My understanding is that kinderlos means childLESS.

In the opposite vein, I once described a woman as "kinder fähig." That literally means "child capable," and would refer to someone's ability to bear children. Is that a real German word, or is it another one of my "inventions"?

And "Kinderkriegen" means childbearing, right? Or is it a reference to the "begetting" of children.

So if I wanted to say that a certain woman was "capable of bearing children, would I say that she's "kinder fähig," or "kinder kriegen fähig," or use another term altogether?

  • I wonder, why no one mentioned “Kinderschokolade” – chocolate made from, no, for children. ;-) (To be sure: It’s a trade mark.) – Speravir Apr 16 '13 at 21:57

Answering the questions, as they come:

kinderlos is childless.

kinderfähig (not kinder fähig) is a word that someone might invent in German and that would be understood as intended (given an appropriate context). So it is not surprising, that somebody on the Internet has already done so – mostly in the context of something (e.g., furniture, a computer, a school) being suited for children. However in this context, I would prefer kindergeeignet.

Kinderkriegen may mean childbearing, but can also be used to refer to starting a family in general (which, to illustrate the difference, may also include adopting children).

The German term for the capability of a woman to bear children is gebärfähig, which literally means capable of giving birth.

  • @Takkat: Can I still read those comments somewhere, in some kind of history for the answer? I would like to see what was commented here. – O. R. Mapper Aug 31 '14 at 9:36
  • @O.R.Mapper Unfortunately people could not get bothered with a sum-up of their comments to add an answer. So no, you can't read them any more. – Takkat Aug 31 '14 at 18:36

Eine Frau, die Kinder kriegen kann, ist fruchtbar.


  • 2
    I would say that fruchtbar has a narrower point of view. A woman, that is pregrant right now or at a certain point of her period, is certainly capable of bearing a child, but not fruchtbar. – Wrzlprmft Apr 8 '13 at 7:42
  • @Wrzlprmft: Du würdest aber nicht behaupten sie sei unfruchtbar, oder? – user unknown Apr 8 '13 at 8:38
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    Nein, würde ich nicht. Aber un- kann halt nicht immer durch nicht ersetzt werden (mir fällt gerade kein besseres Beispiel ein als heilig vs. unheilig). – Wrzlprmft Apr 8 '13 at 9:29
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    @Wrzlprmft Zumindest der Duden sieht das etwas anders als Du: duden.de/rechtschreibung/fruchtbar „die fruchtbaren Tage der Frau (Tage, an denen eine Empfängnis möglich ist)“. Ich halte den obigen Satz in dieser allgemeinen, zeitlich unbestimmten Forma aber auch für unpassend. „Zeugungsfähig“ wäre mMn das richtige, allerdings eher nach technicus terminus klingende Wort. – Speravir Apr 16 '13 at 18:16
  • @Wrzlprmft Mannomann, das sollte „Form“ und „terminus technicus“ heißen … – Speravir Apr 16 '13 at 21:58

"she is capable of bearing children"

Sie ist fähig Kinder zu kriegen.

"kinderfähig" is not a word that any german would use. the short version is "fruchtbar"

  • 1
    If you use "fruchtbar" in this context in a discussion, you will get some very funny looks. – nohillside Apr 16 '13 at 17:12
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    Compare your last sentence with the answer of “user unknown” … and the comments. – Speravir Apr 16 '13 at 18:07
  • @patrix well, ifa woman goes to a doc to check if she is capable of becoming pregnant, he will certainly tell her that she is "fruchtbar" – user1451340 Apr 17 '13 at 5:30
  • He would talk about being "zeugungsfähig" or "in der Lage, Kinder zu kriegen" rather than "fruchbar". – nohillside Apr 17 '13 at 6:11
  • wrong. men are "zeugungsfähig", women are "empfängnisfähig". genderneutral: "fruchtbar" ("fortpflanzungsfähig", but this is a rather biological term) – user1451340 Apr 17 '13 at 9:10

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