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Der Nebel wird so dicht, dass ich das Haus kaum noch sehe.

What is the antonym of "dicht" in the sense/meaning used above?

Also what about these two below?
"thick atmosphere"
"thick substance"

What is the antonym of thick here? If we want it in German of course...

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  • 1
    There are several antonyms depending on context: leicht, lose, locker, einfach, dünn or undicht.
    – TaW
    Nov 7, 2019 at 8:50
  • 4
    Oder nüchtern. :) Nov 8, 2019 at 0:21

3 Answers 3

19

I would use dünn as an antonym of dicht (or dick) in the sense desired:

  • Der Nebel ist heute dünner als gestern.
  • In der dünnen Atmosphäre kann man kaum noch atmen.
  • Die Mischung ist noch viel zu dünn.

As mentioned elsewhere, lichter Nebel is also appropriate, especially, when dichter Nebel was ment to have the connotation blickdicht (being opaque), like in your example sentence

Der Nebel wird so (blick)dicht, dass ich das Haus kaum noch sehe.

This, however, does not invalidate the existence of the phrase dünner Nebel. It occurs where the property opacity is not as important as the property denseness, for example, in the definition of Nebelschleier in the DWDS.

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  • Judging from these 3 examples... I think this is exactly the word I was looking for. Thanks a lot. Nov 7, 2019 at 0:44
  • 11
    Nebel is lichter not dünner.
    – Olafant
    Nov 7, 2019 at 1:35
  • @Olafant, zur Behauptung, dass Nebel nicht dünn sein könne, siehe die Bedeutung von Nebelschleier im DWDS: dwds.de/wb/Nebelschleier Nov 7, 2019 at 5:05
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    @BjörnFriedrich Auch ein dünner Schleier kann blickdicht sein. Ist er das nicht, handelt es sich um einen lichten Schleier.
    – Olafant
    Nov 7, 2019 at 14:06
  • @Olafant What about if we use it for atmosphere and substance? Ist "duenn" OK there? Nov 7, 2019 at 14:11
15

This depends indeed heavily on context. In this case (fog = Nebel) you would usually say leichter Nebel (light fog).
Dünner Nebel (thin fog) would also be possible, but rather unusual.

"Dicht" is also used in the meaning of (air/water-)tight (nothing can leak out), in this case the antonym would simply be undicht.
Finally(?) "dicht" can also mean "close" in the context when speaking about traffic and (not) coming to close to the car in front of you ("Fahr nicht zu dicht auf"). The opposite here would be expressed as "halte Abstand" (keep distance) or "bleib weiter weg" (stay farther away).

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  • 7
    You forgot the antonym "nüchtern" <-> "dicht" (= "sternhagelvoll"). ;-)
    – Alexander
    Nov 7, 2019 at 10:20
  • @Alexander that's why the question mark is there after "finally" ;-) - However, this meaning is a very colloquial one... Nov 7, 2019 at 12:23
  • "dicht" is also colloquially used to mean "buried in work, not available for appointments". Also can mean "shut/shuttered" (both out of hours, or permanently) referring to a business or public building. There is a risk for misunderstanding "Vergiss es, der Chef ist heute völlig dicht." (intended meaning: Don't bother, the boss is too busy today. Easily misunderstood as "Don't bother, the boss is completely drunk today." Nov 7, 2019 at 16:31
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    @rackandboneman Never heard that use, so I would definitely be amongst the persons misunderstanding it - or at least be very confused. Nov 7, 2019 at 17:07
  • In many cases, "leck" can replace "undicht" (as in der Tank ist leck/leckt = the tank is leaky/leaking). Nov 9, 2019 at 20:41
15

Slightly old-fashioned would be:

lichter Nebel

I don't know which meaning of licht this usage is based on: bright or sparse.

ein lichter Morgen (bright)

ein lichter Wald, lichtes Haar (sparse)

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  • 2
    I don't think it's old-fashioned at all. Lichter Nebel is perfectly fine and the right expression instead of dünner Nebel (new-fashioned?).
    – Olafant
    Nov 7, 2019 at 1:33
  • Cp to leak, "die Heizung leckt", which directly contrasts "dicht". It could also compare to "Lichtung", which, to me, is as dark and obscure as the woods. Cue several puns about to miss the forest for the trees.
    – vectory
    Nov 7, 2019 at 12:09
  • @vectory Uhm what?
    – Olafant
    Nov 7, 2019 at 14:40
  • @Olafant it does not make immediate sense to compare leck and dicht, I know, but the radiator is either dicht or it does leck- (Ein schlechter Witz: Warum sitzt die Blondine auf der Heizung? Weil die Heizung leckt!). cp further [Ab-]Dichtung, Lichtung and Dickicht!
    – vectory
    Nov 8, 2019 at 9:05
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    @vectory Manchmal lässt sich erahnen, welch wunderbare und höchst interessante Antworten du schreiben könntest, würdest du deine Gedanken doch bloß mal in verständlichen Fließtext gießen statt sie in telegrammstilartige Kommentare zu stückeln.
    – Olafant
    Nov 8, 2019 at 12:20

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