Meanings

1.
to apply
(ONLY in the sense of smearing something onto something. Think of creme, lotion or paint.)
Value:
Opposite: abtragen
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2.
to serve
(ONLY in the sense of putting food on the table. Too epic for daily life, but you might find it in books.)
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3.
to give someone a task
("jemandem (Dat) etwas auftragen" - Sounds a bit "book"-ish. In daily life, the common verb is "beauftragen mit")
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4.
to make look "bigger"
(I niche term used if a piece of clothing makes you look more "wide" than you are in a negative sense. So not for gym bros.)
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The meaning of "tragen"

Vocab:

tragen, vertragen, ertragen, der Betrag, der Vertrag, der Auftrag, beauftragen, der Antrag, übertragen, träge, eintragen,...


Word Family

Root: *dhregh-

The core idea of this root was:

dragging (across a surface)

In German, it eventually changed to the idea of carrying (tragen). In English, it stayed closer to the original in the words to drag and to draw, the latter having focused on the pulling.

It is possible that the Latin trahere (to pull, to draw) also has ties to this root. Etymologists find it likely, but they don’t have enough evidence to call it “certain”.
trahere is the origin of a whole boatload of words:

  • train (“pulls”)
  • tract (“a course, a duration” – think of a line drawn)
  • contract (“pull together”)
  • retract (“pull back”)
  • subtract (“pull down”)
  • abstract (“pull away”)

Also likely but not 100 certain is a connection to the Germanic branch around trek, track and trigger.

Last but not least, etymologists speculate that also the verb trinken/to drink might belong to this family, with an original sense of “drawing into your mouth”. Think of someone drinking from a river, for example.

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