Examples (two from this site):

  • Er ist komisch eher weltfremd.
  • Man belächelte seinen Vorschlag als weltfremd.
  • Purismus aus Prinzip ist weltfremd

What is the meaning?

Dictionaries give varied translations - such as "absurd", "sheltered", "unworldly" - some of which are no less confusing. I suspect that "naive" could be closest to the reality (no pun intended).

  • This is one of those German words that are difficult to translate to English. "weltfremd" is the opposite of being grounded in reality.
    – user6495
    May 3, 2023 at 4:41
  • 1
    In part, the definition is in the word itself. *Welt*="world", *fremd*="strange/foreign/external". This looks like a good time to use a usage database; see quotes from Die ZEIT.
    – RDBury
    May 3, 2023 at 9:58

2 Answers 2


I'm not aware of a good single-word translation, but the meaning clearly is

decoupled from reality

In the best case it means for a proposal a bit too theoretical to work (which may acknowledge some positive aspect covered) in the worst case this ignores some obvious facts (and could be meant as an insult).

  • funnily enough, the person who called someone else "weltfremd" said that because they (the one speaking) were insisting COVID was over... while coughing out all their lungs. May 3, 2023 at 9:52
  • That's a wrong use of that expession anyway. Should be schizophren.
    – Janka
    May 3, 2023 at 10:21

Weltfremd means it comes right from the ivory tower. It may be sound but it's not applicable in the real word. That's the difference to naive which means that there hasn't been put too much thought into it.

Weltfremd is often used when human factors or the resources at hand of the people who have to implement it are not considered.

A weltfremd person is someone who lives in their very own ivory tower.


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