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7 Ways to Say Friend in German – From Formal to Slang

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“A friend in need is a friend indeed” – this and many other sayings illustrate the importance of friendships around the world. In German we say “Freundschaft ist des Lebens Salz” (friendships are the salt of life). Have you ever wondered how to say friend in German? We’ll show you 7 different ways of saying friend in German and dive deeper into the different situations in which you use it.

Friend in German at a Glance

German

English

Freund/Freundin

Friend

Kumpel

Friend/Pal

Bruder

Friend/Brother

Kollege

Friend/Colleague

Alter

Dude/Bro

Bekannter/Bekannte

Acquaintence/Friend

Fremder/Fremde

Stranger

All the Ways to Say Friend in German

Friend in German Women Friends Laughing

Freund/Freundin

You might have guessed it, Freund/Freundin is the most common word to say friend in German. While Freund refers to the male form, Freundin refers to the female form. Freund/Freundin describes a close friendly relationship with the person.

Be careful, Freund/Freundin can also mean boyfriend or girlfriend. This is most often the case when it’s accompanied by the pronoun mein. Mein Freund/meine Freundin can also mean my boyfriend/girlfriend. To avoid confusion, use ein Freund for male and eine Freundin for a female. It simply means “a friend” and it will be clear you’re only referring to a platonic friend.

Kumpel

Kumpel , a gender-neutral word to refer to a friend or a pal, is used in informal contexts. It describes a relationship just as close as Freund/Freundin but is most often used among a younger male demographic.

Bruder

Bruder in German means brother, but it is also a way of referring to a close friend. It is used in an informal context and generally among young people. It is only used between boys and men.

Kollege

The word Kollege can both mean friend in the same way that Kumpel does or it can mean your actual work colleague. You will know through the context of the conversation whether the person refers to a friend or a work colleague.

Alter

Young Germans use Alter to refer to their friends and acquaintances in very casual settings. It’s German slang used in a similar way you would use mean mate, dude, or bro. It’s very colloquial and usually only used by younger people.

Bekannter/Bekannte

A Bekannter/Bekannte is simply an acquaintance with whom you don’t have much of a relationship at all.

Fremder/Fremde

A Fremder/Fremde is an actual stranger. When you have never met someone before, use Fremde/Fremder, when you have seen someone before but haven’t established a relationship, use Bekannte/Bekannter

Read next: 10 Ways to Say How Are You in German and How to Respond

How to say my friend in German?

The literal translation for my friend in German is mein Freund for a male and meine Freundin for a female. But as we mentioned, it is usually meant to refer to a romantic partner like a boyfriend or girlfriend. girlfriend.

There are a few ways to introduce your platonic friend to a group of people, without there being any awkward misunderstandings. The most foolproof way is to add say eine Freundin Von Mir, which translates to “a friend of mine”.

German

Das ist Anja, eine Freundin von mir

English

That’s Anja, a friend of mine.

Levels of Friendship in German

Not all friends are equally close to us, and the following German adjectives can help you classify your friends from acquaintances to bosom bodies.

GermanEnglish
Ein guter Freund/eine gute Freundin A good friend
Ein bester Freund/eine beste Freundin A best friend
Ein enger Freund/eine enge Freundin A close friend
Ein dicker Freund/eine dicke Freundin A great friend
Ein alter Freund/eine alte Freundin An old friend
Ein besonderer Freund/eine besondere Freundin A special friend

Conclusion

Freund is the most common word for saying friend in German and when you are unsure about the formality of the situation, it is your go-to expression. Spice it up by using a fun adjective to further describe the relationship. Most people would agree that Germans aren’t the easiest people to befriend, they aren’t as warm and chatty as others but once you have a German friend, they are in your life to stay.

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