I thought both meant "moreover". But sometimes I see the first, sometimes the second term being used, in almost identical contexts.

What is the difference?

  • 2
    Which examples did you find (together with context, please)? Which dictionary did you consult and what explanation did it offer? Have you been able to use & understand a german-german dictionary like dwds.de? Aug 28, 2020 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


In the "moreover" context both words are synonyms, just like überdies. A difference is that außerdem only knows this context, but ferner can occur in other contexts, too, having a different meaning, i.e. "nichts liegt mir ferner."

  • Umm... I think those two contexts for "ferner" are for two different words? Or would you say that "ferner liefen" as stated above has the "ferner" meant as if it was the comperative of "fern"?
    – Daarin
    Sep 1, 2020 at 8:29
  • No. Yes. "Ferner" is always the comparative of "fern" and always describes either physical or virtual distance: "In ferner Zukunft" is the same usage as "Gewinner waren... Ferner wurden gekührt:..." - it describes something that is apart from the current position/focus.
    – AmigoJack
    Sep 1, 2020 at 9:01
  • ("gekürt", of course)
    – AmigoJack
    Sep 1, 2020 at 14:16

Die Begriffe sind, soweit ich sehe, synonym.

Ferner ist nicht mehr so geläufig, aber es gibt den stehenden Ausdruck "der Rest lief unter ferner liefen" aus dem Pferdesport, bei dem semantisch außerdem liefen auch nicht falsch wäre, aber ferner liefen hat sich eingebürgert.

  • 2
    Die Betrachtung zu "außerdem liefen" verwirrt hier eher den Fragesteller, wette ich.
    – äüö
    Aug 31, 2020 at 6:38
  • Nun, mit einer Reputation von 293 sollte er dann einen Kommentar abgeben können. Aug 31, 2020 at 22:57

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