Tag Archives: common in german

Word of the Day – “gemein”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day.
This time, we’ll have a look at the meaning of

gemein

 

When you come across the word gemein in a text, for instance in the context of behavior, and you look it up in a dictionary, it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. You’ll get the translation mean (adjective) and if you ignore the ge-, which German is such a big fan of, the two actually look fairly similar. Nothing to see here.
For a second, you might wonder what mean behavior has to do with meanwhile and meantime. And by all means. And meaning.
But nah, it’s probably nothing.
English is full of weird similar spellings, you tell yourself. And you read on, ever so merrily. Until a few sentences later, you come across gemeinsam. And as you remember that it means together, it dawns on you… there’s more to gemein than it seems.
Much more in fact. Like… mindblowingly more.
So let’s jump right in :)