What is the equivalent of "boyfriend" in German?

  • In English when a man is in a relationship with another man, he can say he's his boyfriend. In German, saying "Freund" when both are of the same sex is usually understood to mean the equivalent of "friend", not implying a relationship. Same goes for women.

    Is there a german word for this?

    Note that you can say *Kumpel* (*fellow*, *buddy*) to avoid ambiguity when referring to a *friend*.

    But you usually wouldn't call a girl like that.

    @Geziefer Correct, then you can take *Kumpeline* :D

    You imply not to have a relationship if you call somebody your friend?

    How about "Geliebter"?

    A good friend of mine "came out" a few years ago by introducing his boyfriend to me and a few others by saying "Das ist mein Freund" (this is _my_ friend). This was understood by everyone, no special emphasis needed. Someone else is just "ein Freund" (_a_ friend). They are happily married by now (not in Germany though ...)

    @Em1: Kumpel hat man in erster Linie unter Tage. Ich würde keinen meiner Freunde als Kumpel bezeichnen und mir deplaziert vorkommen, als Kumpel bezeichnet zu werden.

    @userunknown, der Begriff *Kumpel* mag zwar aus dem Bergbau stammen, aber meiner Meinung Nach ist er schon lange auch im allgemeinen Sprachgebrauch etabliert, um gute Freunde zu bezeichnen. Wenn man zwei Personen als *dicke Kumpel* bezeichnet, geht sicher niemand davon aus, dass sie unter Tage arbeiten.

    @Gerhardh: Kumpel hat dennoch eine Bedeutung, die den Begriff in vielen Situationen als Ersatz für Freund ungeeignet macht. Dicker Kumpel hat wiederum seine ganz eigene Bedeutung. Als Respektsperson des öffentlichen Lebens hat man Freunde. Mit dem Kumpel zieht man nachts durch die Kneipen und haut sich sportlich auf die Schulter.

  • Basically there is no distinction, which sometimes makes it difficult to understand.

    So when I say Das ist meine Freundin it's not obvious whether she is my girlfriend or just a friend.

    Usually people then say something like Das ist eine Freundin (von mir) for the 2nd case.

    Concerning the same sex - a colleague of mine is homosexual and when I speak of his Freund it's not obvious for others that I mean his boyfriend.

    So, German pretty much lacks a word here...

    It is easy and unambigous though if you refer to your _best friend_: "bester Freund"/"beste Freunding". This clearly does not refer to your boy-/girlfriend.

    I sometimes hear Germans speaking German and using the English words by/girl-friend to refer to a partner and the German words for "just good friends".

    German has the term "Lebensgefährte" for exactly this occasion, this answer is misleading.

    @Polygnome But this word isn't used by anyone <30 years old.

    @Mawg when my german friend talks to me (in English), she said something like "a girlfriend of me..." which i think literally she means "eine Freundin von mir..."

  • A boyfriend could be called »fester Freund«, a girlfriend »feste Freundin«.

    There is also the term Partner (Partnerin) or, to clarify that it’s not a business partner, Lebenspartner (Lebenspartnerin). Another term is Lebensgefährte (Lebensgefährtin).

    "Gender-neutral" is the wrong word: There are the clearly female forms "Partnerin" and "Lebensgefährtin". "Schatz" would be gender-neutral, because it remains the same whether your "Schatz" is male or female.

    @elena: As far as I know »Partner« and »Gefährte« are 'generisch maskulin'. So if someone says »Da kommt mein Partner« it is not 100% clear whether it's a male or a female person. You can only be sure if it is a female person *and* the speaker uses the female form. But the speaker doesn't have to use it. If the »Partner« is a female person it would be still correct to say »Da kommt mein Partner«. But I see that "gender-neutral" is not the right term for it, because a female form can be used.

    @unor... how did you manage to write the alinea 1 ? special combination of character ?

    @StephaneRolland: It depends on your operating system and/or keyboard layout. On Gnome (GNU/Linux) I can type it with `Alt Gr` + `1`. You can find a list of some subscript/superscript characters on Wikipedia. Feel free to ask a question on Superuser, where it can be discussed in more detail.

    @unor, if the partner is a female person and is just approaching, it would NOT be correct to say "Da kommt mein Partner." To a native speaker of German "Partner" in this context is male. If I see a woman approaching and the person next to me says "Da kommt mein Partner", I would not clock that it's the woman they're talking about.

    @teylyn: I agree that in this case it would be _unusual_ not to use the feminine form. But afaik it would be strictly considered correct. In other situations it might become more clear: "Jeder darf seinen Partner mitbringen" (most _wouldn't_ think that only male partners are welcome). Even clearer with the plural: a boy that says "meine bisherigen Partner" (instead of "Partnerinnen") doesn't _necessarily_ mean only male partners. –– http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generisches_Maskulinum

  • The only correct answer is: no. Both friend and boyfriend are "Freund" in German, and this often causes confusion.

    While "Freund" can be attributed to make things clearer, as in `er ist mein bester Freund` (`he's my best friend`) or `sie ist meine feste Freundin` (`she's my girlfriend`). Also, the use of the article/personal pronoun can add a meaning: `er ist ein Freund` (`he's a friend`) versus `er ist mein Freund` (`he's my boyfriend`).

  • German does not have a single word for this - and in fact, this isn't as easy to express as in english.

    In german, when you say

    Das ist mein(e) Freund(in)

    most people will assume its your boyfriend/girlfriend.

    However, if you say

    Das ist ein(e) Freund(in) (von mir)

    then most people will understand its just a friend, not your boyfriend/girlfriend.

    So the difference is in mein(e)/ein(e), which makes it a bit hard to grasp.


    With same-sex relationships, its not that easy. Most people will simply not assume you are gay/lesbian, unless you came out to them before.

    You can, however, use other terms to refer to your boyfriend/gilfriend.
    While young people (teens mostly) will prefer "Freund(in)", adults often use Partner(in) or Lebensgefährt(e/in) to describe their romantic partner.
    This works very well for same-sex partnerships, too, and is in fact what I'd recommend using. If a male person introduces someone as his "Lebengefährte", its quite damn clear what he meant. No confusions. Same applies for female and "Lebensgefährtin".

    Its also clear if you talk about other persons. If you have a gay friend and talk about his "Lebensgefährte", everyone will understand. If you talk about his "Freund", not so much.

    Even partner can be ambiguous (if used in a setting with a business aspect).

    @Peter-ReinstateMonica If you are in a business context and need to make in unambiguous, you can use Lebensgefährte/in.

  • As a gay man who has close German relatives I refer to my boyfriend with them (so for introductions or clarification) as Liebesfreund (implying a romantic relationship) versus referring to male friends of mine as ein Freund.

    _Mein lieber Freund X_ will be understood as _my dear friend X_, so it’s actually not a good option.

    Welcome! Making up words like *Liebesfreund* may work and even be charming, but I understood the question as being about German as spoken by Germans ;)

    @carsten yeah I was looking for words germans use primarily. But I am open for creative word combinations aswell. "Liebesfreund".. I have never heard it, but it sounds interesting

    @JohannesSchaub-litb, I was trying to say that this is BS and be nice about it.

    Or «Intimfreund», but this is probably TMI for many people.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM