I've encountered this phrase:

Ende Gelände

Shouted by an opponent in a video game. And mentioned a few times here: https://www.ende-gelaende.org/de/.

Taking into account the context from a video game and a website, I'm feeling that this might mean something like:

The game is over (now it's getting serious); enough is enough

I've googled for it but dictionaries are just translating it to:

End of area; end of story

So what's the truth?

4 Answers 4


Ende Gelände has first been a nonsense-rhyme. It is used to express something like Game Over or Your time is up now. and also This is enough. As Christian Geiselmann mentioned in a comment, the rhyme is just used to emphasize the word it rhymes with, so the function of the rhyme word is merely phonetical and not semantical at all. Analogue cases are the fixed phrases Hätte, hätte, Fahrradkette (literally translating to would have, would have, bicycle chain) and Aus die Maus (literally: off the mouse). They don't make any sense, but the rhyme underlines the word which should be emphasised.

Anti-coal activists used it as the name of their movement, because Gelände means terrain. So, the name of the anti-coal movement (which the website you found refers to), is expressing that there is no more terrain left to waste for coal mining. I think, they just used the coincidence that the former nonsense-rhyme can also be understood to express the meaning they want to deliver: they want to make coal mining an end. Of course, the meaning Time is up or Game Over is still present in that creative use of the phrase, and this is definitely intended.

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    Genetically similar: Hätte, hätte, Fahrradkette and Aus die Maus. - Also no semantical added value, just more weight given to the core word (hätte, aus) by adding an accidentally rhyming word. One could call this type of rhyme an underline rhyme, or highlighting rhyme. Aug 19, 2019 at 9:14
  • I guess not: german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1407/… Aug 20, 2019 at 7:22
  • "Aus die Maus" is from the "Sendung mit der Maus". In that context, it makes perfect sense, as "die [Sendung mit der] Maus" is "aus" (reached the end).
    – celtschk
    Aug 20, 2019 at 20:48
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    @celtschk Interesting. Do you have additional support on your claim? It is the first time I see this phrase put into context with Die Sendung mit der Maus Aug 20, 2019 at 22:16
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    @celtschk The quote you link is not directly in the show. The wiktionary entry basically proves that someone on the internet is of the same opinion, but does not have any reference as well. Sorry, but I am still skeptical, whether your thesis might be a post-hoc rationalisation and the phrase has been nonsense first. Aug 21, 2019 at 12:28

Gelände ist einfach ein Reim auf Ende. Semantisch fügt es keine Information hinzu. Die ganze Phrase bedeutet nicht mehr als "Ende!".

Der Reim fügt der Floskel nur eine humorige Note hinzu. Man verwendet es eher, wenn man leicht darüber hinweg kommt, dass etwas zu Ende ist. In distanzloser Enttäuschung und Trauer eher nicht, außer der Spruch hat sich als Marotte schon so in den Sprachgebrauch eingeschliffen, dass man ihn automatisch überall verwendet.

Oft tauchen solche Floskeln überraschend in speziellen Milieus auf, verbreiten sich epidemisch und klingen dann langsam ab, wenn sie sich überall verbraucht haben.

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    Es gibt noch weitere Wendungen, die ähnlich mit dem Reim spielen, zum Beispiel "Schicht im Schacht" oder "Schluss, Aus, Micky Maus". Auch hier spielt die wörtliche Bedeutung von beispielsweise "Micky Maus" keine Rolle. Außerdem wird "Ende Gelände" seit einigen Jahren als Name für eine größere Protestaktion gegen Kohlekraft verwendet. Viele Fundstellen dieses Ausdrucks, zum Beispiel in den Medien, dürften aus diesem Zusammenhang kommen. Aug 18, 2019 at 21:58
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    Please add an English translation as the question is in English, too. Aug 19, 2019 at 1:15
  • @HenningKockerbeck: Auf die Protestaktion hat der Frager bereits selbst hingewiesen. Aug 19, 2019 at 1:40
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    schicht im schacht is not just a rhyme, @HenningKockerbeck: see de.wiktionary.org/wiki/Schicht_im_Schacht Aug 19, 2019 at 6:35
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    I think, it is considered best practise to answer a question in the same language it was asked in. Aug 19, 2019 at 6:50

It's just a slightly humorous way of saying that something has come to an end.

A similar English phrase is "It's all over red rover." (Which apparently comes from the sport of croquet).


Actually it's Ende im Gelände (probably originating from the army), which had been shortened for the anti-coal protests. The phrase commonly is being used eg. for a game, which is already over (with no chance of doing something about it), but is still in progress.

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    Do you have a source that the anti-coal protests were first or any connection to an army command? I personally know "Ende Gelände" quite a long time and until recently (last 10 years) anti-coal protests seem to be a very local issue. Thus I imply that "Ende im Gelände" is a phrase build upon the "original" one. I just have no source for the one or the other. Aug 19, 2019 at 7:09

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