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See also: Nutzen and nützen



Alternative forms

  • nützen (overall less common, but usage varies by sense and region; see lemma)



From Middle High German nutzen, nützen, from Old High German nuzzōn, -nuzzen (in ginuzzen), from Proto-Germanic *nutōną, *nutjōną, *nutjaną. Compare modern Nutzen (noun).

The verb is originally restricted chiefly to Upper German and East Central German, the former preferring the form nutzen, the latter preferring nützen. By way of hypercorrection, nützen has now become a chiefly southern form. Low German and West Central German originally use other verbs, namely, brauchen for the transitive and batten for the intransitive function. These areas prefer nutzen in modern standard German.


  • IPA(key): /ˈnʊtsən/, [ˈnʊtsən], [ˈnʊtsn̩]
  • Audio:(file)
  • Hyphenation: nut‧zen



nutzen (weak, third-person singular present nutzt, past tense nutzte, past participle genutzt, auxiliary haben)

  1. (transitive) to make use of; to deploy; to exploit; to harness; to take (the opportunity of)
    Synonyms: Gebrauch machen von, wahrnehmen
    Du solltest deine Talente nutzen.
    You should make use of your talents.
    Wenn sich ihnen so eine Gelegenheit bietet, dann nutzen sie die.
    When such an opportunity offers itself to them, they’ll take it.
  2. (transitive or intransitive, most often negated or in questions) to be useful, to be of use, to do good
    Er hört mit der Diät auf, weil sie nichts nutzt.
    He's stopping the diet because it is no use.
    Was nutzt es schon, sich anzustrengen?
    What is the use of making an effort anyway?
  3. (transitive or intransitive) to benefit, to help, to do good to [with accusative or dative ‘someone’]
    Er hat sich überall angebiedert, aber das hat ihm auch nicht genutzt.
    He curried favour with everybody, but that didn’t help him either.

Usage notes

  • There is a distinction between nutzen and benutzen. The former is used with opportunities or options, the latter is used with means or instruments. Sometimes this is just a matter of aspect. For example, “He uses the computer” can be phrased as Er benutzt den Computer (mere mechanical sense), or Er nutzt den Computer (implying that the computer is, in whatever way, an opportunity).






  • (antonym(s) of be useful; benefit): schaden

Derived terms


Further reading

  • nutzen” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache
  • nutzen” in Uni Leipzig: Wortschatz-Lexikon
  • nutzen” in Duden online
  • nutzen” in