German Vocabulary retirement

German Vocabulary: Retirement

Just five days after winning the football World Cup in Brazil, Philipp Lahm announced his retirement from Germany’s national football team. He will still play for Bayern München, at least until his contract ends in 2018.

Though it might be too early for most of you to think about retirement, here are some vocabulary and expressions around retirement you can use.

First of all, like in English, retirement can have two different meanings in German

Nomen: der Rücktritt
Verb: zurücktreten

These two are used when someone is stepping down from a job or position, not necessarily meaning that the person will stop working entirely or that the retirement was even voluntary. We have seen quite a few political retirements in Germany over the past years, for example. You can read about it here. In this case you would probably use demission in English.

Use cases

Er verkündet / erklärt seinen Rücktritt.
He announces his retirement.

Er ist zurückgetreten.
He retired.

Note: Sometimes you might hear or read the phrase Er ist zurückgetreten worden. Though grammatically incorrect, Germans use this structure to express that the retirement was not voluntary, meaning he was forced to retire.

Other expressions

aufhören zu arbeiten = to stop working
in den Ruhestand gehen = to go into retirement
in Rente gehen = to go into retirement
in Pension gehen = to go into retirement

As you can see, we have three expressions for retirement. Rente (f) is what every German worker receives, Pension (f) is what German officials receive and Ruhestand (m) is the neutral version which can be used for both.

In Philipp Lahm’s case we can state that

Obwohl Philipp Lahm von seinem Amt als Kapitän der Nationalmannschaft zurückgetreten ist, ist er noch lange nicht in Rente gegangen.
Though Philipp Lahm retired as captain from the national football team, he is far away from going into retirement.


Picture by Agência Brasil ([1]) [CC-BY-3.0-br], via Wikimedia Commons