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Why is dog food Hundefutter and not "Hundessen"?

I was reading the Tips and notes from the Food 1 skill of the German tree, and learned this new word, but it made me wander why not "Hundessen" as in Mittagessen or Abendessen. Also, why isn't it "Mittagefutter" or "Abendefutter"? What makes Futter and Essen different?

December 16, 2017



Interesting to note that the word "futter" is not too different to the English word "fodder" which is often used in relation to animals. eg. Fodder for the sheep.

  • 1350

elfinoz, you are absolutely correct. Fodder in English is from Old English fōdor, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch voeder and German Futter.

[deactivated user]

    Futter is food for animals.


    I suppose it has something to do with dogs friss but humans iss. Yea so that's the best I can make out of it but you might want to ask someone else like Sh3m3sh. But that would make alot of sense.


    in addition to Elisabeth: we know the word "fressen" for humans eating in a disgusting manner ("er frisst wie ein Schwein") or quantity ("er frisst wie ein Scheunendrescher"). If a food is of very low quality or taste we may say it is "ein Frass" or "ein Schweinefrass"


    I agree. German makes the distinction between people and animals when it comes to food and the ingestion thereof. So people "essen" Mittagessen, and animals "fressen" Futter.

    It feels just as funny or interesting from the German to English point of view, when they learn that animals "eat food," just as people do. It evokes the image of a dog sitting at the table, napkin around his neck, using fork and knife to eat his food from a plate...


    Studentenfutter ("student fodder") is the German word for trail mix by the way :-). The verb futtern is also sometimes used to describe the process of eating in a cute way "Die Kinder futterten Karotten". Futtern does not sound harsh, while fressen does.


    Yep. Also "Futtern wie bei Muttern" is a well-meant expression using futtern/Futter related to humans, it's like a contrary to fine dining, but in a good sense. ("Eating like at mother's place")


    Not everything can directly carry over from language to language.

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