to (wrongly) believe
(Very rare, and ALWAYS used with a person as a direct object, often oneself.The most common phrasing is "sich in Sicherheit wähnen" which is about thinking you're save when you're actually not really. )
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Word of the Day - "der Wahnsinn"

A quick look at the meaning of "der Wahnsinn" and how to use it and its relatives in conversation. Special mention: erwähnen :)


der Wahnsinn, der Wahn, wahnsinnig, der Verfolgungswahn, wähnen, erwähnen

Word Family

Root: *wen-

The core idea of this root was:

desiring, striving

This is fairly visible in the English relatives to wish and to win, one being about desire and the other about the result of striving.
We can also see it in the Latin venus, which meant beauty, love, desire, and which is the origin of words like venerable and veneration. And also, believe it or not, venom, which originally referred to… a love potion.

Last but not least, we have the verb to wean, which is about “making accustomed” a which is basically a “soft” form of “make someone desire something”.

This is where the German wohnen is from, which shifted from “place I am used to” to “to love, to inhabit”, while the older sense of weaning is still alive in the word gewöhnen.

Here’s a (incomplete) list of English relatives:

  • to wean (“make want”)
  • to win (“result of wish and strive”)
  • to wish (“desire”)
  • Venus (“beauty, desire”)
  • venom (“love potion, seduction”)
  • -wynn (“desire”, old Germanic rune)
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