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Gering vs niedrig

I've found myself confusing these two words a couple of times before. I noticed there are contexts or expressions in which one would be used and not the other. Niedrig seems to be the general word, but I've seen gering used in similar contexts. What is the difference between these two words (appreciate example sentences)? To what extent are they interchangeable? Thank you :)

May 9, 2017



gering - As little considered in terms of quantity, extent, number, not very large, insignificantly small In relation to the degree, degree, degree of something; minimal; low, slight, insignificant

Das interessiert mich nicht im Geringsten; Sein Können ist gering im Vergleich zu dem Durchschnitt.

niedrig - From low altitude, At an amount lower than the average or a comparative value

Das Haus steht niedrig; Heute haben wir eher eine niedrige Temperatur; Der Wasserstand ist nach der Hitze sehr niedrig.

I hope that this could help you


Danke für die Erklärung!


"Niedrig" is used in terms of height, e.g. "niedrige Zinsen", "niedrige Brücke", etc. "Gering" is more a matter of quantity, e.g. "geringe Menge Brot", similar to "wenig", e.g. "wenig Brot". As an example of interchangability I think of "niedriges Niveau" and "geringes Niveau" which in either case means that the level is low.

However, I'm pretty sure, there will be someone else with a better explanation and more examples.


Thank you. Niedriges Niveau seems to be more common, though. Am I right?


Phew...these are nuances. I would use "gering" mainly for a ranges or amounts or similar and "niedrig" mainly for a low height, low ethos or a low social rank.

  • "Es ist eine geringe Menge." (=amount)
  • "Der Kreis hat einen geringen Umfang." (=range)
  • "Es ist ein niedriges Haus." (=height)
  • "Er hat eine niedrige Gesinnung." (=low ethos)
  • "Sie ist von niedrigem Stand." (=low social rank)

In my "sprachgefühl", it sounds weird, if you change niedrig and gering in these sentences, but Germans would although understand you, if you would do so.

I hope, I could help you a bit.

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