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German word of the day: Bereit

Be ready to learn this helpful German word.

German word of the day: Bereit
Photo: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Why do I need to know this word?

Because it’s an adjective which is used a lot in German and it also forms part of many other words. Knowing what it means will help you to figure out the definition of other words and broaden your vocabulary.

What does it mean?

Bereit, which sounds like this, means “ready” in English and it is used in almost exactly the same way to express being mentally or physically prepared for an experience or action. Linked to this feeling of preparedness is the other meaning of bereit in German: the adjective can also mean “willing”.

The origin of the word is thought to derive from the verb reiten meaning “to ride” and originally meant something like “to be prepared for the ride”.

Bereit in other words

Adding the letter ‘s’ to the end of bereit changes the meaning to “already” and can be used like this:

Das habe ich dir bereits gesagt!

I already told you that!

Bereit can also be found in many other adjectives, to express readiness or willingness to perform a certain action, for example, hilfsbereit means “ready to help”, arbeitsbereit means “ready to work” and einsatzbereit means “ready for service”.

Bereit also appears in a lot of German verbs which include some sense of readiness. One example is the separable verb vorbereiten, meaning “to prepare”. The verb bereitstellen meaning “to provide” (literally “to put ready”) is another useful verb to know.

Use it like this:

Ich bin bereit, dir zu helfen

I’m willing to help you

Der Zug steht zur Abfahrt bereit

The train is ready for departure

Bitte halten Sie ihre Kundennummer bereit

Please have your customer number ready

Member comments

  1. Thank you, Sarah, for bringing us these very helpful words. I like to try using them with my friends. It brightens their day. LOL

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German word of the day: Kneipe

This is a spot you might visit at the end of the working day - or Feierabend.

German word of the day: Kneipe

Why do I need to know Kneipe?

Because you may be invited to one or need to find one on the map. 

What does it mean?

Die Kniepe, which sounds like this, is the name for a pub in German where people gather to drink beverages. This isn’t a fancy cocktail bar – it’s a neighbourhood watering hole, and forms part of the make-up of towns and cities across Germany. It’s usually unpretentious, often small and in some places – like Berlin – it can be smoky. In that case, you might see a a Raucherkneipe (smoking pub) sign on the door or window. 

The word has been around since the 18th century and is an abbreviation of Kneipschenke. A Kneipschenke was a super-cramped premise where guests had to pack in and sit squeezed together.

The noun Schenke is a tavern, while Kneipe is said to come from the verb kneipen meaning “to press together” or “be close together”, which has been documented in Middle German and is a loanword from the Middle Low German word knīpen. That word is related to High German’s kneifen, which means “to pinch”. 

Kneipen don’t always have the best reputation. You might also get some suspicious looks if you crash a very local Kneipe that is used to only serving regulars or Stammgäste. But they are usually friendly and charming, and give an insight into life in Germany. So perhaps ask your German friends for a tip on a cool Kneipe to visit. Just don’t expect the staff to speak English like you usually find in hipster bars! 

If you’re hungry, keep in mind that Kneipen usually don’t serve food. Pubs that do serve hot food are more likely to be called a Wirtschaft or Lokal.

You can also do a pub crawl (eine Kneipentour machen) if you can handle the amount of booze (or switch to non-alcoholic drinks). 

How to use it:

Treffen wir uns am Freitag nach Feierabend in der Kneipe.

Let’s meet in the pub on Friday after work finishes.

Ich gehe mit den Jungs in die Kneipe.

I’m going to the pub with the lads.