Word of the Day – “die Brille”

Written By: Emanuel Updated: July 4, 2021

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…

  • 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.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

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.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • Der Filmproduzent sieht die Story nur durch seine Box-Office-Brille.
  • The producers only interest in the story is the box office return.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

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.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

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.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • I wear my sunglasses at night.
  • Ich trage nachts meine Sonnenbrille (try to sing it… it’s ridiculous)
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

  • I put down my glasses.
  • Ich setze meine Brille ab.
  • Practice pronunciation – click once to start recording and again to stop

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.

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