How to replace the verb sagen in speech? How do you say “he mumbles” or “they whisper” in German? Today we invite you to dive into the variety of German verbs that are essentially synonymous with the verb “to speak”.

Today we will look at synonyms for the German verb SAGEN, which means “to say / speak.” It has a number of similar words that will enrich your language and more accurately convey what you want to say to the interlocutor.

The first synonyms for this word that come to mind are:

reden – speak
sprechen – speak
fragen – ask
antworten – answer
erzählen – tell
aussprechen – express
meinen – mean
behaupten – assert

But, in addition to the above-mentioned synonyms for the word SAGEN, there are still a decent number of words that are similar in meaning to it. After all, you can speak in different ways: you can say something quietly, but you can resolutely or even with rage, you can grumble or mutter.

To speak quietly:

flüstern – whisper/speak under breath
wispern – whisper
murmeln – mumble
näseln – speak through the nose
tuscheln – whisper
nuscheln – mutter

Ich wisperte meinem Freund ein Geheimnis ins Ohr. – I whispered a secret into my friend’s ear.

To speak out loud:

rufen – call
ausrufen – proclaim/exclaim
schreien – shout
toben – rage
kreischen – squeal
grölen – bawl, yell
johlen – yell

“Wir sind die Besten!”, grölten die Fans nach dem Fußballspiel. – “We are the best!” the fans yelled after the football match.

To say something nice:

trösten – console
beruhigen – soothe
schmeicheln – flatter
ermutigen – inspire
loben – praise
zureden – persuade

“Alles wird gut”, tröstete meine Mama und nahm mich in den Arm. “Everything will be fine,” my mother consoled and hugged me.

To speak with anger:

schimpfen – to scold
anschreien – to scream
shout poltern – to scold
keifen – to swear
fauchen – to snort
zetern – to lament
fluchen – to curse

“Ich werde euch den Ball wegnehmen” – zeterte unser Nachbar. – “I’ll take the ball from you,” our neighbor wailed .

To speak disgruntled:


(sich) beschweren
 – to complain
(sich) beklagen – to bemoan
protestieren – to protest
nörgeln – to find fault
with meckern – to grumble

Ständig nörgelt meine Mutter an meiner Schwester. – My mother always picks on my sister.

To speak bad things:

auslachen – to ridicule
lästern – to slander
sticheln – to taunt
spotten – to mock
klatschen – to gossip

“Wie die wieder aussieht”, lästerten die Jungs, als sie Maja sahen. – “Well, how does she look again,” the boys slandered when they saw Maya.

To tell a lie:

lügen – to lie
flunkern – to invent
schwindeln – to deceive, to cheat
übertreiben – to exaggerate

“Ich habe nur zehn Minuten am Computer gespielt”, flunkerte mein kleiner Sohn. “I only played on the computer for 10 minutes,” my little son lied.

To speak with difficulties:

stottern – to stammer
stammeln – to stammer, to stutter
lispeln – to lisp
lallen – to stammer
krächzen – to wheeze, speak in a hoarse voice

Lars stammelte vor Aufregung. – Lars stuttered with excitement. 

In fact? there are many more synonyms for the German word SAGEN, and if you start to dig deeper, there will be more than a dozen more. To learn or not to learn all these words is a personal matter for everyone. Let’s just say that these words should know everyone learning German.

If you want to build the right phrases by choosing words that accurately describe what you want to say, then there is no escape from synonyms. Organize them into tables, draw graphs and their study will become much easier. 

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