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Complete orthographic dictionary of the German language, 1st edition, 1880
Duden, Orthographic Dictionary , 3rd edition, 1887

The Duden is a spelling dictionary of the German language . The work was first published on July 7, 1880 by Konrad Duden as a complete orthographic dictionary of the German language and in the following decades became the basis for a uniform German spelling . From the end of 1955 until the reform of German spelling in 1996 , the Duden was decisive for official spelling in Germany . In the meantime, it is created “on the basis of the current official spelling rules” of the Council for German Spelling .

In the 20th century, Dudenverlag developed a series of other specialist dictionaries and a grammar, which also appeared under the title Duden ; der Rechtschreibduden is the first part of this series.

Publisher and place of publication

The Duden is published as a book and in electronic formats by the Bibliographisches Institut publishing house . In spring 2013 the publishing house moved from its Mannheim location to Berlin-Alt-Treptow . Only the language technology division remained in Mannheim, but it was closed in 2014 "due to insufficient success".

History of the spelling man

100 years of Konrad Duden's spelling dictionary: comparative view of the Duden dictionary from around 1880 and 1980 on a 1980 stamp

Schleizer Duden (1872) and Urduden (1880)

In 1872 Konrad Duden published his treatise The German Spelling with the BG Teubner publishing house in Leipzig . A dictionary and spelling rules for school use were already included with the work. This later so-called Schleizer Duden - the author was then director of a grammar school in Schleiz - had a decisive influence on the spelling debate in Germany and became the template for the following orthographic dictionaries.

Eight years later - Konrad Duden had meanwhile switched to the high school in Hersfeld as headmaster - the first edition of his main work appeared, later referred to by the publisher as "Urduden": on July 7, 1880, the Complete Orthographic Dictionary of the German Language was published by Bibliographisches Verlag Institute published in Leipzig . This first "Duden" collected 27,000 headwords on 187 pages, and the Duden subsequently established itself as a spelling reference work throughout the German Empire ; from 1892 its spellings became binding in Switzerland .

2-6 Edition (1881–1900)

A second edition has not survived as a printed work. It is believed that the 1882 reprint was counted as such. The following editions were also published by Dudenverlag. From the 3rd edition (1887) onwards, Konrad Duden also included etymological information and explanations of foreign words in the dictionary; From the 4th edition (1893) onwards, this extension was also reflected in the title: Complete orthographic dictionary of the German language - with etymological information, brief explanations and the Germanization of foreign words . With the same title as the 4th edition, the 5th edition was published in 1897 and the 6th edition in 1900.

7-12 Edition (1901–1942)

Duden , 11th edition, 1934

The II. Orthographic Conference , which met in Berlin from June 17 to 19, 1901 , at which discussions on the uniformity of German spelling were to take place with Konrad Duden's participation , essentially confirmed the official Prussian school rules and the "Urduden" with its orthography rules . These resolutions were implemented in the course of 1902 by the then Federal Council as well as by the Austrian Reichsrat and Switzerland. In the same year, the 7th edition of Dudens, which was adapted to the resolutions, appeared - in addition to Konrad Duden, an editorial team was also involved for the first time.

The 8th edition appeared in 1905. After Konrad Duden's death in 1911, the Duden editorial team took over the continuation of the work. The 9th edition was published in 1915 with the title Duden - Spelling of the German Language and Foreign Words , and the 10th edition in 1929 with the title Der Große Duden - Spelling of the German Language and Foreign Words.

In the 11th edition from 1934, in contrast to the 10th edition from 1929, for example, the expressions Volksgemeinschaft, Volksschädling and Volks- und Staatsfeind can be found in the dictionary, in the alphabetical position of the word Volksfreund there is now Volksfeind and the word Volksentscheid is no longer recorded , but reappears from the 12th edition in 1941. According to a count by Cornelia Schmitz-Berning for the Federal Agency for Civic Education , the 11th edition contains 180 and the 12th edition 883 new Nazi expressions, most of which are no longer listed since the 13th edition (1947).

The last Duden printed in Gothic script was published in 1941 as the 12th edition. By order of Reichsleiter Bormann , the Gothic script was no longer to be used. Since 1942 (also 12th edition, same content) the Duden has been published exclusively in Antiqua . To help those who write the broken script, the final s (round s) was underlined, all others are long s . In the decades that followed, German spelling was de facto further developed by the Dudens editorial offices in Leipzig and Mannheim.

13-19 Edition (1947–1991)

Big ß , GDR Duden, 15th edition, 1957
GDR Duden, 16th edition, 1969
GDR Duden, 17th edition, 1981

After the Second World War , the Duden tradition was continued in Leipzig at the VEB Bibliographisches Institut and later also in Mannheim at the private publisher Bibliographisches Institut AG (East and West Duden). In 1947, the 13th edition in Leipzig was the first post-war publication, for which West German, Austrian and Swiss publishers were also given the right to reprint. On this basis, the West German Bibliographical Institute published its own revised (14th) edition in 1954. It no longer contained the marking of the final s, which is still done in the West.

The East German edition (14th) published in 1951 is in Antiqua with correctly set long s (and ß). In the 15th (1957) and 16th editions (1967) the underlining system is used again, which only disappears with the 17th edition (1975).

Otherwise the two Duden editions differed, from now on, mainly in the choice of words. Socialist terms were found in Ostduden, while in West Duden new everyday West German terms were added. In West Germany, at the beginning of the 1950s, some publishers attacked the de facto Duden monopoly by publishing dictionaries with different spellings. Thereupon the education ministers of the West German federal states declared the Duden by a resolution of November 1955 to be binding in all orthographic cases of doubt, which was only repealed in 1996 with the resolution to introduce a new spelling .

The Leipzig Duden editorial team, which sees itself in historical tradition, tried to publish a dictionary that was as apolitical as possible in the 1960s in order to prevent a split in spelling in Germany. For example, the Leipzig Duden from 1965, 20 years after the end of the war and 16 years after the two German states were founded, only contained the word "Germany". "GDR" and "BRD" or "Federal Republic" are missing. The neutral declaration “Capital of Germany” appears under the entry “Berlin”. Towards the end of the 1960s, however, the Leipzig Duden was increasingly shaped by socialist terms. In general, innovations in Ostduden were implemented more cautiously than in West Duden. New word creations, especially from the youth language, can be found almost exclusively in West Dude.

For a long time, words such as world travel , coup d'état and other delicate terms were missing in the GDR Duden ; these can be found for the first time in the 18th edition, which appeared in 1985 (this was also the last revision of the GDR Duden). At that time, the cruise was also included . Crude words like fuck and ass-creep can also be found for the first time in this edition, as well as the newly discovered disease AIDS . Furthermore, despite the political division, the everyday vocabulary of the entire German-speaking area was shown in the GDR Duden, including Austria and Switzerland. However, the explanation was not "Southern German", for example, but "S BRD" (for "common in the south of the FRG"). Numerous cities in West Germany were also listed, including places such as the Reeperbahn and Sankt Pauli , expressly as streets or districts of Hamburg. This may be due to the fact that both entries were already listed in the Duden before the war. Also Chemnitz ( "formerly Karl-Marx-Stadt") and from 1946 to 1952 existing countries (for example, Sachsen-Anhalt ) were recorded. Berlin was defined in the GDR Duden as the “capital of the GDR”, while West Berlin stood as an “independent political unit”.

The Bibliographical Institute in Leipzig, however, not only limited its survey activity to the language used in the GDR, but also explicitly took into account Austriaticisms and Helvetisms in addition to the West German language use . To this end, one corresponded by letter with individuals from literature and science in Austria and Switzerland, who could send in their additions before each new edition. In Austria, these were most recently Ernst Pacolt and Otto Langbein, both of whom had worked on the Austrian dictionary for many years since 1951 .

On the one hand, the Duden editors took a conservative approach to revisions, considering it their primary task to document the prevailing linguistic usage in the dictionary . On the other hand, they developed ever finer ramifications in the set of rules to clarify ever new cases of doubt. However, the spelling rules of 1901 remained the basis until the reform in 1996 .

20th edition ( Einheitsduden , 1991)

The 20th edition of Dudens (according to Leipzig counting: 19th revision) of August 26, 1991, the last edition before the spelling reform of 1996, was of particular importance . This edition has also become known under the title Einheitsduden , as the two German Duden (the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany (before 1990) ) were brought together again. The Bibliographisches Institut & F. A. Brockhaus AG publishing group took over the Bibliographisches Institut in Leipzig.

21st edition ( Reformduden , 1996)

With the spelling reform of 1996, the so-called Duden monopoly was broken. The Duden is no longer decisive, but the official spelling regulation itself. This means that the Duden is no longer the only decisive set of spelling rules and alternative dictionaries that represent the official spelling regulation, such as As the Wahrig -Rechtschreibwörterbuch from the Bertelsmann publishing house, basically have the same status.

The 21st edition of the Dudens was preceded by the brochure Informations zur neue Deutschen Spelling (1994), in which the Dudenverlag presented the resolutions of the Vienna Orthography Conference of November 1994 to a wide audience. Two years later, in the 21st edition, the rewritings were shown in red. The official regulations were printed in an appendix.

22nd edition (2000)

Duden , 22nd edition, 2000

In the 22nd edition, Reformed and traditional spelling were recorded simultaneously. The errors of the 21st edition have been corrected. In addition, information boxes, such as those found in the Bertelsmann spelling dictionary in 1996, added to the text. For the first time, the Duden recorded the words and non-words of the year .

23rd edition (2004)

On August 28, 2004, the 23rd edition of the Duden was available. All changes that had been decided by the Conference of Education Ministers in June 2004 were also recorded in it. In contrast to the previous edition, the editorial staff did not list the traditional spellings. What was new was that female personal designations were included, e.g. B. in addition to Ziegelbrenner also Ziegelbrenner in. Critics, on the other hand, stated that adding -in to the masculine name did not cause any orthographic problems. Proponents found the inclusion of such words useful for reasons of equality for both sexes.

24th edition (2006)

On March 3, 2006, one day after the state ministers of education accepted the proposals of the Council for German Spelling to modify the official German spelling rules, Dudenverlag announced July 22, 2006 as the date of publication for the 24th edition of Dudens . " From the point of view of the Duden editorial team, the decision by the ministers of education will restore the security in questions of orthography that has been demanded by them for years," says the foreword.

The 24th edition comprised around 130,000 keywords on 1,216 pages, including 3,500 new words such as bread roll button , e-passport , job center , plasma television and weblog .

What was new was that a spelling was recommended for officially approved variants, the so-called Duden recommendation, e.g. B. eighties instead eighties, fantasy takes imagination, ice cream instead of ice cream or ice cream . These recommendations - according to the preface "intended for all those who want to write uniformly in their texts without great effort" - were not without controversy and in part differed from the recommendations of the Wahrig publishing house, for example.

25th edition (2009)

The 25th edition of Dudens appeared on July 21, 2009. It comprised around 135,000 keywords on 1,216 pages, including 5,000 new words such as scrapping bonus , gigaliner , rainbow family and dwarf planet . The two chapters Important Stations from the History of German Orthography (with special consideration of Dudens) and Language in Numbers were also new . Compared to the 21st to 24th edition, the red print of the rules and spellings changed by the spelling reform was dispensed with in the 25th edition and the chapter The official regulation of German spelling was missing .

26th edition (2013)

The 26th edition appeared in 2013. It comprised 1,216 pages with around 140,000 headwords. Around 5,000 words such as energy transition , love lock and QR code have been added . The number of info boxes was increased to 500, the book got two fold-out alphabet registers. For the first time, the printed work was firmly linked to electronic products. Each volume contained a personal access code. If you enter this on a certain website, you can download spelling software for Microsoft Office (only the Windows version) and a dictionary app for iOS and Android .

Although nothing had changed in the underlying set of rules in this regard, the summary in "she comes Tuesday evening", which was consistently included in exactly this use in editions 22 to 25, was no longer listed for the first time. At the same time, the delimitation “she comes Tuesday [on] evening” was given anew. According to Duden online , however, “it comes Tuesday evening” was still valid.

The German Language Association (VDS) criticized the increased inclusion in the Duden of Anglicisms, which in its opinion are not sufficiently well established in the German language . Their use would then be justified by the Duden entry. Against this background, the Duden was chosen by the VDS as the language pioneer of the year 2013.

When asked by the news magazine Der Spiegel, the Duden editorial team rejected the criticism, arguing that it did not make language ( normative linguistics), but objectively ( descriptive linguistics ).

27th edition (2017)

Duden, Volume 1, 27th edition, Berlin 2017

The 27th edition was published on August 9, 2017. 5,000 new words such as traffic light , hyggelig and Späti were added. A total of 145,000 keywords were recorded. The changes to the new official regulations of the Council for German Spelling  from 2017 have been implemented. Among other things, spelling variants such as assistant coach and ex-minister were included and recommended for use. The option to use the capital ß (ẞ) was pointed out. The longest word in the current spelling dictionary was attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at 44 letters . The volume contained the supplement German Spelling in Brief .

28th edition (2020)

The 28th edition was published on August 12, 2020. 300 obsolete words such as "cable message", "chamber maid" or "beweiben" have been deleted and 3,000 new words have been added, including many current ones such as "reproduction number" and "herd immunity" and many anglicisms such as "shutdown", "influencer" and "powerbank" . With 148,000 keywords, it is the most comprehensive edition to date. For the first time, the spelling dictionary contains “information on gender-equitable use of language”, including the gender asterisk with the example of “pupils”.

Further publications

In addition to the main work, the Duden for Spelling, a number of other printed works appeared, each with a special focus. The first printed work in this sense appeared in 1903. Other publications were partly connected with new editions, for example a dictionary of medical terms . Below is an overview of these works.

Buchdruckerduden (1903)

In 1903 Konrad Duden published his spelling of the German language book printers , the so-called Buchdruckerduden , with the help of which variants were to be reduced. In the 8th edition of the Dudens, published in 1905, many permitted variants are no longer listed either. In 1915 the 9th edition of the Duden, which integrated the Buchdruckerduden, appeared under the new title Duden - Spelling of the German Language and Foreign Words . With the 9th edition, the contents were taken over into the main work on spelling.

The great dictionary of the German language (1976)

From 1976 a multi-volume dictionary of the German language appeared under the title Duden, The large dictionary of the German language (abbreviated GWDS or GWB). The company was headed by Günther Drosdowski , the processors were Rudolf Köster and Wolfgang Müller. The first edition appeared in 6 volumes between 1976 and 1981. Other editions were:

Since then, further editions have appeared as program versions 4.0 and 5.1 in 2005 and 2011 on CD-ROM under the title Duden - The large dictionary of the German language. The comprehensive documentation of the contemporary German language .

German Universal Dictionary (1983)

From 1983 a dictionary of the German language appeared under the title Duden, German Universal Dictionary (abbreviated DUW). Editing by Günther Drosdowski, and other employees of the Duden editorial team. The places of publication were Mannheim, Leipzig, Vienna and Zurich. Expenses were:

Duden Computer Science (1988)

Since 1988 the Duden Informatik has been published as a subject dictionary for studies and practice / ed. from the editing of the BI-Wiss.-Verl. under the direction of Hermann Engesser. Edited by Volker Claus and Andreas Schwill. Expenses were:

Computer programs (2003)

Since 2003, Duden has also been offered for use on PCs with the Duden library software (predecessor: PC library , office library ) , initially available for the Linux and Mac OS X operating systems, and since 2005 also for Microsoft Windows . With the 23rd edition, media with pronunciation aids for difficult words appeared.

With the Duden spell checker ( Duden Korrektor ) there is an extended spelling, style and grammar correction for word processing in MS Office and LibreOffice / OpenOffice , for Adobe InDesign (since August 2007), Papyrus (since December 2007) and TextMaker (since November 2011). With the Duden Korrektor Starterbox , the publisher has also released a correction program with its own text editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Known requirements:

The Duden spell checker has been maintained and further developed by EPC since 2013 .

Duden family names (2005)

The history of the origins of 20,000 names, the species, variety of forms, frequency, peculiarities and other aspects were written down.

Duden online (2011)

On May 2, 2011, Duden online, the fee-based Duden online search, was replaced by a free offer that brings together Duden dictionary content online and z. B. compound words , images and inflection tables for keywords. The decision was justified with corresponding free internet offers from competitors such as Pons , canoonet and Wiktionary . It is important to be "number one online when it comes to the German language". In 2019, the online offer contains over 236,000 entries. Since then, users have been able to search for the word using key points on the duden.de website.

Duden in twelve volumes (2017)

In addition to the spelling dictionary, the Bibliographisches Institut publishes various special and technical dictionaries under the name Duden , as well as the Duden grammar .

As of 2017, the work appears in twelve volumes, with which various specialist areas are covered:

tape title Edition appearance
Product types
book E-book Software
software Media
1 The German spelling 27. 2017 Yes No Yes No Yes Android / iOS
2 The style dictionary 10. 2017 Yes Yes Yes No No Android / iOS
3 The picture dictionary 7th 2018 Yes Yes No No No No
4th The grammar 9. 2016 Yes Yes No No No No
5 The foreign dictionary 11. 2015 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Android / iOS
6th The pronunciation dictionary 7th 2015 Yes No No No No No
7th The dictionary of origin 5. 2014 Yes No Yes No No Android / iOS
8th The dictionary of synonyms 7th 2019 Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
9 The dictionary of linguistic cases of doubt 8th. 2016 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
10 The dictionary of meanings 5. 2018 Yes Yes Yes No No No
11 Idioms 4th 2013 Yes No No No No No
12 Quotes and sayings 5. 2019 Yes Yes No No No No
  1. Year of publication according to the directory of available books
  2. The media package consists of a book and software
  3. (in) apps that can be purchased separately
  4. a b Only available in / as a media package
  5. The media package also contains the correction software Duden - The Spell Checker

See also



  • Dudenredaktion (Hrsg.): The German orthography. Based on the current official spelling rules. Duden, Volume 1. 26th, completely revised and expanded edition. Dudenverlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-411-04016-2 (with download code for PC software and smartphone app).
  • Dudenredaktion (Ed.): Volksduden. That's how we write correctly! The folk dictionary for German spelling. With an electronic spell checker for your PC . Dudenverlag, Mannheim / Zurich 2012, ISBN 978-3-411-02717-0 ( BILD special edition; book + 1 CD-ROM).


  • History and Achievement of the Dudens ed. from the Bibliographical Institute. With contribution from Dieter Berger. Bibliographisches Institut Mannheim, Mannheim 1968.
  • Günther Drosdowski: The Duden: History and task of an unusual book. Dudenverlag, Mannheim / Leipzig / Vienna / Zurich 1996, ISBN 3-411-06172-3 .
  • Derya Gür-Șeker: Der Duden - a dictionary family in the context of the German dictionary landscape at the turn of the 20th to the 21st century. In: Ulrike Haß (ed.): Large encyclopedias and dictionaries of Europe , De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-019363-3 , pp. 491–507.
  • Peter Kühn [together with Ulrich Püschel]: “The Duden is enough for me”. For the use of general and specific German dictionaries. In: Studies on New High German Lexicography II. Ed. By Herbert Ernst Wiegand . Hildesheim / New York 1982, pp. 121–152.
  • Wolfgang Werner Sauer: The "Duden". History and topicality of a “folk dictionary” . J. B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-476-00638-7 .
  • Herbert Ernst Wiegand: Investigations into the commercial lexicography of contemporary German. Volume 1, Verlag Walter de Gruyter, 2013 ( limited preview in the Google book search).

Web links

Commons : Duden  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Duden  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Spelling  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikiquote: Duden  - Quotes

Individual evidence

  1. The German spelling . In: Duden 1-12 . 27th edition. tape 1 . Bibliographisches Institut, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-411-04017-9 (imprint and introduction).
  2. Duden moves to Berlin , boersenblatt.net of April 3, 2013, accessed on December 4, 2014.
  3. Final end for Duden headquarters , boersenblatt.net of August 14, 2013, accessed on August 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Stefan Alles: Entry "Duden, Konrad". Hessian biography. (As of February 25, 2013). In: Landesgeschichtliches Informationssystem Hessen (LAGIS).
  5. Der Urduden , website of the Bibliographisches Institut publishing house, 2013, accessed December 7, 2014.
  6. a b c Editions des Dudens , website of the Bibliographisches Institut publishing house, 2018, accessed on February 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Cornelia Schmitz-Berning: Language and Language Control in National Socialism. In: bpb.de. Federal Agency for Civic Education, October 15, 2010, accessed on June 25, 2019 .
  8. ^ Dieter E. Zimmer: Spelling: The Duden fight against Bertelsmann. In: The time . September 27, 1996, accessed February 3, 2010 .
  9. ^ Ulrich Ammon: The German language in Germany, Austria and Switzerland - The problem of the national varieties. Walter de Gruyter, 1995, ISBN 3-11-014753-X , p. 360 (books.google.at)
  10. ^ Theodor Ickler: The new Duden - The impossible dictionary. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . August 27, 2004, accessed February 3, 2010 .
  11. True: One word - one spelling. Wissen-Media-Verlag, Gütersloh / Munich 2006, ISBN 3-577-07567-8 .
  12. “Vollpfosten” is allowed in, “stick cough” flies. New Duden. Spiegel Online , July 1, 2013, accessed on October 20, 2013 (Duden, Volume 1, 26th edition).
  13. Duden online to "Tuesday evening"
  14. Duden ist Sprachpanscher 2013. (PDF; 6.9 MB) (No longer available online.) In: Sprachnachrichten No. 59 (III / 2013). German Language Association , September 4, 2013, pp. 2, 18 , archived from the original on March 28, 2017 ; Retrieved April 14, 2015 .
  15. Speech protectors punish Duden. Negative price for the spelling Bible. In: Spiegel Online . September 2, 2013, accessed April 14, 2015 .
  16. “5,000 words stronger. The new Duden is here. ”: Press release from the Bibliographical Institute on the publication of the 27th edition. Retrieved June 3, 2020 .
  17. The longest words in Duden. Retrieved July 7, 2019 .
  18. The new dictionary is here!
  19. Knut Cordsen: "Mindfulness Exercise" to "Winkersmiley": The new dictionary is here! In: BR24 . August 12, 2020, accessed August 12, 2020.
  20. The new Duden: 300 old words are missing, three new pages cause debate. Focus Online, August 10, 2020, accessed on August 12, 2020 .
  21. Duden Dictionary of Medical Terms. 3. Edition. Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1979.
  22. Rosa and Volker Kohlheim: Duden family names origin and meaning . Ed .: Bibliographisches Institut & FA Brockhaus AG Verlag = Dudenverlag Mannheim Leipzig Vienna Zurich. Mannheim 2005, ISBN 3-411-70852-2 .
  23. Free start for duden.de! In: Duden online. Bibliographisches Institut GmbH / Dudenverlag, March 31, 2011, accessed on August 12, 2014 .
  24. Ole Reissmann: Free spell check: Does the online Duden pay off? In: Spiegel Online . May 4, 2011, accessed October 20, 2013 .
  25. Information on the online dictionary at duden.de. Retrieved May 27, 2019 .
  26. Duden.de, Publishing History, accessed on September 20, 2017.
  27. Updates according to information from the Duden Shop. Retrieved December 19, 2019 .