and welcome to our German word of today. This time we will have a look at the meaning of:
(der) Liebling – (pron.: leab-ling)
Now you might say: “Wait, I know where that comes from – from Liebe… looooove!”
And you’re totally right. Die Liebe and Liebling have the same origin and stem: lieb.
Lieb can mean various things but they’re all somewhere between the poles dear, nice and well-behaved.
- Liebe Maria, heute bin ich in Berlin angekommen…
- Dear Maria, today I arrived in Berlin…
- Keine Angst, keine Angst! Der tut nichts… der ist ganz lieb.
- Don’t worry, don’t worry! He’s not gonna do anything… he’s a good dog.
The second one is something you often get to hear from old ladies when their little dog barks at you as if you just took away its bone.
You have to be careful though because lieb does not apply to things the way dear or nice do. If your room looks lieb, it looks like the room of a person who is not going to harm anyone and if a good beer is lieb to you, it means that it treats you nicely and makes all your worries disappear but it does not mean that the beer is dear to you. So it’s better to use lieb only for living things for now.
But back to our actual word of the day Liebling. The two best translations in my opinion are darling and sweetheart. You can use it for your dog but of course is also used by lovers of all ages. Now, there are many words lovers call one another. The animal kingdom provides dozens of possibilities like Hase (bunny), Maus (mouse) , Schnecke (snail.. only for women) oder Bär (only for men). The most common one, according to the German Wikipedia, is Schatz. Schatz literally means treasure so it is not a bad choice but the pronunciation really brings it down a bit because it sounds like… shots or shuts.
Imagine yourself on a couch in a candle-lit room sipping red wine … do you really want to break the silence with “SHOTS!”? A soft “Liebling“, possibly with a sexy tongue flap for the ‘l’-sounds, might be more fitting.
Now, if you have had a look at the Wikipedia-list of the most common words of endearment in German you might wonder why we even have to learn Liebling since it barely made it onto the list…”.
Well, even when you’re on your first date and you’re far from calling the other person Liebling, it is still is a very handy word to know as it also means favorite. Well, you’ll have to put a little ‘s’ at the end and add a noun. But once you got the hang of that you can exhaustively interrogate your love interest about his or her likings.
- Was ist dein Lieblingsfilm? (What’s your favorite movie)
- Was ist dein Lieblingslied? (favorite song)
- Was ist dein Lieblingsessen? (favorite food)
- Was ist deine Lieblingsfarbe? (favorite color)
- Was ist deine Lieblingspferderasse? (favorite horse breed)
Now, it’s important to note that Lieblings alone doesn’t work. So if you want to say something like :
- “Oh my god, they have Tastybeer ™ here??? That is my favorite!!!”
you absolutely HAVE TO say beer again
- Oh Gott, die haben Tastybier™ hier??? Das ist mein LieblingsBIER!
Don’t just say “… das ist mein Liebling.”. That sounds really odd unless you’re talking about your partner.
All right. To wrap this up, here is that little bit of grammar you have all been waiting for.
The plural of Liebling is die Lieblinge. You don’t have to add extra letters except for case 3 plural where you will have to add an ‘n’. It just never gets old.
So that’s it for today. If you have any questions or if you want to try out the word and tell me what your favorite something is, just leave me a comment.
Hope you enjoyed the word of the day and see you next time.
Oh… in case you ended up here doing a Google search for “Leibling” let me assure you that it is NOT a German word. If you have seen it somewhere it must be a typo.
** vocab **
mein Liebling – my darling
Lieblingslied – favorite song
Lieblingsessen – favorite meal
Lieblingsblog – favorite blog
die Schnecke – the snail
der Hase – the rabbit
der Bär – the bear
lieb – nice, dear, well-behaved
lieben – to love
liebenswert – lovely (rare)
der Schatz – the treasure, also used as “darling”