German word of the day: Herrklären

Raphael Henry
Raphael Henry - [email protected] • 8 Mar, 2023 Updated Wed 8 Mar 2023 17:07 CEST
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Here's why Herrklären is the best German word to never really exist.


This verb is a clever piece of German wordplay, formed from the verb erklären, meaning ‘to explain’, and the noun Herr, which means sir, gentleman or Mr.

Herrklären, as you might have guessed, translates to the colloquial English term ‘mansplaining’, which is when a person (usually a man) is explaining something in a patronising or condescending way to someone (often a woman) who already knows about it.

This verb also gives us the noun die Herrklärung, or ‘the mansplaining’.

As wonderful as this word is, however, it was never widely popular, with its occasional use by German newspapers the only real evidence that it exists at all.

The difference between Herrklären and Erklären might be perfectly clear on paper, but it is much more difficult to hear this difference in conversation.

Because of this, many German speakers found it easier to just import the English word into German, and so you are much more likely to hear das Mansplaining than die Herrklärung.



Warum herrklärst/mansplainst du meinen Computer? Ich weiß, wie es funktioniert!

Why are you mansplaining my computer? I know how it works!

Dieser Journalist hat gerade Mansplaining gemansplaint…

This journalist just mansplained mansplaining…



Raphael Henry 2023/03/08 17:07

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