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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

German word of the day: Blauäugig

Today’s word of the day doesn’t just refer to the colour of your eyes - it can also be used to describe your behaviour.

German word of the day: Blauäugig
You don't need blue eyes to be blauäugig. Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Kenny Louie

Literally translated, the German word blauäugig means ‘blue eyed’, but in everyday use, this adjective can have an entirely different meaning. 

People that are dubbed as blauäugig are typically thought to be naive or gullible. They are prone to believing things without questioning them or indulging in impossible fantasies. 

As many children are born with blue eyes by default, the adjective ‘blue eyed’ became associated with the assumption that children are naive due to their lack of life experience. 

Gullible behaviour is not limited to those with blue eyes, however, or indeed to children – many with blue eyes develop brown or green eyes as they grow, but they too can still be prone to episodes of die Blauäugigkeit (naivety).

The colour blue can be found in other German phrases, too:

The phrase das blaue von Himmel versprechen, which translates literally as ‘to promise the blue from the sky’, refers to making promises you cannot keep. 

What is more, the phrase ein blaues Wunder erleben, which translates literally as ‘to experience a blue wonder’, is used when someone receives an unpleasant surprise.

The use of colour is not just limited to blue, either: it something is said to be im grünen Bereich (in the green zone), then it means that things are going well. 

Examples:

Die Ideen des Politikers waren sehr blauäugig.

The politician’s ideas were very naive. 

Julia hat alles geglaubt, was Stefan ihr erzählt hat – wie blauäugig!

Julia believed everything that Stefan told her – how naive!

 

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GERMAN WORD OF THE DAY

German word of the day: Isso

Perhaps you've seen this word on social media and you're not sure what it means. Let us explain...

German word of the day: Isso

Why do I need to know isso?

Because it’s a nice colloquial expression to use if you’re feeling a little lazy since it combines a few words. It was also one of Germany’s favourite youth words back in 2016, although it’s definitely not particularly cool anymore and is used by all ages

What does it mean?

Isso is derived from the statement: ist so (short for es ist so) meaning ‘it’s like this’ or ‘it is so’ in English. When used as a response to someone’s statement, it usually means you completely agree. A good translation is: ‘right on!’, yes, that’s exactly right!’ or ‘it’s true!’.

You can also use the expression yourself to emphasise your thought. In this case you’d add it on at the end of your sentence. You often find isso used on Twitter, when someone is quoting a Tweet.

It can also be used in a more downbeat form accompanied by the shrugging of your shoulders. In this case you’re saying isso, because it can’t be helped, it’s the way it is. 

Use it like this: 

– Wir müssen gegen steigende Mietpreise in Berlin demonstrieren.

– Isso! 

– We have to protest against rising rents in Berlin. 

– That’s exactly right!

Frauen sind die besten Autofahrer, isso!

Women are the best drivers, it’s true.

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