Is there a word for almost a doppelgänger?

Continuing the discussion from Sexual Assault Allegations vs Max Temkin (CAH):

This is so off-topic to the original post that I felt it needed a separate thread - is there a German word* for the feeling of almost recognizing someone but realizing that it’s not actually the person you know?  Something more precise than doppelgänger?

I bring this up because the friend on Twitter quoted in the original post has the same name, hair color, and almost the same username as a friend of mine on another forum.  She even lives in the state where my friend used to live.  I had to take a few moments to review what I knew of my friend “No, she’s too old for this to be her… and she lives in California now.”

* There usually is, and I used to have a friend from Bavaria I could ask but I haven’t spoken to him in quite a while.

The reason German has these long words is that their Nazis did not limit themselves to grammar, so people never developed our fear of making up words, though “Denglish” seems to annoy them if you try to pass it off as German.

How about “doppelgängeroid”? The adjective being “doppelgängerish”.

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In English (and possibly other languages), one can start with a grammatically correct sentence and add prepositional phrases to the end ad infinitum.

plus an absurd number of modifiers…

I have read (possibly here on the BoingBoing BBS) that German has methods of construction that allow this sort of endless extension for individual words.

I forget where I first saw it but I always recall this video:


Reminds me of the classic ‘German is easy!’ tale about the Hottentottenstottertrottelmutterlattengitterkotterbeutelrattenattentäter.

But yours is funnier.

Why does German get all the attention when it comes to weird or long words? :frowning: Finnish is like that, too! And our words can be even longer.

There’s a Finnish word for schadenfreude, too. Say it with me, everyone; myötähäpeä!

“Almost a doppelgänger” would be kaksoisolentomainen.

Imagine, when everyone else is trying be witty by saying schadenfreude, you could out-hipster them by being that one cool person who knows Finnish. But nooo, let’s just all forget that Finland even exists… sniff sniff…


Are you Finnish yet?


That’s cold.

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Dude - is that like a state in Lithuania?


I have a doppelganger, and I appreciate the new words!

Seriously though, for 20 years people have walked up to me and spoken to me as though I were somebody else. Housemates, work colleagues, people quite close to him. All the same dude. I’ve played along once or twice and then decided to let them in on it. One of my friends met him once, the same way. I ask his friends to please tell him he is a very good looking man. Happens every 2-3 years.

Sort of awesome, really.


What about “sibling”? Not cute, but apt. It means resembles but isn’t necessarily a copy.

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I grew up with mine… He was a year ahead of me in school, so in addition the mangled versions of my name, I also had to learn to answer to “Doug”. Even our mothers sometimes were confused. There were some interesting moments: I recall one time Doug came up to me and said that he just got a big hug and kiss from a confused young lady (there were a few like that); I recall one time having someone sitting down on my lap and discussing Doug’s roommates (she went on-and-on and I was finally able to utter “I’m not Doug” after a few minutes) – she had a twin sister that I knew, so it was a very odd encounter… We started diverging after our mid twenties and by 30 nobody would confuse us.


Nice! freaky isn’t it? People get so familiar with you, and you’re like… ummm, errrr… uh.

I had to learn how to explain it to the affected people so it was funny, because people can get pretty uncomfortable when they misidentify a friend.


One of my favorite profs at university bears (bore?) more than a passing resemblance to the lead chef at my favorite sushi restaurant.

I met him (the sushi chef) at a grocery store once and engaged him in conversation as if he were my former statistics teacher. I can only plead that the meeting being out of context contributed to my failure to discern the differences.

Very embarrassing for me, and probably uncomfortable for him, but now we always share a secret smile when I enter his restaurant.


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