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14 replies   
Context/ examples
Trying to improve things but actually make them worse.
Composed of verbessern and verschlimmern
AuthorTina30 Jan 02, 16:56
There is no equivalent in English. It has to be paraphrased.
#1AuthorDoris L30 Jan 02, 18:03
Possibly an expression like "to jump from the frying pan into the fire"...
#2AuthorRES30 Jan 02, 23:48
@RES: das wäre 'vom Regen in die Traufe geraten'. 'verschlimmbessern' ist eine Wortschöpfung aus zwei Verben: verschlimmern und verbessern. Wenn man das im Englischen nachbilden wollte, müsste man vielleicht 'kreativ' sein und sagen 'to ameliordeteriorate' oder 'to ameliorworsen'.
#3AuthorReinhard W.31 Jan 02, 00:15
Gleiches Spiel wie "etwas kaputtreparieren". Ob da was Verständliches rauskommt ist fraglich. To repair s.th. broken?
To worseimprove? To worsebetter? To betterworsen?
#4AuthorK.S.31 Jan 02, 10:44
Unser Englisch-Dozent an der Uni hat "verschlimmbessern" immer als deutsches Lehnwort verwendet, also glaube ich nicht, dass es das gibt... ;)

"Please do not verschlimmbesser this sentence..."
#5AuthorBF31 Jan 02, 11:15
Building on K.S.'s suggestion, you could perfectly well say (as a joke) "he repaired it to pieces", but that doesn't help us with the main question... (think, think)
#6AuthorGhol31 Jan 02, 13:19
.. continuing that line of thought, you could use this, sarcastically spoken: "he improved it so much he actually made it worse"...
#7AuthorGhol31 Jan 02, 18:30
If (and only if) the target audience has some slight knowledge of German, you could coin a term in Filserbrief style, like this:
"His attempt to relieve his wife's anger at forgetting their anniversary by buying her a book entitled 'How to lose 20 kilos Fast!' merely verbetterworsened the situation."

Would be interesting to hear from some native English speakers with no knowledge of German whatsoever and see how they react to this.
#8AuthorPeter01 Feb 02, 00:43
@Peter: I don't think that sounds much like "real English" at all -- the "ver-" prefix is not English... You'd have to use other rules of formation to create a word!
#9AuthorGhol01 Feb 02, 22:13
Translationbotched repair, made a mess of rewriting it
A botched repair is where someone has tried to repair something and only made it worse. That's if you're talking about a broken tangible object. With text, you'd have to paraphrase with something like "he made a real mess of rewriting it".
#10AuthorRobin14 Feb 02, 08:45
Thanks a lot for the interesting discussion and for all the suggestions!
#11AuthorTina25 Feb 02, 10:27
there is a difference between "Verschlimmbessern" und "Kaputtreparieren"
Verchlimmbessern: Sombody tries to change or improve a situation, electronic circuit e.g without success. S.o want to improve s.th.
Kaputtreparieren: You won't improve s.th. You want to fix or repair s.th without knowledge.
Probably a untrained person want to fix the brake system in a car or other sophisticated things. Normaly the things are getting worser.
Both words are more slang and will be understood.
#12AuthorLean08 Apr 02, 21:10
Context/ examples
In wikipedia wird verschlimmbessern mit "to disimprove" uebersetzt. Ich denke, dass entspricht dem deutschen Wort ganz gut.
#13AuthorK.S.08 Dec 06, 21:34
Translationto disimprove
Context/ examples
To make something worse in an honest but failed attempt to improve it.
#14AuthorK.S.08 Dec 06, 21:36
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