German phrase of the day: Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund

This phrase is for those who naturally love to wake up early in the morning.

German phrase of the day: Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Directly translated to “The morning hour has gold in its mouth,” this phrase means that those who wake early in the morning are rich with time and opportunity.

This saying imparts the wisdom of waking up early in the morning and implies that those who do so are successful. 

This phrase also exists in Dutch (“Morgenstond heeft goud in de mond”), and has a similar meaning to “Early bird catches the worm,” although the Germans have a direct translation for that as well: “Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm.” 

‘Dawn is a friend of the muses’

Erasmus von Rotterdam, one of the most influential scholars of the northern Renaissance, wrote this phrase to encourage his students in Holland, advising that the best work one can do is often in the earliest hours of the day.

READ ALSO: 12 colourful German expressions that’ll add swagger to your language skills

The linguistic origin of this phrase comes from the Latin “aurora habet aurum in ore.” Another similar Latin adage captures a similar message: “Aurora musis amica” translates to “Dawn is a friend of the muses.” Inspiring ideas, creativity, and productivity perhaps come to those who awake early. 

An English version of this phrase was uttered often by Benjamin Franklin, founding father of the United States, who was quite famous for espousing the benefits of waking early in the morning. 

This phrase also stirs up an image of a beautiful orange sunrise, one that is so beautiful that it seems as though the heavens are briefly smiling upon those who greet the day so early. 

A sunrise at the Kronsberg hill in Lower Saxony in late November. Photo: DPA

Getting the German sun while it lasts

Although it’s much lighter in the spring and summertime, sunlight in the wintertime can be somewhat of a rarity in a northern European country such as Germany. Anyone who has endured a German winter is well-acquainted with the trying months between fall and spring and has intimate experience with the scarcity of sun. 

According to the German Weather Service, Berlin experienced an average of only 1.5 hours of sunshine per day in December 2019. If the sun actually peeks behind the layer of grey clouds that seems to cloak much of Germany throughout the winter months, it must be soaked up.

A precious hour or two of sun may indeed do wonders for one’s Vitamin D intake, and quite literally may make one feel as if they inherited gold.

Looking to soak up more German sun? It is best to head south, as the German Weather Service reports that the sunniest German states are Baden-Württemberg, Saarland, and Rhineland-Palatinate.

READ ALSO: Berlin sunniest, Frankfurt warmest in Germany’s hottest year on record

Yet our Western go-go-go culture may pressure you to jump start the day in the wee hours of the morning, there is absolutely no proof that waking up early actually improves productivity levels. There is, however, research that shows what makes someone an early bird or a night owl is determined by our inherited genetic material. 

Science aside, mention this German phrase to your favourite early-riser and they’ll be sure to agree!


Wenn du morgen viel zu tun hast, wach am besten um fünf Uhr morgens auf. Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund!

If you have a lot to do tomorrow, it is best to wake up at 5:00 am. Early bird catches the worm!

Das Licht des frühen Morgens ist so schön und inspiriert mich, produktiv zu sein! Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund!

The early morning light is so beautiful and inspires me to be productive. The mornings are golden!.

Member comments

  1. The picture “An early bird enjoying the sunset in Dresden on Wednesday morning. Photo: DPA”. The sunset shall be sunrise, right?

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German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

Anyone struggling with learning German (or any big skill) could use this popular piece of reassurance.

German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

Why do I need to know this?

If you’re getting down on yourself for not doing something you are still learning just right – be it playing the piano or speaking German – you can gently comfort yourself with this phrase. Or you can confidently cite it to reassure your perfectionist friend or family member that they are indeed making great strides towards their goal.

What does it mean?

Literally translated as “There is still no master which has fallen from the sky,” the expression gets the idea across that no one is born – or comes pummeling down from the heavens – as an expert at something.

Rather they become a Meister (or at least halfway decent) through continuous hard work and discipline. 

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The saying is similar to the also widely used “Übung macht den Meister” (Practice makes the master) or the English version: Practice makes perfect. 

Not surprisingly, Germans – who pride themselves on industriously reaching their goals – have several other equivalent sayings. They include “Ohne Fleiß kein Preis” (There’s no prize without hard work) and “Von nichts kommt nichts” (Nothing comes out of nothing).

Where does it come from?

The popular phrase can be traced back to the Latin “Nemo magister natus”, or no one is born a master. Another version is “Nemo nascitur artifex” or no one is born an artist. This explains why so many languages have similar expressions.

What are some examples of how it’s used?

Sei nicht so streng mit dir selbst. Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. No one is born perfect. 

Mein Trainer sagte, es sei noch kein perfekter Schwimmer vom Himmel gefallen.

My coach said that no one is born a perfect swimmer.

READ ALSO: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust