Bitte leiten Sie meine Post an diese Adresse weiter.

English Translation

Please forward my mail to this address.

weiterleiten = to forward, to pass on, to put through.

Even after years of learning German, I still regularly find words that I’ve never seen before.

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I can supply you with another one:

If you ask the post office to do this you use a form called “Nachsendeauftrag” (nachsenden = to forward, Auftrag = order).
For a private person this is free.
But if you move a business you have to pay.
Therefore, tthere is also a “Firmennachsendeauftrag”.

Happy new year and welcome to the world of German composita.

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At least with a word like “Nachsendeauftrag”, I might have a chance of understanding the meaning by breaking it down in my mind. Das Wort “weiterleiten” sagt mir aber nichts. Ich denke an die Wasserleitung und an die Art und Weise, in der man sie erweitern kann.

Happy New Year to you also, and to everyone browsing this forum!

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leiten: to conduct, to lead, to direct, to channel
Basically it means to guide something like water, electrical current, or in this case mail, and direct its flow.
In other meanings, such as “eine Firma leiten”, it’s actually the same meaning. You direct the “flow” of a company, by making decisions and giving commands, and thus influence where the company is headed. The english words “director” and “to direct” function in the same way with this core meaning when applied to a company.

weiter: further, farther, forward
A verb like “weitermachen” means to keep going or to continue.

Now, “weiterleiten” together means that you direct the flow of the mail to a new direction or destination, so that it keeps going on its journey.

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