper
    Aug 10, 2019 at 7:45

The word "Bildschirm" means the screen, either of a computer monitor, a TV or other similar device, although it would not be used for small displays but mainly for bigger ones that used to have a front glass with a CRT. Note "Bildschirm" is just the front that displays the image, not the whole CRT. There days it is usually used for LCD or similar displays, as CRT are no longer in general use.

The word "Monitor" applies to a device that includes a screen ("Bildschirm") but doesn't contain a TV receiver. It may be used for computers or surveillance cameras or similar applications.

Whether a device includes a TV receiver is important because there are fees to pay for devices capable of receiving TV signals, whether they are used for that purpose or not, that are not in private use.

  • 2
    Bildschirm literally means "the picture(-catching)-umbrella". Where the picture the electron beam draws is caught in.
    – Janka
    Aug 8, 2019 at 17:45
  • 6
    @Janka I don't think umbrella is the right word for the Schirm part in this context.
    – RalfFriedl
    Aug 8, 2019 at 19:02
  • 3
    Im Alltagssprachgebrauch bezeichnet man sowohl mit Bildschirm als auch mit Monitor auch das ganze Gerät ("Sitzt Du wieder vor dem Bildschirm/Monitor?). Die Größe spielt auch keine Rolle - zumindest beim Smartphone und der Digitalkamera spricht man auch wieder von beidem. Aug 8, 2019 at 19:25
  • 2
    This answer needs more clarification. While it is technically correct that it is only the display, Bildschirm and Monitor at least for computers are completely interchangeable. For phones, display is used. Aug 9, 2019 at 12:59

If it is about computers, there is no difference at all, only speaker's preference.
For general use, Bildschirm has a slightly broader range than Monitor, for example the screen of a TV (especially an old CRT one) would be called Bildschirm but not Monitor. Yet, to be precise, this is true for an entertainment TV, while a screen for surveillance (images of security cameras) would be called Monitor even at times when it was technically not different from a TV set.

  • 3
    There is some difference with respect to computers: "Bildschirm" only means the screen itself whereas "Monitor" means the whole device, including e.g. its back and foot.
    – RHa
    Aug 8, 2019 at 16:36
  • 1
    Deswegen heißt wohl auch die Reportagesendung im Fernsehen "Monitor"? Natürlich heißt ein Fernsehmonitor auch Monitor. Aug 8, 2019 at 19:18
  • 1
    Rein technisch gesehen mag man auch das Empfangsgerät für Fernsehprogramme als (Fernseh-)Monitor bezeichnen können, ich habe das so allerdings noch nie gehört. Bei dem Fernsehmagazin würde ich eher davon ausgehen, dass der lateinische Begriff für "Mahner" der direkte Namenspate war. Aug 9, 2019 at 9:14

As stated in other answers: Bildschirm focuses more on the displaying property, while Monitor is more appropriate for a separate stand-alone device with power supply and connection plugs. (I can't remember having seen a laptop advertised as mit Monitor). If the size is more on the smallish side, one would more likely chose one from Display or Anzeige.

Since Monitor has numerous additional meanings (one can monitor noise, carbon dioxide, amount of rain), I would always prefer Bildschirm.

Especially frequent is the word monitor for some high quality speakers in a sound studio.

From the ancient history a monitor earlier was something without UHF decoder, which distinguished it from a TV set, just able to produce some digitally applied signal without the quality loss via the conversion of the appropriate modulator (as found in ancient home computers).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.