Verschlimmbesserung (German)

A supposed improvement that makes things worse.


  • Posted by Thomas

    Wiktionary suggests “disimprovement” as a translation.

  • Posted by Shomarri

    Sounds like something I’ve done.

  • Posted by Daniel

    There’s also verb to it: “verschlimmbessern”.

    According to the Langenscheidt Dictionary “Handwörterbuch Deutsch-Englisch” it translates to “to disimprove” or “to make an even worse job of…”

  • Posted by I Created a New Word For Little League Parents | Not-For-Profit Dad

    [...] team in the field I cobbled together a new German word — because if they can have words like Verschlimmbesserung (a supposed improvement that actually makes things worse) and Fingerspitzengefühl (the ability to [...]

  • Posted by Verschlimmbesserung | Blog It or Lose It!

    […] Verschlimmbesserung (German) Something which is supposedly an improvement, but actually makes things worse. […]

  • Posted by Taliesin

    Isn’t this rather similar to “Bärendienst”? (or “bjørnetjeneste” or “karuteene” or “медвежья услуга” or… – there is a phrase meaning “bears favour” in quite a number of languages)

  • Posted by richard c

    I came upon this word while looking for a word to describe a situation where one’s actions intended to prevent harm cause greater harm – rather than a conscious effort to improve that backfires, eg. penicillin given for minor, self limiting infection that kills through adverse reaction. Or, in my own case, where I attempted to stop a china mug falling off the draining board, smashed it against the one I was holding at the time and sliced open my finger. Neither mug survived. So far, barring a reaction to the penicillin, I have. Is there any improvement (or dismimprovement) on verschlimmbesserung?

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