Prefix Advent Calendar – 7

Viel Spaß mit Tür Nummer 7!


Rühren is very old, and all throughout history the core idea was “mixing and stirring”, especially in sense of cooking. But people also used it in a broader sense of “to set in motion” with berühren being just a more directed sounding version of that. Now, one way to set something in motion is to touch it. And that’s what berühren is all about today, while rühren stuck with the stirring and moving. It can be both physical and emotional (and in the physical sense it has a very low intensity.)
die Berührung – the (gentle) touch
berührt (ge-form) – touched, emotionally moved
berührend – touching

  • Ich berühre dich am Arm/deinen Arm.
  • I (slighty) touch your arm.
  • Der Film hat mich tief berührt.
  • The movie deeply moved me.
  • Bitte die Gemälde nicht berühren.
  • Please don’t touch the paintings.

for members :)

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And it rhymes with verführen (previous post)! … Ich höre zu viel Helene Fischer zu.


How would you compare the relative gentleness/intensity of different “touch” verbs? I’m comparing German translations of Colossians 2:21, where there are two different verbs for “touch” involved, and they’re variously translated with berühren, anrühren, anfassen, and betasten – and different translations will use them for either verb. In the Greek, the first verb is more intense – my preferred English translation has “handle” for the first and “touch” for the second.

I looked at the post on “Taste/tasten” too, and I generally get the sense that berühren is lightest, with the “an-” prefix tending to up the intensity, and “anfassen” or “betasten” are more intense, but I’m not too sure.