Advent Calendar 10 – Stomach this!

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!

4.9 41 votes
Article Rating

Newsletter for free?!

Sign up to my epic newsletter and get notified whenever I post something new :)
(roughly once per week)

No Spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Your Thoughts and Questions

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
28 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Leslie r. Crockett
Leslie r. Crockett
1 year ago

Interesting bit about the word maw. The smell of rum ( and sometimes, the thought) makes my stomach turn. Before I stopped all drinking, at age 23, I got so sick on rum and coke that, 44 years later, I can’t tolerate the stuff!

Too ashamed to say
Too ashamed to say
1 year ago

Are words like “Magersucht” related to Magen or come from the same PIE root? It seems like they would be related (hunger, leanness, empty stomachs), but maybe I’m also making what amounts to a cosmetic connection…

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
1 year ago

Is there any particular way you would talk about getting a midnight snack? I saw “nächtliche Fressattacke” in a forum recently. Seemed kind of joking. I googled and got a lot of articles about sleep disorders and eating disorders, so I’m not sure if this is something I should add to my vocabulary.

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri
1 year ago

Hallo lieber Emanuel
Ich habe schon mir gefragt welche Unterschiede zwischen Bauch(der) und Magen ist . Endlich heute weiss ich ein bischen gänauer. Ich kannte die Ausdrucke wie “Bauchschmerzen, Schmeterling in Bauch haben …” .
Vielen Dank für diesen Beitrag .
Bis Morgen

Anne Maxwell-Jackson
Anne Maxwell-Jackson
1 year ago

Thanks.Very informative and entertaining,as usual. Can you give some information on Bauch?

Pia
Pia
1 year ago

Ooops. I forgot the R in the german translation Gastrostomie

Pia
Pia
1 year ago

I am not sure if it is the same in German but in English a stomach ache usually refers to a pain in the abdomen or intestines never in the actual stomach which is located under the ribs (sort of).
Another fun fact, the medical community still use the word stoma (ancient greek meaning hole) but it is an artificial hole that they made. Gastrostomy/Colostomy = Gastostomie/Kolostomie
Thank you for Day 9 and Good night

Kayla-P
Kayla-P
1 year ago

Good morning from the Frühaufsteher in the US ;-)
In all my German learning I have never heard the term ‘der Magen’. I have always heard ‘der Bauch’. Google wasn’t much help in determining the difference. Is there a difference and which one is used the most, when you’re in Germany, talking about your stomach?

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
1 year ago
Reply to  Kayla-P

I think it’s pretty fair to say Magen:stomach::Bauch:belly/gut. The Magen is really the specific organ where swallowed food goes initially. Bauch is more generally the lower half of your abdomen, where your intestines and feelings are.

There are a lot of corresponding expressions, like Bauchgefühl = gut feeling. Of course, there are some differences – you get butterflies in your Bauch in German, not your Magen.

DEmberton
DEmberton
1 year ago
Reply to  berlingrabers

Is German then more correct? In English a lot of people say stomach when they’re talking about the belly – i.e. the lower half of their abdomen. The stomach is really the internal organ – which is actually higher up. You then have der Dünndarm (small intestine/bowel) – about 7 metres of it, and der Dickdarm (large intestine/bowel/colon), which are also incorrectly described as the stomach. If your stomach grumbles that’s das Magenknurren, though in reality it’s your Dünndarm that knurrt. And no I’m not a doctor.

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
1 year ago

I’d say maw in English sounds (in meaning) more like Maul – more often a mouth than a stomach, even though apparently it can mean both. As you say, it’s a bit antiquated and probably most often used figuratively.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
1 year ago
Reply to  berlingrabers

Yeah – see my earlier rant about etymology.

„The maw of Hell‘ = the wide, gaping jaws (of Hell, in this case) – or hunger/voracious appetite as in „his maw of money“.

So, it starts with an „ma“ must be related to „Magen“.

What I want to ask is „wen hat Maw geb…, um sich eine Beziehung zu Magen zu kriegen“ but that would be rude and some might find it offensive.

Instead I‘ll just ask who, when they looked through the few written words before 900, decided that there is a relationship between Magen and Maw (voracious hunger/gaping hole, NOT tummy) and when are we gonna be asked to suspend belief to see how Bauch falls in there?

Meiner Meinung nach sind Etymologen die Fake News Super Spreaders der Akademia.

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
1 year ago
Reply to  Amerikanerin

Well, again, at least according to dictionary.reference.com, “maw” apparently still can mean “(animal) stomach.” Just sayin’.

The whole “dropping a hard g sound” thing is pretty well attested, though. I mean, just look at Tag => day, or Bug => bow (of a boat/ship).

Apparently what’s actually related to Bauch is bucket :D

Mawkish
Mawkish
1 year ago
Reply to  Amerikanerin

Maw is related to Magen via the Old English maga – “stomach; maw”. Maul comes from Proto-Germanic *mūlą – “muzzle” (It seems to have no survivor in Englilsh.). The roots of Magen and Maul are different. See Wiktionary.

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
1 year ago
Reply to  berlingrabers

Funny, I was thinking along those lines. I was wondering if Maul is related (looks like no) and then I got to thinking about the mouth/stomach part. The only example I could think of where it mostly sounds like a stomach is Jonas in the maw of the great fish.

The other examples I thought of bring to mind something like into the mouth and down the throat. If I’m figuratively staring into the maw of the inferno or a massive problem, I’m probably picturing it swallowing me, or getting ready to. Same for looking into the maw of an angry bear (or unicorn). And with shoving food down my maw, I’m the swallower instead of the swallowee.

I’m halfway wondering what went wrong that I have so many thoughts about a word that really isn’t used very often.

gagorian
gagorian
1 year ago

Nom nom nom :D