Learning German For Members

German word of the day: Gleich

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
German word of the day: Gleich
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Just about to leave, or want more equality? This is the German word for you.


Why do I need to know gleich?

Because it's very commonly used in German, with two different meanings. 


What does it mean?

In German, gleich has two meanings. The first of which is the adjective gleich which means "the same" or "equal" in English. 

Gleich has the same ancient root as the English word "like", which is close in meaning, as both can be traced back to the Gothic word galeiks.

Like all German adjectives, when gleich appears before a noun, it adopts the gender and case of that word, for example:

Wir haben das gleiche T-Shirt!

We have the same T-Shirt!

Er hat die gleiche Nase wie sein Vater.

He's got the same nose as his father.

Similar to the German word egal - which means "equal" - gleich can also be used to express indifference:

Es ist mir alles egal/es ist mir alles gleich.

I don't care about any of it.

Gleich also appears in many other German words which are linked to the meaning of things being equal: gleichfalls (likewise), vergleichen (to compare), das Gleichgewicht (balance), die Gleichheit (equality) and ausgleichen (to counterbalance) are just some of the many examples of words containing gleich.

Gleich as an adverb

As an adverb, gleich means something completely different; it's a very common word used to mean "shortly" or "right away". You'll often hear people in German saying things like:

Ich komme gleich!

I'll be there shortly!

Bis gleich!

See you in a minute!


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Jeff 2022/12/14 15:23
Do not forget Lübke English -- "Equal goes it loose."

See Also