Slow German 233 includes the following sentence:

Also: Mein Teekesselchen ist oben an jedem Zimmer dran.

Duden offers no definition for "dran", only a variety of examples of its use, of which there appear to be many, without an obvious pattern of meaning. In an attempt to understand what purpose this word (if that is what it is) has in the given sentence I looked at the Google translation of the sentence with and without including it. With:

So: my kettle is on top of every room.


So: my kettle is upstairs in every room.

Assuming these translations accurately reflect the effect including this word has on the meaning of the sentence it would appear to cause the "oben" to point to the "Zimmer" rather than the general upstairs. So is that what "dran" does, is cause a direction to point at or in a specifically designated thing?

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    Duden dran, under Bedeutung, has a link to daran.
    – David Vogt
    Mar 17, 2021 at 21:56
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    ...and probably the searched word is Decke (ceiling vs. blanket).
    – guidot
    Mar 17, 2021 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


As David Vogt points out in a comment, “dran” is short for “daran” - a word that basically means “at” or “on” some location. The location is assumed to be given in context, so “dran” is - as Duden describes - colloquial way of saying “at [this/it]”. The corresponding English preposition will depend on the context of the location/place (“this”) refers to. This is true for many prepositions, where a 1:1 translation either doesn’t exist or would be applied incorrectly; you will need to use context to determine how to translate them.

For example: If I had to translate “Ich denke daran” I’d translate that as “I think about it” but the following phrase from some song lyrics: “an meinem Fahrrad ist alles dran” would mean (lit. “everything is on my bicycle”~ “my bicycle has it all”).

Strangely enough, I can’t replicate the error you specify. When I use Google Translate, it also says “in” when “dran” is at the end. That said, it seems like a bizarre translation.

Without further context: I personally would translate it as: “My little tea kettle is upstairs at [the door of?] every room.” I read “dran” as being outside and near each room. But I’ve never heard a sentence phrased like that, and I asked a German native speaker and they also never heard a sentence phrased like that. And even for my interpretation, it was pointed out that you’d be more likely to see it phrased as “Ein Teekesselchen steht vor jeder Tür” (“There’s a little tea kettle in front of every door”).

*Edit: the comments below explain the meaning of the sentence in context of the homonym game and clarify how the sentence is meant to be read. (i.e. “The [ceiling] is attached to the top of each room upstairs.”)

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    "Teekesselchen" is a game about homonyms. Without further context, the most likely solution to he puzzle is "Decke" (a homonym for both ceiling and blanket). So, the most likely translation of the sentence is "My tea kettle is on top of every room" (referring to the ceiling).
    – tofro
    Mar 18, 2021 at 7:07
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    I think we can also translate dran sein as "being attached to" in this context. Althouth there is a similar idiom dran sein which means "being one's turn". Mar 18, 2021 at 8:50
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    I regret the confusion the example sentence has caused. Unfortunately, it comes from an episode about homonyms and the sentence needs to be understood together with the rest of the episode. "Teekesselchen" is a game about homonyms.
    – user44591
    Mar 18, 2021 at 15:53
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    you might want to read the following links: german.stackexchange.com/questions/29232/… and de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teekesselchen
    – tofro
    Mar 18, 2021 at 15:53
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    @eurieka "Teekesselchen" is used in this game as a placeholder for the word you are looking for. Possible translation into English: So: my teapot is on the top of each room. For the TEAPOT game, see archive.org/details/bookofgameswithd02whit/page/128/mode/…
    – Wolf
    Mar 18, 2021 at 16:10

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