German word of the day: Die Sternstunde

German word of the day: Die Sternstunde
Germany's third World Cup win in 1990 could definitely be described as a 'Sternstunde' for the team. Photo: DPA
Life is filled with highs and lows, but today’s word of the day is for those moments too incredible to forget.

Winning a gold medal, reaching the summit of a mountain, coming top of your class – these are all life-defining achievements that will stay with you forever. 

In German, the word used to refer to these moments is die Sternstunde, which literally translates as ‘star hour’. 

The term is only used to describe events that shape someone’s life in a positive way, and normally suggests a turn for the better. 

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Die Sternstunde is said to have its origins in astrology. It is thought that the position of the stars at the time you are born determines your course of life. 

READ ALSO: From strict to starry: Discovering the original meaning of my German name

These ‘life-defining’ events are seen as milestones in your life path, or your ‘fate’ – which is written in the stars. 

It seems English speakers are a less superstitious bunch – their equivalent phrases have nothing to do with the mystery of outer space. 

Terms used to describe these moments range from ‘moment of glory’ to ‘finest hour’. The phrase most similar to the German, however, would be ‘shining hour’.

So, next time you achieve something great, be sure to count your lucky stars!

Example sentences: 

Susanna gewann bei den Olympischen Spielen von 2008 eine Goldmedaille, eine Sternstunde in ihrem Leben. 

Susanna won a gold medal at the Olympic Games in 2008, a great moment in her life. 

Die Verabschiedung des neuen Gesetzes ist eine Sternstunde der Demokratie.

The passing of this new law marks one of democracy’s finest hours. 

 

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