Sorry! Search is currently unavailable while the database is being updated, it will be back in 5 mins!

"And" & "Or" in a Single Word 

One of my favorite German words took me a long time to learn to pronounce and even longer to properly understand. The word beziehungsweise not only has a fairly complex meaning, but it is also so long that in most cases people abbreviate the written form as bzw


Often beziehungsweise is translated simply as "or": 


Einen Wohnwagen beziehungsweise eine Hütte bekommt man ab

You get a trailer or a hut from

fünfundfünfzig Euro.

fifty-five euros.

Caption 33, Berlin - Indoor-Camping im „Hüttenpalast“

 Play Caption


So why not simply say oder ("or") instead of the longer beziehungsweise? One reason is that the latter often goes more in-depth than just saying "or."  You may want to rent either a trailer or a hut, or perhaps both a trailer and hut. Beziehungsweise is thus often translated as "respectively" too:


Sobald beziehungsweise

As soon as, or respectively,

erst wenn der Antrag gemäß Artikel fünfzig

only when the motion in accordance with Article Fifty

der EU-Verträge vorliegt.

of the EU Treaties is submitted.

Captions 17-18, Brexit-Votum - Merkel warnt vor Spaltung Europas

 Play Caption


Sometimes beziehungsweise is used to narrow down a meaning and in this case is translated as "more specifically": 


Damit man dieses Geld auch bekommt,

In order to receive this money,

benötigt man ein Bankkonto beziehungsweise ein Girokonto.

you need a bank account, more specifically a checking account.

Captions 7-8, Eva erklärt - Bankkonten

 Play Caption



Further Learning
So whether you are learning German for fun or (beziehungsweise) for business — perhaps both, right? — this is a good word to have in your active vocabulary. Although it is not usually translated as such, for me it helped to think of the word as the "and/or" that you sometimes see in English. Take a look at examples  of beziehungsweise in context on Yabla German.

You May Also Like