All of them mean "reduce". When looking up for the definitions in Duden, they point to each other, which doesn't help!

Is there any difference in their meanings? Or they are completely synonyms, which we can safely make use of, to vary our vocabulary usage.

Some examples:

  • Wir reduzieren den Einsatz von Plastik bei unseren Eigenmarken bis 2025 um mind. 20%.
  • Wir arbeiten activ daran, den Einsatz von Zucker und Salz in unserem Eigenmarkensortiment um 20% zu verringern.
  • Wenn du im Vorstellungsgespräch so undiplomatisch bist, verminderst du natürlich deine Einstellungschancen.
  • 1
    There's also einschränken, beschränken, verkleinern, and probably others.
    – RDBury
    Sep 19, 2021 at 3:43
  • 'senken' is one noticable synonym for it, too Sep 19, 2021 at 15:05

2 Answers 2


In English, there's not only "to reduce", but also "to decrease", "to diminish", "to lessen", "to downsize" and so forth. The situation with the three German verbs you mentioned is similar: They have (very) similar meanings and can be used interchanceably to a large degree, but there are some fine nuances.

"Reduzieren" can be traced back to the Latin "reducere" ("to lead back"), very similar to English "reduce". As with many words with discernible Latin background, it tends to be used more in scientific, technical or similar contexts. But you'll also find it occasionally in everyday speech.

"Verringern" puts more emphasis on reducing the amount of something, while "vermindern" puts a bit more emphasis on reducing the quality or value of something. But this difference, as I alluded to above, is really small and almost non-discernible in everyday speech.


It is in fact the case that these nuances are only applied subconscious. Its learned as you use the language, it is not wrong to interchange them, but uncommon and awkward when you do so. Its like culture, we see things as normal, but if something is a little different we step back and scratch our head.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.