Word of the Day – “die Langeweile”

Hello everyone,this smiley has Langeweile

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will take a look at the meaning of:

die Langeweile


As you are reading the Word of the Day right now you are far from having Langeweile, at least you were up to this point but let me tell you some facts about my kitchen cupboard. So my kitchen cupboard is hanging over my sink and my stove. It is about 1.3 m long and 0.8 m high and it has two folding doors.
These are made of  laminated fiber sheet while the rest of the cupboard is made of some sort of metal. It has 2 levels. I use the upper level for my frying pans, oil, honey, some tupper boxes, flakes and rusk… yeah rusk. In the lower level I store my pasta, rice, tea, nuts and all kinds of spices. One interesting spice I am using is called pepper, which I grind using a wooden pepper mill. This pepper mill is right next to the salt mill but don’t worry guys, the former has a little dark spot that allows me to distinguish it from the latter…
and …are you bored yet?
Because now you have Langeweile

Langeweile consists of the parts lange, which means long, and Weile, which is a while. And when does time usually seems to stretch aaand streeetch aaannnd strrrrreeeeetchhhh? Exactly, when you are bored out of your mind.  So Langeweile is the German word for boredom. Langeweile is used way more often than the English boredom, as it is used to indicate that you ARE bored. In German you can say

  • Ich habe Langeweile.
    “I have boredom. (literal)”
  • I am bored.

Of course there is also a word for boring and this word is langweilig. You can use it whenever somethings is boring.

  • Der Film ist langweilig.

It is also what the German Homer Simpson shouts by the way… ok he says it more like laaaaaangweilig.
Anyway, boring is considered such a basic characteristic that you can even use it with the German formula for expressing basic sentiments. Just like

  • Mir ist kalt.
  • I feel cold.
  • Mir ist warm.
  • I feel warm.

you can say

  • Mir ist langweilig.
  • I am bored.

But be careful. The subject is technically not I in that sentence. Mir is ich in case 3 suit so it is some object. The subject is the famous it. So suppose you have learned “Mir ist langweilig.” and now you want to ask your date whether he or she is bored, DON’T say this.

  • Bist du langweilig?

That means “Are you boring?”… well, this question is certainly one your crush hasn’t heard a lot before. The correct question would be:

  • Ist dir langweilig?
  • Are you bored?

Dir is the case 3 suit of du so this is what you need. Now if you don’t want to bother with all this and you want to make sure to avoid this obvious misunderstanding, you could also use the German word for bored – gelangweilt. 

  • Ich bin gelangweilt.
  • I am bored.

Now is there any difference between “Ich habe Langeweile“, “Mir ist langweilig.” and “Ich bin gelangweilt.”? They all seem to mean “I am bored” after all. Well, the first 2 are really pretty much the same but a phrasing with gelangweilt is indicating that you are bored by something particular, like a movie or a conversation, whereas the first 2 are expressing that you do not know what to do with yourself. The reason for that small difference is that gelangweilt directly comes from the verb langweilen, which means to bore. Just put ge in front and a t at the end and you get the ge-form gelangweilt. Langweilen is used on a regular basis in German. We use the phrasing “something bores me” a lot.

  • Meine Arbeit langweilt mich.
  • My work is boring.
    My work bores me. (literal.)
  • Mein Professor langweilt mich.
  • My professor is pretty boring.

Langweilen is also something you can do to yourself. In that case it means … well that you are bored yet another time. When would this phrasing be used?

  • “Wie war es auf der Konferenz?”
    “Oh, ich habe mich viel gelangweilt.”
  • “How was the conference?”
    “Oh, I was bored a lot.”

So whenever you hang around somewhere and you sort of do stuff but it is mainly boring to you, you can say it this way. But you don’t have to. Some conference might be boring, to express that fact in German sure isn’t thanks to the variety of ways to say a simple thing: I am bored.

  • Ich habe Langeweile.
  • Mir ist langweilig.
  • Ich bin gelangweilt.
  • Ich langweile mich.

Now how to say I am VERY bored? For the last 3 versions you can just add sehr to the sentence and you got it. This won’t work for the first one though. Why? Because this would literally be “I have very boredom.” It also won’t really work to say it in plural “I have boredoms” so what actually happens is that boredom gets bigger.

  • Ich habe große Langeweile.

And just a little bit of colloquial speech:

  • Ich habe tierisch Langeweile.
    “I have animal-like boredom. (Lit.)”
  • I am so/damn. bored.

To wrap this up let me tell you that what reason other than the meaning there is to remember Langeweile. It can improve your grammar. Remember the sound and the rhythm. Why? Because it it Lang-E-weile and not Langweile. It is this very e you need to add to every adjective as soon as it is in front of a noun. It is Die schön-E Frau  and not Die schön Frau, although the dictionary says schön. Automatically putting an e there will help you a lot later on and Langeweile is a good example for this.

Oh shit, I almost forgot the grammar. Langeweile is feminine and it has no plural. And done :).

So this was our Word of the Day, die Langeweile. If you have questions or suggestions, please drop me a comment. I hope you liked it and see you next time.

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