Here, in the first meaning in the "Wortbedeutung" section, it says:

ohne Artikel,...

But down the page, in the "Anwendungsbeispiele" section, the given first three examples include:

Im Westen...

Der Westen...

Isn't the shortened "dem" in "im" and "der" considered Artikel?

  • 1
    Title and body of the question don't match. Are you unsure whether der is an article or do you want examples for Westen used without it? Also, in general, I recommend using real dictionaries (for instance, DWDS or Duden).
    – David Vogt
    Sep 26, 2021 at 5:46
  • @David Vogt Yeah I couldn't figure out a good title for my question, because I just wanted help in making sense of what's pressnted in the dictionary. I like that dictionary because it has a nice, concise offline version, whereas Duden's offline version isn't available in my country, and DWDS is just too comprehensive for me Sep 26, 2021 at 9:11

2 Answers 2


Isn't the shortened "dem" in "im" and "der" considered Artikel?

That's right. Probably, the linked dictionary should rather state that for meaning 1), the term "Westen" can be used without an article, though there are also occurrences with an article, depending on how the word is used.

Furthermore, as you correctly noticed, the examples unfortunately only cover the case where the term is used with an article.

Thus, when used as a compass direction, two cases need to be distinguished:

  • Do not use an article when referring to "Westen" as a mere direction.
  • Do use an article when referring to "Westen" as the location that is located in the stated direction.

That is, something moves "nach Westen" or comes "aus Westen" or "von Westen her" because here, the focus is on the direction, no matter where exactly the movement leads to/originates from.

You know some detail about "der Westen", because you are referring to the place that you would reach when moving westward.


The dictionary says that Westen has a number of meanings. Point 1. explains that it is one of the four compass directions. If Westen is used as a compass direction - and only in that case - it occurs without article. In all others contexts it is used with article. Here are some examples without article.

Der Wind weht aus Westen.

Das Schiff fährt nach Westen.


O.R.Mapper comments "Westen" also stands for a compass direction in the examples with an article that are marked as belonging to that meaning with "1)". I a sense he is right, but I think we have to distinguish between the direction "Westen" and a place lying in western direction. The questions "wohin" and "woher" are answered by "Westen" without an article (see the above examples: Woher weht der Wind? Wohin fährt das Schiff?). This use refers to moving into some direction. The examples in the dictionary do not refer to movements into some direction. In the following examples from the dictionary you would not ask "woher" or "wohin":

Der Westen war ein Feuermeer in der untergehenden Sonne. This says that the area lying in western direction was "sea of fire", nothing moved into some direction.

Im Westen stand die Sonne schon tief über dem Sumpf, doch bis die Dunkelheit anbrach, konnten sie noch mit zwei Stunden Helligkeit rechnen. Again nothing moves, but in some area lying in western direction the sun was low.

  • 1
    Sorry but I still don't get it, how is it used without article when there is a definite article in all the given examples? //Im Westen grenzt Frankreich an den Atlantik.//, //Der Westen war ein Feuermeer in der untergehenden Sonne.// Sep 26, 2021 at 3:17
  • 1
    @KeNSmilePachI The linked text contains in fact only examples with article. I included two examples where "Westen" is used without article. As you see it stands for a compass direction here.
    – Paul Frost
    Sep 26, 2021 at 7:29
  • 2
    @PaulFrost: But it also stands for a compass direction in the examples with an article that are marked as belonging to that meaning with "1)". As such, the statement that an article is never used when a compass direction is meant doesn't seem correct. Sep 26, 2021 at 11:34

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.