I know that einfangen means various flavours of catching, eg, catching a fish, a thief, an infection, or a festive mood.

But I have just come across this passage where it seems to mean to arrest a development:

Ja, weil in den einzelnen Ländern seit Jahren jeder neue Fernsehvertrag 20 bis 100 Prozent mehr Geld bringt. Dieses wird von den Vereinen sofort in die Erhöhung der Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der Mannschaften investiert. Indem man Spieler verpflichtet, die man sich zuvor nicht leisten konnte. Und zwar über hohe Gehaltszahlungen. Diese Entwicklung gilt es einzufangen.

Catch or capture doesn't make sense here. Is this a meaning that dictionaries don't list?

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    Indeed, can only guess even as a native speaker. I know context dependent translations like to catch, to trap, to align, to rope, to come down with a sickness, to record a situation in an image. My first guess would be "to set a limit", like in a typeset. Not really every day German. Or just journalist wilfully attaching new meanings to a word :-) – a_donda Apr 25 '20 at 12:49
  • @a_donda Could you explain to me the last sentence of PBH once again? I can't understand it. – Taman Apr 25 '20 at 13:14
  • OP is the one to address if you have problems understanding. Doesn't make sense to introduce a new variable. – a_donda Apr 25 '20 at 13:27
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    Actually capture is pretty close if you imagine a lasso: the horse will still be able to move afterwards, but with more restrictions. So stop is definitely too strong, it is more in the direction of dampen. – guidot May 1 '20 at 22:11

Etwas einfangen in this context is mostly used for a process or a development that is starting to go, or already has gone, in the wrong direction. There is a strong sense of catching in the expression. You want to – so to speak – get a grip on the development to stop it from becoming any worse, to revert it, or to redirect it towards a more desirable outcome.

There is a sense of making things better in the expression, too. To arrest doesn’t have that. I’d rather go for something like correcting/mitigating a development.


I use the word "einfangen" quite often in this sense and would suggest "revoke" "withdraw" or "confine" not necessarily as a direct translation but to understand the meaning.

Especially "confine" might fit to your example, as the practice described is considered as the bursting of a dam, which gets worse and harder to control over time.


"Stoppen" ist manchmal, aber nicht jedes Mal eine passende Alternative. Oft passt "einholen" besser, nicht im Sinne von "das Tau einholen", sondern im Sinne von "Schritt halten mit", "einen konkurrierenden Läufer einholen".

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