Meanings

1.
to turn on
(For “mid-sized” stuff like a TV, a heater, a washing machine. But definitely less common than "anmachen".)
Value:
Opposite: abstellen
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2.
to make a mess, to mischief
("etwas+Acc anstellen" - Mostly used for pets or kids after they messed something up, usually with a generic word like "etwas" or "nichts". NOT with the specific deed.)
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3.
to join a line, to queue up
("sich+Acc anstellen"... it's the moment of lining up. Waiting in line itself is called "anstehen".)
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4.
to employ
(Only in the sense of work employment. "einstellen" is the more common choice as a verb, but many related words are based on "anstellen". As for login, you can think of it as "activating" as well as "putting at" the machine :).)
Value:
Opposite: feuern
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5.
to go about something in a stupid/smart/… way or to act stupid/smart/… while performing a task
("sich+Acc anstellen" - comes in combination with adjectives like smart, dumb, skilled and similar.)
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6.
to make a fuss, act sissy, be a drama queen
("sich+Acc anstellen" ... colloquial. Usually in combination with "(nicht) so".)
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My Articles

German Prefix Verbs Explained - "anstellen"

A quick look at the five (5!!) completely different meanings of "anstellen" and how they all connect. Definitely one of the craziest German prefix verbs.


Prefix Verbs Explained - "anstehen"

A fun look at the various meanings of "anstehen" and what waiting in line has to do with manners and letters on a board.


Word Family

Root: *sta-
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