My dictionary says "lebenspendend" and "Leben spendend" but I cannot find lebensspendend double s compound. I suppose it's not a variant.

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    And not to confuse it with lebendspendend (donating while alive) – Hagen von Eitzen Feb 24 '20 at 16:07
  • @HagenvonEitzen Likewise we should not confuse lebendgebährend with lebensgebährend although the one and the other usually occur in combination. – Christian Geiselmann Feb 24 '20 at 16:48

As @infinitezero already said DWDS lists lebensspendend as a variant of lebenspendend, so you may say it has the same meaning.

But it gets interesting, when you take a look at Google's ngram Viewer, which displays a graph showing how those words have occurred in a corpus of books.

enter image description here


As you can see since the 1980's the variant seems to be more common than the original.


Duden does not list the word, however DWDS does list it as a Nebenform (variant).


The question asked was actually:

Can lebenspendend also be spelled lebensspendend, i.e. with an additional s?

To answer this: there is no final rule-based answer. The writer is at liberty to write it either way. For my taste, lebenspendend would be slightly more poetic, lebensspendend sligtly more prosaic.

As for the productivity of suffigations with -spendend: you can glue it to other substantives with suitable meaming as it pleases you:

  • wasserspendend
  • freudespendend
  • raumspendend
  • genussspendend
  • labungspendend
  • heiterkeitspendend
  • duftspendend
  • samenspendend

and so on. (I am sure most of them will not be registered in dictionariesm but this does not make them invalid or inexisting.)

Most of them would be spelled without an additional "s". An "s" could be added, though, to labungsspendend and heiterkeitsspendend. Which leads to the question: when can "s" be added, and when not? I suppose there is some complicated rule, but at the moment I am not able to present it.


You just used the word lebensspendend, so: here it is! You used it, so it exists.

The goal of each language is to transport ideas. If a speaker/writer uses a certain word, and if the listener/reader has a high change to guess which idea was in the speakers/writers mind when he/she used this word, then the word not just only exists, but it even does its job: It transports an idea.

There is nothing like an official bureau that can say that one word exists, and another doesn't. There are just editorial departments who collect and list words that are more or less often used. But sometimes they list old and outdated words, that no longer are in use (but still exist), while they fail to list brandnew (but also existing) words.

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    I think this is better suited as a comment. OP's question is not about the physical existence but about the validity. So while it may be poorly worded, I think this answer is a little too nitpicky – infinitezero Feb 24 '20 at 14:39
  • Please roll back, if you consider my edit enchroaing. – Olafant Feb 24 '20 at 15:37
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    Did you ever play Scrabble..? – Polluks Feb 24 '20 at 19:00
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    Welsche Schuhle vertit den dihse Annsicht? – user unknown Feb 24 '20 at 20:08
  • @userunknown Descriptivism, as opposed to Prescriptivism. While the first is very useful in research, the latter is useful in school. Hubert Schölnast often has a descrptive PoV and not always sees that the latter PoV has its merits as well. – Polygnome Feb 25 '20 at 11:54

Since the question of officially existence is not answerable without a definition of official regarding the use of a language, I consider your question being meant in the way of:

Would the word lebensspendend be considered valid German?

Even though DWDS lists lebensspendend as by-form of lebenspendend, I think there is a comprehensible reason why Duden doesn't.

DUDEN recomments the spelling Leben spendend and actually that's the meaning of lebenspendend - live-giving.

If something spendet Leben, it is lebenspendend. If people are donating blood, they are blutspendend, ...

I have no idea, why there should be an additional s at the end of Leben. I think, nobody would ever say blutsspendend. It just doesn't make sense whatsoever.

So I think, that's a (according to @mtwde's post common) mistake arising from the structural resemblance to the word lebenserhaltend.

But lebenserhaltend is a different story.

  • Lebenserhaltende Maßnahmen (life support measures) are Maßnahmen zur Erhaltung des Lebens.
  • Lebenserhaltende Funktionen (life support functions) are für die Erhaltung des Lebens notwendige Funktionen.

So there is a genitive in there justifying the additional s.

That doesn't apply for lebenspendend and therefore imho lebensspendend is simply wrong.

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    The ‑s‑ is a Fugenmorphem and not a genitive, as can be seen from compounds such as arbeitserleichternd, ‑ersparend, ‑erschwerend, where the first part is feminine. – David Vogt Feb 24 '20 at 17:44
  • @DavidVogt from your given source: Das Vorderwort erscheint in der Genitiv­form – Olafant Feb 24 '20 at 17:46
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    Arbeit is feminine. Its genitive is Arbeit. – David Vogt Feb 24 '20 at 17:47
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    A genitive would occur consistently. Fugenlaute are pretty unpredictable: Duden has lebensprühend but not lebenssprühend; has both lebenverneinend and lebensverneinend; and only lebensbedrohend but not lebenbedrohend. – David Vogt Feb 24 '20 at 18:12
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    your own example contradicts you. whats the difference between lebensspendend and lebenserhaltend? das eine spendet Leben, das andere erhaltet Leben. – ths Feb 24 '20 at 23:13

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