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German word of the day: Stimmung

Describe how you’re feeling with this versatile word.

German word of the day: Stimmung

Why do I need to know Stimmung?

Because it describes an essential aspect of the human experience.  

What does it mean?

Die Stimmung, which sounds like this, is the German word for “mood” or “atmosphere”. It’s an interesting and useful word which can be used to describe both the mood or psychological state of a person, as well as the general public mood, or the atmosphere of places or events.

You might hear people describe a party as having eine coole Stimmung (a cool vibe), or read about the Vebraucherstimmung (consumer mood or sentiment) in the business section of an Austrian newspaper. You might also hear a moody friend describe themselves as being prone to Stimmungsschwankungen (mood swings).

The noun Stimmung has a close link to music. It shares the same root as the word die Stimme, meaning voice, which originates from the ancient Greek word stoma (mouth). It also shares the root of the verb stimmen, which means to tune (a musical instrument) as well as the adjective stimmig meaning harmonious, or having the same voice.

Stimmung is still used in musical terminology to mean the correct tuning of an instrument.

Use it like this:

An diesem Ort herrscht eine geheimnisvolle Stimmung

This place has a mysterious atmosphere

Die Stimmung da war gestern richtig schlecht

The atmosphere there yesterday was really bad

Ein gesunder Körper hebt meine Stimmung

A healthy body lifts my mood

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For members


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. 

READ ALSO: How to remember the gender of German words

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, Austrians and 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