Is there a good translation for the German word "Leichtgewichtigkeit" (lit. "lightweightness")?

According to leo.org and dict.cc, there is none, but according to these translations, there are several.

What I want to express is that there is "...lightweightness compared to...". I don't want to use the adjective "lightweight" but a noun.

Is there a better choice?

EDIT: I want to describe that an API is not as extensive/expensive as others. Thus, lightness is not what I'm looking for.

  • Lightweight can be used as a noun, but only in the sense of a lightweight person (either literally or figuratively).
    – bib
    Aug 27, 2013 at 11:54
  • That's exactly why I'm looking for lightweightness not lightness.
    – dcb
    Aug 27, 2013 at 11:56
  • 'Is there a word such as lightweightness?' and 'Is there a good translation for the German word "Leichtgewichtigkeit"' are quite different questions. The best translations are usually not word-for-word. The examples you give in your link are not of consistent accuracy. 1, 5 & 8 are incorrect. Notice that 'lightweight' is a compound adjective whereas 'light weight' is adjective + noun. Aug 27, 2013 at 12:01
  • Perhaps "lightness of weight"
    – GEdgar
    Aug 27, 2013 at 14:57

2 Answers 2


Lightweight can function both as a noun and an adjective. To describe your API, you could say:

  • This API is a lightweight interface with minimal features.

In technical circles, no-frills is another term used to describe minimalistic protocols.

  • This is a no-frills API with minimal features.
  • I think this doesn't meet my requirements since the translation "Leichtigkeit" doesn't match the technical attribute "Leichtgewichtigkeit".
    – dcb
    Aug 27, 2013 at 11:52
  • @my_greets: In English, light can mean different things depending on the context. If you are talking of a light balloon, you are referring to the weight (Leichtgewichtigkeit) and if you talk of a light dance step , then you refer to Leichtigkeit.
    – Bravo
    Aug 27, 2013 at 11:55
  • I want to describe that an API is not as extensive/expensive as others.
    – dcb
    Aug 27, 2013 at 12:01
  • @my_greets: I have modified my answer now.
    – Bravo
    Aug 27, 2013 at 12:09
  • Here you encounter another problem - there is a pejorative sense (and thus often nuance even when not intended) of 'lightweight' (see thefreedictionary.com/lightweight ) However, the term is used in the sense you now indicate you require: Photoshop Elements V.6, the so-called lightweight version of the more expensive... (Google) Aug 27, 2013 at 12:10

Given that your context is to describe an API is not as extensive/expensive as others, I suggest simplicity.

  • I think it could be expressed that way too, but in the given context lightweight is definitely more common than simple. Seems to me to be some kind of workaround. Can't I use lightweightness? Is it an invalid translation?
    – dcb
    Aug 27, 2013 at 12:15
  • To me, simplicity has a more positive feel compared to simple (probably because simple can be used as an insult to mean someone is stupid). If you want to use a form of lightweight you should just rearrange the sentence as in Shyam's first example.
    – Justin
    Aug 27, 2013 at 12:23
  • 1
    In the official literature such as RFCs, there is always made use of lightweight. Simplicity is imprecise in this context.
    – dcb
    Aug 27, 2013 at 12:42
  • @my_greets: No, you can't use lightweightness (if you want to be taken seriously) because English doesn't have an abstract noun corresponding to the adjective lightweight. And 'there is always made use of lightweight' is ungrammatical; 'the word lightweight is invariably used' is what you require. Aug 27, 2013 at 23:10

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