Meanings

1.
to put on/at
(In the sense of putting something so that it's "at" something else. Like a shelf on a wall or a sticker onto a bottle.)
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2.
to add
(For spices and other ingredients. A bit colloquial. Cookbooks tend to use "hinzugeben" or something similar but in normal kitchens, "ranmachen" is perfect.)
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3.
to hit on somebody
("sich+Acc ranmachen an ". This is about getting closer, trying to move to first base, so it's a bit more aggressive than just "anmachen".)
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German Prefix Verbs Explained - "anmachen"

"anmachen" is one of the most useful prefix verbs. Today, we'll explore the various meanings and see what connects them all. Also: ranmachen.


Word Family

Root: *mag-

The core idea of this root was:

kneading, fitting

And its main field of use originally was “kneading” clay to build a house.
The sense has broadened a lot in the verb to make, but the original sense is still visible in most of the other relatives.

  • mass (originally: “unshaped lump of matter”)
  • match (originally: “masses fitting well”)
  • magma (originally: “thick dough like matter”)
  • among (originally: “kneaded together”)
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