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 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…
- Maria ist total glücklich. Sie sieht das Leben zur Zeit durch ihre rosarote Brille!
- Maria is all happy. She looks at life through rose-colored glasses at the moment.
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.
- Die Chefin sieht ihre Mitarbeiter nur durch die Produktivitätsbrille.
- The boss looks at her employees only in terms of their productivity.
- Der Filmproduzent sieht die Story nur durch seine Box-Office-Brille.
- The producers only interest in the story is the box office return.
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:
- Ich nehme meine Brille aus dem Brillenetui.
- I take my glasses out of the spectacle case.
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.
- I put on my glasses.
- Ich setzte meine Brille auf.
- I wear my sunglasses at night.
- Ich trage nachts meine Sonnenbrille (try to sing it… it’s ridiculous)
- I put down my glasses.
- Ich setze meine Brille ab.
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
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.
Hehehe… In Russia there’s pretty much the same expression about being in pink glasses bla-bla-bla…
The pink glasses expression is maybe common, it also exists in Turkish.
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!
Interessante Frage :).
Also “schließen” sage ich zu der Klobrille nie, da sie nicht wirklich was schließt. Den Klodeckel kann man schließen, die Brille nicht.
Für das Gegenteil würde ich auf jeden Fall “hochmachen” sagen. “Hochklappen” geht auch, aber “hochmachen” kam mir als erstes in den Sinn.
Was korrigieren angeht… da gibt’s nicht viel zu tun. Genauer gesagt gar nichts!! Ich hätte gedacht, du bist Muttersprachler!!
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 :)
Interesting! I’m not sure if such a word exists in German. I’ve not even heard of “finding everything great after having stopped drinking” as a concept. But then again, I don’t anyone with serious drinking issues. Is it only used in that context though?
As far as I know, this is only applied to newly sober alcoholics. I hadn’t heard of it either until… well…. by the powers of deduction….. :)
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
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…
Everything has its time… I have a student at the moment who did next to nothing grammar related at all for 4 months… she just talked and gathered vocabulary. Now she feels ready for it, she says, and takes a weekly grammar intensive course and actually enjoys it.
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)
Ok now I am intruiged :) I have to admit that I’ve never looked through rose tinted glasses. I just assumed the effect would be similar to those brown-yellowish ones. I mean… yeah, it’s true that, if you take those off after having worn them for a while, the world looks kinda meh…
That photo bit is indeed interesting. I used to photograph a lot, both on film and digital. But along came Instagramm and iPhone and their filters, that can make things look cool and artsy without hours of fine tuning … and that kinda killed it for me. Kind of off topic but whatever :).
You really did read a lot today by the way :D. I’m really glad to hear that it makes you think and you end up retaining the words. I always thought of words as a multidimensional cloud with a weird shape. The “centroid” is the core and it can be very abstract but all the rest kind of ties into that. The word in the other languages also has a cloud and where they overlap, there’s a translation… sometimes it’s only the core, sometimes it’s everything but the core and sometimes it’s just a bit here and there. That has helped me a lot with French. When I tell someone about this cloud idea I feel like he or she just hears me out to be polite :) People really cling to “word-translates to word” but being a little more open makes learning vocab a LOT easier.
Yes, the next best option is the bronze which I’ve had to resort to for my most recent pair as I couldn’t find rose coloured that looked okay… It’s not quite as vivid as the rose, though it still enhances what you see… I like the little off topic parts, I consider your jokes this, little quips on the side, makes it a relaxing learning experience… In fact every German learning thing I’m using at the moment does this, in class we go off topic all the time, the podcast I listen to, he talks personally all the time… It makes it enjoyable for me, gives things life…
I did read a lot didn’t I!… I had a burst of energy that followed a good German class where synchronistically we actually learnt ausschlafen and Faul, and then I go read your blog entries on them the next day, very cool :) I had a rough few weeks prior so unable to be in a learning mindspace… I hope I’m able to retain the words… As an extra step I used der Kater in some written work in class today and have created a document with notes specifically from your blog…
The thinking part is the fun stuff I do on the side to make sense of it all and when I read your cloud idea, it was so awesome!! Loved loved loved it… Also learnt a new English word (centroid), ta! Though seriously was pondering the idea afterward and will continue to return to it, very cool… I am very very used to sharing things like that where it feels like people are just being polite so I rarely share them until I kind of vet people and get the ok signs… So thank you for sharing :) I’d love to hear more!!
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?
I guess it could work but I feel like there is the element of “naivete” lacking. The “glasses” are often used in examples like the following.
– “Doesn’t she see how she does all the work and how her colleagues take advantage of her.”
“Well, since she is with Thomas, sieht sie alles durch die rosarote Brille.”
I think “completely happy” is too neutral for that. I mean… she does not do all the work because she is so happy and wants others to be happy too. She does it because she is blinded by love and doesn’t see what’s going on at work.
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”?
Oh… that was an editing mistake… you’re totally right. Changed it to “ihre”. Vielen Dank :)
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!
Good question… so for me it is only and exclusively “aufsetzen” but I thought the same for hats until … well… I met people who would use “anziehen”, which to me is super super odd. However, “Brille aufsetzen” yields some 40.000 google hits while “Brille anziehen” barelyhas 3.000.. I’d say use “aufsetzen”. It’ll always be okay.
I should have added to the above, ‘looking at life through rose tinted spectacles/glasses’ as another variation on the same theme. :-)
Cool, danke :)
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.
“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.
Hmmm… Ich glaube, hier lasse ich das Beispiel, wie es ist :).
Das “all happy” ist vielleicht etwas umganssprachlich, aber ich will nicht sagen dass sie “always” happy ist… sie ist gerade froh… vieleicht 1 Tag oder 1 Woche. Für mich ist “die rosarote Brille tragen ” eher etwas temporäres in Deutsch. Zum Beispiel, wenn man frisch verliebt ist. Aber “immer” passt für mich nicht. Trotzdem danke und korrigier gerne weiter ! :)
Hey, thank you!
So you would say: Meine Brille IST neu, right?
Exactly… good you point that out. I inserted your example into the post… hope there won’t be copyright issues :)