What is the difference between these words? -Unumgänglich -Unvermeidlich

1 Answer 1


Well they're spelled differently, aren't they? ;-)

Talking about meaning, unvermeidlich means unavoidable, unumgänglich in a literal sense means something like "un-circumvent-able", i.e. it can't be circumvented, there is no way around it. So effectively, they mean the same thing. I can't think of a sentence where I get an actually different meaning when I replace one by the other. I would choose them based on whether "umgehen" or "vermeiden" fits the situation better.

  • I'm pretty sure "uncircumventable" isn't a word in English. It's interesting that an entire phrase in English, "there's no getting around it" can be translated as a single word in German.
    – RDBury
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 14:26
  • I know -- it was supposed to be a literal translation, that's what I tried to convey with the quotes. I'll try to make that clearer.
    – HalvarF
    Commented Aug 3, 2022 at 14:49
  • Sorry, I didn't mean to be critical. The meaning is clear enough, it's just not "proper" English. You can make up words like this in English, but it's informal or reserved for technical jargon. I guess it's much more acceptable in German, but new words are being added to English all the time and this kind of thing is probably the source of many of them.
    – RDBury
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 10:10

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