Word of the Day – “ausschlafen”

Hello everyone,ausschlafen - this kitten knows what that means

and welcome to our German Word of the Day:

ausschlafen

 

Ausschlafen is something a lot of people like to do. The verb consists of the 2 parts aus and schlafen and schlafen simply means… to sleep. To be honest it would have been more adequate to call schlafen the word of the day but I thought that some of you might have just ignored it entirely then and thus missed out on the schlafen-family, …. and after all ausschlafen is by far the best of all of them. But let’s start from the beginning. In order to properly sleep you first need to… right fall asleep. In German for this we use the word einschlafen.

Once this is done you can peacefully sleep the whole night. Especially when you have a little baby you hope that you can sleep without having to wake up once. This is called durchschlafen in German and it means sleep through the night, but it is nothing you need very much in daily life. And now imagine there is no alarm, no place you need to go, no chores you need to do and no noise outside keeping you awake. If you are not ready yet to get up you just turn around and nap another hour…. now that is ausschlafen at its finest. Ausschlafen is usually translated by to sleep in and to sleep late. The latter however does not really capture the essence of ausschlafen because it is not necessarily connected to a time… it simply means that you sleep as long as YOU want. If you feel like you are done sleeping at 4 am… you can still call that ausschlafen. Now some of you might say: “Well, I have seen aus before and it always means something with out of or off…  how does that translate to sleep IN??”, and someone else might add: “Yeah wouldn’t it make more sense if EINschlafen were sleep in since einusually means something like into something or on.” Well these are legitimate questions and the only answer I can give you is the 35. commandment of the Language Learning God:

35. Thou shalt not generalize prepositions for it will cause great confusion! 

One of the probably most used examples with ausschlafen is the following sentence:

There is also the word ausgeschlafen. This is the ge-form of ausschlafenso you use it to build the spoken past.

But it is also used as an adjective.

In the first sentence ausgeschlafen means something like ‘well-rested’ or simply ‘awake’. The meaning in the second sentence is a little bit more abstract.  The sentence says that the son of Maria and Thomas is a clever kid. Much to my surprise the Leo.org dictionary does not list this signification and Pons suggests sharp which to me seems just plain wrong. This is weird since ausgeschlafen in sense of clever it is not some ancient idiom that no one ever uses. So just to recap real quick, ausschlafen means to sleep as long as YOU want be it late or not. Now imagine you do it because you don’t hear the alarm going of. That’s what we call verschlafen.

The ge-form of verschlafen is … verschlafen so there is no difference there. Verschlafenis also used as an adjective.

Another translation for sleepy is schläfrig and there is a couple more verbs and a bunch of adjectives that originate from schlafen. Entschlafen is like the English to pass away a poetic wording for to die. Vorschlafen  is to sleep too much for one or 2 night in order to build up a sort of sleep account which will get you through these 4 intense festival nights. Scientists claim this to be nonsense which might explain why it is not in the dictionaries. The last word before we do a that little grammar is …. HEY WAKE UP YOU! …. Nicht einschlafen!  I promise you we will have an adult section after the grammar. :) So the last word I want to tell you is a one to impress your flat mates with. Watch their faces in awe and their jaw on the floor when you tell them:

Some dictionaries offer sleepy, drowsy or somnolent as a translation for schlaftrunken but what it really is is drunk with sleep. To wrap this up here is the little bit of grammar. Schlafen and its buddies have a vowel change for du und erso it is:

The ge-form is __geschlafen except of course for the ones with a strongly linked prefix like verschlafen  and entschlafen. Most of them work with haben. The only 2 where the past is built with sein are einschlafen and entschlafenas these are changes of your state. Examples? There you go:

The real past stem of schlafen is schlief and the corresponding noun is der Schlaf.

And now on to the meanings of schlafen, that require you to be awake… there is mainly two phrasings for ‘to have sex’ one of which is also used in English:

The second might seem a little complicated because of the miteinander… but you can not use zusammen in that case. The first phrasing has a pretty neutral tone to it, you just inform about what happened. The second one is a little more sensual, yet it can’t compete with Liebe machen (make love).

So this was our German Word of Today or better the whole word family of the day – ‘the Schlafens‘.

Hope you like it and see you next time… and to say good bye here is… more sleeping kittens! Because although we all sleep… they do it best.

a sleeping kitten

for members :)

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surgotai
surgotai

I came for ausschlafen, I stayed until I had to go sleep! Nice article.

Trevor
Trevor

Hi again, Emanuel.
Very helpful discussion of the intricacies of the schlafen family; now I too am, if you can forgive the pun, ‘schlaftrunken.’
Regarding ‘ausgeschlafen = sharp’: In English ‘sharp’ is used fairly regularly to mean ‘clever,’ at least in the positive sense (quick-witted, keen, intelligent, etc.). Is it not the same with the German ‘scharf’?

um
um

Your pronunciation guides are so wrong :/ it’s a shame when they’re such good articles. “Shluhfen” would sound nothing like schlafen :/

Anonymous
Anonymous

Kann man ausschlafen und verschlafen reflexiv verwenden?
Ich möchte mich endlich mal ausschlafen.
Morgen kannst du dich ausschlafen.
Ich habe mich ausgeschlafen/verschlafen.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Danke.
Ich habe aber noch eine frage. Und zwar bezüglich verschlafen.
Kann man da ein Objekt(Akkusativ) anwenden um auszudrücken was er genau verschlafen hat.
zB. Heute habe ich den Unterricht verschlafen.

draven
draven

How do you say

To fall asleep on someone
To fall asleep on you

person243
person243

About the prefix “aus-“: I think the “aus” in “ausschlafen” is the same as in “auskurieren”, “ausheilen”, “auslaufen” (not water but a contract), “ausgehen” (not to the disco but the food reserves), “aushalten” and “auswachsen”. You do sth. until you are out of something. The something is “tiredness” for “ausschlafen”, an illness for “auskurieren”, a hurting for “ausheilen”, a legal binding for “auslaufen”, a reserve for “ausgehen”, an unnice situation for “aushalten” and a phase for “auswachsen”.

So a bit of “out” is always in these words. I mean a more precise translation for “to sleep in” would be “in den Tag hinein schlafen”. The “out” is quite sensible here I think. What do you think?

Mary
Mary

I kind of think that the “aus” in ausschlafen indicates that the person “completed” their sleep cycle without being disturbed by an external source, such as an alarm clock. Like the equivalent of Vollendung in relation to sleep. Not just getting up, but the reaching of the natural culmination of sleep (waking) on one’s own (process plus autonomic experience of process completion). German seems to “think” like this.

john12345school

How would you say ‘ Just as i was about to fall asleep’?

Kinjal
Kinjal

Als ich fast beim Einschlafen war/bin

crittermonster
crittermonster

I’m with person243… It’s easiest to think of it as a form of the expression, “I’m all x-ed out”, where x is the thing you did until you can’t do it any more.

A person who’s all slept out is well-rested, with a brain that’s freshened up and ready to go.

Abdul Basith
Abdul Basith

Encountered ausschlafen for the first time. Thought of writing a mail. Woke up and the search bar slapped me like, “hey! you mail for little things..” Searched and the result was exactly what I wanted. Read it completely. Enjoyed it as usual. Thanks a lot!!

Prashant
Prashant

first question my colleagues ask at work is,

ausgeschlafen??

I dont know what to answer. do they really want to know whether i had a good sleep or it is Little sarcastic.

Prashant
Prashant

My colleague always ask me after i arrive at work in the morning, ausgeschlafen??

I dont know what to answer!! Is it meant sarcastically, or she really want to know whether i sleep good.

Its weird to start conversation of the day with this question. Can you pls tell me the possible answers in this situations!!

Fatima
Fatima

Hi! Can someone tell me if there is a term in German for that feeling of relief that comes when one throws oneself into the bed after an emotionally/physically tiring day?

Fatima
Fatima

That was from me, Fatima^

Germanstudent
Germanstudent

Hello Wonderful Article.
I would like to ask a doubt.
How could we say that , For eg , My baby sleeps with me.
Thanks in advance.

Germanstudent
Germanstudent

or in another way, for eg: , My baby yesterday slept along with me.
( Sorry, I don’t know how to edit the previous comment, That’s why i am sending it in the Reply section.)

absolutelysundu
absolutelysundu

I do have question in connection to “verstanden” und “verschalfen”. Both obviously have same prefix. But “ver”standen means “under”standing and “ver”schalfen means “over”sleeping.. wieso? does that mean the perfix for “over” and “under” are the same ? or is it again the long long ago, so long ago, story of some latin root? Just a curiousity…