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).
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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.
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!