The English meaning of -wise is the following.

-wise adverb combining form

Definition of -wise (Entry 5 of 5)
1a : in the manner of
    crabwise fanwise
b : in the position or direction of
    slantwise clockwise
2 : with regard to : in respect of

However, I'm unable to find in any German sources what -weise means. But I know the following words:

  • mysteriöserweise and its synonym,
  • geheimnisvollerweise
    both meaning in a mysterious way/manner
  • beziehungsweise
    meaning respectively

From the aspect of etymology, we know that the English version of -wise also comes from German. Is it possible that both of these adverbs mean mostly the same?

  • 1
    can you clarify what you mean by "the English version of -wise also comes from German"? "-wise" is cognate with German "-weise", but neither derives from the other, instead they share a common ancestor in Proto-West-Germanic *-wīse
    – Tristan
    May 13, 2022 at 13:53
  • Exaclty, I meant that the common ancestor is a Germanic branch.
    – ntj
    May 13, 2022 at 14:58
  • 2
    They’re fairly equivalent, yes. Weise as a noun means ‘way, manner’, and as a suffix it mostly means ‘in a ___ manner’ or ‘in a ___ way’, but is also used just to form adverbs from adjectives, more so than in English, where -ly is productive. Some more common examples include normalerweise ‘normally’, glücklicherweise ‘luckily’, teilweise ‘part(ial)ly’, möglicherweise ‘possibly’, paarweise ‘in pairs’, stückweise ‘by units’, zeitweise ‘at times’, etc. May 13, 2022 at 15:12
  • @JanusBahsJacquet tbf, in lots of those instances variants in -wise do exist in English, even if the form in -ly is vastly more common
    – Tristan
    May 13, 2022 at 15:15
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet That would make a good answer (maybe with an additional note comparing -ly and -lich).
    – Draconis
    May 13, 2022 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


As a noun, it means 'in a manner/ fashion', as a measurement, 'by the' and as a suffix,'-ly'. So they're similar in a way.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.