"Gemütlichkeit" has been voted “most beautiful German word” by foreigners in a recent survey. It describes an atmosphere of comfort, peace and acceptance.

meaning: atmosphere of comfort, peace and acceptance

First of all: don’t be fooled by dictionaries that try to tell you that Gemütlichkeit is merely a translation of the English word “coziness.” There is much more to the feeling of Gemütlichkeit than sitting on a the sofa in your comfy clothes. 

The word is better defined as a state of being completely at peace and rest in a pleasant surrounding, optimally with the people you have the deepest connection to. Like enjoying some Warsteiners in your Stammkneipe with your best friends while not worrying about the imminent hangover because you’ll have frei tomorrow. Or simply having a cup of hot chocolate in your well-heated living room while watching Tatort… Everybody seems to have their own interpretation of Gemütlichkeit, which is probably a crucial factor as to why the word has won the vote for “most beautiful German word” in a survey conducted by the “Deutsch Perfekt” magazine. 

Interestingly enough, the second place was given to the word Schmetterling—which came as kind of a surprise to me. After all, compared to its international counterparts (butterfly, papillon, mariposa) it has the reputation of sounding notoriously ungemütlich.


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