German Word of the Day: Das Kopfkino

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 19 Nov, 2018 Updated Mon 19 Nov 2018 08:24 CEST
image alt text

It’s well known that Germans can be rather literal. Yet when they refer to their Kopfkino, or ‘head cinema’, they’re referring to those mental images which imagine how events will unfold.


Our Kopfkinos are where all our hopes and fears create dramatic narratives for us to spectate, whether we want to or not.

Kopfkino scenarios may be fun and indulgent. You could watch in your head how your boyfriend finally proposes at a candlelit dinner with a bouquet of the reddest roses.  

But they can also be upsetting; you may envisage your impatient boss firing you because you’re late to work for the third time that week.

And unlike real-life films, Kopfkino movies are hard to switch off. It’s much harder to walk out of your mind than to walk out of an actual cinema.

SEE ALSO: These 9 German words perfectly sum up being in your 20s

Ein tolles Buch sollte das Kopfkino des Lesers anregen.

A great book should inspire the reader’s imagination.

Er fand sein Kopfkino sehr beunruhigend.

He found his mind’s eye very troubling.


Do you have a favourite word you'd like to see us cover? If so, please email our editor Rachel Stern with your suggestion.




The Local 2018/11/19 08:24

Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also