I know that weben means to weave or to spin. But no such word as durchwebt. Source: Wie Amazon die Cloud durchwebt

  • 1
    It's referring to the English term the web using it at as verb and adding the prefix durch- (meaning to go through).
    – Em1
    Jul 9, 2013 at 14:10
  • Thank you. And how would you translate the whole thing: Wie Amazon die Cloud durchwebt?
    – user3097
    Jul 9, 2013 at 14:13
  • Perhaps I say "to web through", perhaps I wouldn't translate at all but rather came up with something invented on my own.
    – Em1
    Jul 9, 2013 at 14:17
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    Can anyone substantiate the claim that the author refers to "the web" in any way?! I don't see it, although I don't want to rule out the possibility of a word play entirely. Still, it's not very obvious how someone would come to that conclusion by the mere use of a word that has a very specific meaning in German even without the connotation of "the web" meaning "das Netz" (English: "the net"). Thanks. Jul 10, 2013 at 1:37

5 Answers 5


This is a play on words that won't work in English.

On the one hand, the author is referring to the web as in world wide web.

On the other, he/she is using the German word "durchweben", which refers to weaving, specifically adding special (usually gold) thread to produce decorative, precious cloth. In English, this would be "shot through (with gold)". I suppose the author is ignoring the "precious" aspect here, and instead focuses on the fact that these threads are spread all through the fabric - with the implication that this is not entirely welcome only becoming clear in the context of privacy protection.

Edit: Also, he/she may well be playing with the association of a spider sitting in a corner and sneakily spinning its threads to catch unsuspecting prey - a rather obvious connection in this context :)

So as far as I can see, what the author is aiming at is something like:

"How Amazon spins its sticky threads all through the cloud."

  • 1
    Thank you, sir. German is quite a nuanced language, isn't it? I see, as I learn more and more about it, that they, in their own language, can wax philosophical even when they are speaking about the Internet. Truly fascinating, indeed...
    – user3097
    Jul 9, 2013 at 14:59
  • 1
    @im.broglio: You're right, German can be quite nuanced - although it doesn't offer as much opportunity for puns and play on words as English :)
    – Mac
    Jul 10, 2013 at 8:21

I'm surprised not to find the direct translation for German durchweben in any of the answers thus far, so here you go. The English word is:

  • interweave

That is the direct translation of the German word. It exists both in German and in English, so why not give the translation to explain the meaning.

A possible synonyms (or at least word close in meaning) would be: durchflechten

The particular meaning in the phrase "Wie Amazon die Cloud durchwebt" would be closer to "How (much) Amazon penetrates/pervades/controls the cloud", conveying that it was unknown up until now how much influence Amazon has in the area of cloud services. So from that perspective I am with falkb and his/her answer that the meaning is closest to "pervade" (also upvoted for that very reason).

The term "cloud" referring to something that existed for quite a while under a number of acronyms (such as SOAP) but is a prime example of brandwashing and Marketingese.

Oh and one more note concerning the connection to "the web". I'm sorry, but I can't see that. It cannot be ruled out, but I don't see anything in the text that substantiates there is a wordplay intended here with "the web" (as in the user-facing part of the Internet), commonly shortened to "das Netz" in German (and a literal translation of "the web").

Wordplays mostly play on the pronunciation, especially across languages, and this simply wouldn't work with "the web". If you would write the pronunciation of "web" for a German native speaker would end up as "Wepp", where the "e" is a short vowel and the "pp" is a plosive. Whereas the German verb "weben" is a long "e" and a proper "b" (not a plosive).

So I would hold it's not a wordplay, even though I cannot rule it out with 100% certainty.


"Durchweben" is a compound of "durch-through" and "weben-weave". It means to extend a web, so that it becomes ubiquitous without being perceivable.

I would translate it rather freely as

How Amazon silently becomes the Cloud's shadow emperor

(maybe a bit flowery)

  • I think you nailed the meaning, although there is a multitude of possibilities to convey the meaning with a different wording. +1 Jul 10, 2013 at 1:38

It's meant in the sense of to pervade sth. Weaving a web, and durch is meant as all over it.


Yet another answer. To me the German one has a naturalistic tone to some extend, a tone that contradicts the cold technological world of the internet.

How Amazon spins its webbing throughout the cloud/web.

I think durchweben is not necessarily negative. I haven't read the whole article but I think translations like "dominate" may add something that isn't there. However, if there is indeed this focus in the article a title could be:

How Amazon slowly clouds the cloud/web.

How Amazons webbing clouds the net.

How Amazons ever growing webbing nets the cloud.

How Amazon nets the web with its cloud.

How Amazon casts a net all over the web.

and so on.

  • While you are correct that "durchweben" does not have negative connotations per se, the article contextualizes it with at least a sceptical tendency. It plays with the Germans' favorite sentiment, the fear of the unknown, by opening with references to the latest revelations on data interception and eavesdropping. Additionally some of your translations do not really grasp the topic, which is the inscrutable mass hosting of data and applications in Amazon's cloud system S3, so cloud/web are not interchangeable in this context. It is about data security and control.
    – bouscher
    Jul 10, 2013 at 11:29
  • Well, that may be right but which cloud exactly is Amazon durchweben then, if not the web? The Microsoft cloud? What is the cloud anyway if not the web... I don't really know but I have an inkling that the author did use "cloud" in sense of web in the headline. Amazon has its own cloud if you will but why would it need to durchweben what it has woven itself.
    – Emanuel
    Jul 10, 2013 at 17:02
  • Haha, well said, but no, cloud and web are not at all synonymous, just like www or web, if you will, and internet are no synonyms. The www is a system of hypertext documents that is accessible via the internet. The cloud is first of all a business model. The article's tendency is that Amazon might strife towards a monopole over cloud services, because more and more available cloud services like dropbox are just mere clients for amazon's S3.
    – bouscher
    Jul 10, 2013 at 20:51
  • To pinpoint the meaning, I think it crucial to get a very clear grasp of the concepts at hand, otherwise it's just a shot in the dark.
    – bouscher
    Jul 10, 2013 at 20:57

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