I came across a German sentence that made me pause.

Fehler bei vorherig. Install.

It is intended to be the translation for an error message that says: "Error on prior install"

Is "vorherig." a proper abbreviation for "vorherigen" in this situation?

Personally, I would have written, "Fehler bei vorherigen Installation," but then I realized that it might be a way of abbreviating the sentence.

  • 1
    vorh. will do. Or use voriger.
    – Janka
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 19:16
  • 1
    As a side note, the full sentence would need to be either "Fehler bei der vorherigen Installation" or "Fehler bei vorheriger Installation". The first is the "completely correct" version, the second is already some kind of shorted. You'll find the latter for example in a headline, or in short messages like in your scenario. Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


It's not a "proper" abbreviation in the sense of "commonly used". I don't think there is one for vorheriger. Same is true for Install. as an abbreviation for Installation.

I see how these came to be. The German translation is obviously much longer than the English text, there probably wasn't enough space on the UI, so they made up abbreviations that were as unambiguous as possible while just fitting the space. I have done similar things.

As Janka states in a comment, voriger would have been a good/better alternative (if the previous installation is what is meant). The abbreviation vorh. is ambiguous, I would normally understand it to mean vorhanden.

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