Word of the Day – “die Brille”

Hello everyone,eine Brille

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time, we’ll take it easy with a look at the meaning of

die Brille

 

Die Brille is a  very useful thing as it helps people to see, protect themselves from too much sun and of course to look cool. And sure you know by know: Brille in English is the glasses. Seems like there is not much to say about this after all but Brille is actually used for some neat expression. However, let’s start with the obvious.

Brille probably originates from the word Beryll or beryl which is a mineral. Back in medieval times these stones were used to grind lenses from.
As you might have realized, Brille is a singular word in German so you have one Brille and it is female.

  • Die Brille ist neu.
  • The pair of glasses is new.

As Germans like to glue words together, there are all kinds of  Brille. Examples are Sonnenbrille (shades or sunglasses), Lesebrille (reading glasses), Taucherbrille (diving goggles), 3D-Brille or Hispster-Brille (you can see those in Berlin a lot in the central area… the ones with the fat  frames).

What makes Brille interesting and merits the status of a Word of the Day are a bunch of abstract glasses people are wearing in Germany. If you have a person that is overly optimistic and does not see or acknowledge obvious downsides Germans say he or she is wearing die rosarote Brille rose-colored glasses. I personally have to say that I would find it rather depressing or disturbing to have everything around me in pink but that’s just me…

Apparently the term does exist in English but I have never heard anyone say it. So if you are a native and you feel the same, then let me tell you that it is a common enough phrasing in German. Oh and by the way… if someone thinks that pink and rose are different… I don’t care. To me it’s the same color :) .

You can use similar phrasings , so you can say something-something Brille whenever you feel like someones view on something is from a very limited perspective. You can either build a compound noun but I guess most of the time an adjective is the better choice. So if someone is being all professional whilst you are interested in his personal take on the matter you can ask him to take down his “professional glasses”. Here are some more examples.

There is a lot of possibilities and even if you are the first one to ever mention a certain Brille, you will probably be understood and admired for your creativity.

Now let’s look at the basic actions you do with a Brille:

Yes it is Etui in German, not Box, Schachtel, Täschchen, Case or anything… it is Etui. Why? Because some 100 years ago people who wore glasses used to well educated and well educated people used to speak posh French all the time  :). But back to our actions with Brille.

The glasses themselves sitzen on your nose so they sit there. If you accidentally turn that around so if you sit on your Brille, well you very likely need a new one
BUT
there is actually one Brille in German that you SHOULD sit down on. Women, do…  for the most part I guess… but there are many men who consider it an act of MANHOOD not to…. So? … … Yes, it’s the toilet seat. You cannot deny that there are some similarities between a toilet seat and … well the frame of glasses… mainly the shape and the fact that there is a hole in the middle.
So when they invented the toilet seat they had to come up with a name for it and they were some funny as hell inventors they named it … Klobrille…. and why not actually.
Oh just to make sure… Klobrille really is the official term. It’s not like there is a ‘real’ word for that. Be it in jail or in the noblest of all castles, it is always die  Klobrille.

To wrap this up here is a little tiny bit of gram-marmelade. The pural of Brille is Brillen and as there already is an ‘n’ the plural case 3 ‘n’ has noooo purpose… oh poor little fellow. Don’t you worry, we’ll find you something to do soon.

On that note I am out, I hope you liked it and see you next time, and if not, … well then I am going to need a Brille.

for members :)

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Pauline
Pauline

So you would say: Meine Brille IST neu, right?

Pauline
Pauline

Hey, thank you!

Ron Magnuson
Ron Magnuson

“Maria is all happy. She sees life through her rose-colored glasses.”
Ich würde lieber sagen:
Mary is always happy. She sees life through rose-colored glasses.
Ein kleiner Unterschied aber immerhin.

Mike W
Mike W

In the UK, one will often hear the expression, ‘looking at life through rose coloured glasses, or spectacles.’ This can be applied to any unfortunate soul that does not want to acknowledge their sad existence, or anyone that likes to see the more positive side of life.
I hope that helps.

Thanks for all your advice, tips and general light-hearted and stress free style of sharing your knowledge with the world.

Mike W
Mike W

I should have added to the above, ‘looking at life through rose tinted spectacles/glasses’ as another variation on the same theme. :-)

Conrad
Conrad

Hallo,
Instead of aufsetzen, could you also use anziehen when describing putting your glasses on? Or is anziehen used primarily for clothes?

Ich ziehe meine Brille an?

Danke fuer Ihre Hilfe!

Anonymous
Anonymous

I just had a small question about this example:
“Die Chefin sieht seine Mitarbeiter nur durch die Produktivitätsbrille.”

This is a female boss and the possessive adjective is “seine,” I thought seine was used for “his” and “its” while ihre would be used in this case for “her”?
Thanks

Simon Davies
Simon Davies

Thanks for this. I would say ‘rose-tinted spectacles’ is the more common phrase in English. And, how about ‘Maria is completely/really happy’ as a translation?

heidimoe
heidimoe

Following your comment saying you’d be depressed or disturbed seeing everything pink, things actually appear more vivid, beautiful, richer and dramatic through rose coloured glasses, literally… I’m guessing it’s my photography background that allowed me to learn this as rose lenses are used commonly, particularly for black and white images (think Ansel Adams)… But since experimenting with sunglasses too, the effect is so powerful that for the last 15 years or so I’ve gone out of my way to try and buy rose tinted lenses, so I’ve tried Silhouette or Maui Jim as theirs are polarised as well (I’m guessing there’s a difference in the exact colour so can’t vouch for all rose tinted glasses)…

I get excited whenever I wear them and am in awe at how the world looks with and without them on, and wonder why everyone doesn’t buy rose coloured lenses… (Doesn’t have to be rich rose, just a light tint, and the effect is still there… as far as I’ve experienced)

heidimoe
heidimoe

I knew there was something I forgot to add… At the moment I’m able to learn the vocabulary though when you talk about the grammar and some of the questions people ask in comments, I’m not there yet to remember/learn those parts… So we’ll see what flows naturally, how I go…

David
David

My experience is the opposite. I have tried to focus on grammer first and foremost since I consider this to be the skeleton of the language. Vocabulary hangs off this skeleton….to each their own, as long as it works.
Keep up the good work. You make learning fun

Rick
Rick

Great little post, definitely needed after liegen!

Rosarote brille… reminded me of the “pink cloud’ people experience when they are newly sober. That is, everything seems perfect, nothing is wrong, as soon as you put down the poison. This is referred to as being on your pink cloud. Thankd again for your site, it’s the tops :)

chovard
chovard

Hallo,
ich bin wirklich vom diesem Blog begeistert …. Hut ab!!!!

kann ich eine dumme Frage haben? Es betrifft die Klobrille. Wirklich schönes Wort. Ich weiß, dass man die Klobrille offen oder zu lassen kann, hoch oder runter lassen kann. Ich weiß, dass man sie schließen, runterklappen oder runtermachen kann. Was ich nicht weiß ist der genaue Gegensatz zu diesen drei Wörtern schließen, runterklappen und runtermachen. In anderen Worten, wie ich “richtig auf Deutsch” den Deckel aufrichten oder hoch geben soll?

Bitte auch um die Korrektur meines Textes…. Danke!

metebalci
metebalci

The pink glasses expression is maybe common, it also exists in Turkish.

Annasc
Annasc

Hehehe… In Russia there’s pretty much the same expression about being in pink glasses bla-bla-bla…