Advent Calendar 10 – Stomach this!

Written By: Emanuel Updated: December 17, 2020

Stomach this!


Hello everyone,

day 10 of our Advent Calendar and today we’ll look at someone who gets a lot of hard, greasy work just to do over Christmas – I am talking about

der Magen

  • Which is the German word for stomach.
    Magen – stomach. Just by the sound and looks of them we could assume that they’re somehow related. But they’re not.
    Stomach comes from the very very ancient Indo-European root  *stom-en. This root originally referred to all kinds of openings, but in Ancient Greek (which is of course way less ancient than Indo-European) the word stoma referred to mainly the mouth. And that might well also be the origin of the German word Stimme (voice). Makes sense, I think – the stomach is what comes “after” the mouth opening, the Stimme is what comes out.

    The origin of Magen on the other hand is the impressively ancient Indo-European root *mak- which was used for a sack from skin or leather. And there is a relative in English: maw. Maw got pushed out by stomach for the most part, and is now only ever used in a few specific contexts.
    German on the other hand stuck with der Magen.
    But as you can see in these examples, the expressions and idioms are the same in both languages

    • Die Augen sind oft größer als der Magen.
    • The eyes are bigger than your stomach.

    • Liebe geht durch den Magen.
    • The way to a (wo)man’s heart is through their stomach.

    • Der Stress schlägt mir auf den Magen.
    • The stress upsets my  stomach.
    • Bei dem Gedanken an Rum dreht sich mir der Magen um.
    • The thought of rum makes my stomach turn.

    So make sure to try adding one or two of those to your active vocabulary.
    And if you’re in Germany, you should also try is a Magenbitter – that’s a special kind of herb spirit (around 40%) that’ll go right up to your bile and be like:

    “Look at me. I’m the bitter around here now!”

    It’s perfect after a hefty Christmas meal for example. But make sure you don’t stress your stomach too much, so you don’t get Magenbeschwerden (tummy ache, gastric distress) or even a Magengeschwür (stomach ulcer).

    And that’s it for today :)
    I’m gonna go eat something now, you all have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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