World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000219662
Reproduction Date:

Title: Gemütlichkeit  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Did you know nominations/Charivari (Gruber), Heuriger, Bavarian Schuhplattlers of Edmonton, Jefferson, Wisconsin, Quality time
Collection: German Words and Phrases, Sociological Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Gemütlichkeit (German pronunciation: ) describes a space or state of warmth, friendliness,[1] and good cheer. Other qualities include coziness, peace of mind, belonging, well being, and social acceptance. The term is most commonly associated with the tenor of a German beer garden.[2]


  • History and etymology 1
  • Similar words in other languages 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes and references 4
  • External links 5

History and etymology

Gemütlichkeit derives from gemütlich, the adjective of Gemüt, which means "heart, mind, temper, feeling" expressed by (and cognate with) English mood. The German abstract noun Gemütlichkeit has been adopted into English.[3] The current meaning of the word derives from its use in the Biedermeier period. By the second half of the 19th century, it also became associated with a set of traits supposedly unique to Germans and German culture. In the United States, the city of Jefferson, Wisconsin uses the phrase: "The Gemütlichkeit City" as its motto.[4]

The word can be used in descriptions of holidays.[5] In the 1973 English contract law case Jarvis v Swans Tours Ltd, a holidaymaker sued after not receiving the Gemütlichkeit promised by the promotional literature for a package holiday to the Swiss Alps.

The communal connotations of Gemütlichkeit are also emphasized in some uses of the term. For example, one academic described it as a tradition of "public festivity" (in the form of a "mixture of music, food, and drink"), which "promote[d] community solidarity."[6] The Harlem Renaissance was then cited as of how a sense of Gemütlichkeit arises from a "mix of music, art and politics in service of community consciousness".[6]

Gemütlichkeit has been appropriated at least once to describe the tenor of an economic era rather than spirit of a social gathering. In analysing the "inflation dampening effects of [7]

Similar words in other languages

English has no direct translation for Gemütlich or Gemütlichkeit. Cosy captures an element of it but crucially lacks those of friendliness and belonging. Stemming from the Scottish Gaelic word còsagach, cozy means "1 Full of holes or crevices. 2 Snug, warm, cosy, sheltered. 3 Spongy", according to Edward Dwelly's Scots Gaelic - English dictionary.[8]

The English author Chesterton mentioned Gemütlichkeit in his 1906 book on Charles Dickens. In the first half of the seventh chapter on "English comfort" he wrote that "... the thing you cannot see out of Germany is a German beer-garden", a venue which is the very epitome of Gemütlichkeit in that nation. Later, seeking to define what he regarded as a peculiarly English quality captured in the chapter title English comfort, he continued, "The word "comfort" is not indeed the right word, it conveys too much of the slander of mere sense; the true word is "cosiness," a word not translatable."[9] Indeed, it is no direct synonym for Gemütlichkeit.

The Swedish language equivalent is gemytlig, deriving directly from the German word and sharing its meaning.

The Danish also has gemytlig but uses hygge (hyggelig as an adjective) instead; descriptions of its use can be heard here:[10] Likewise, in Norwegian the word translates into "hyggelig", but the meaning is closer to the word "koselig" which means cozy, comfortable, nice, or pleasant.[11] The Dutch equivalent "gezelligheid" has broader social connotations than the German Gemütlichkeit and can be more accurately compared to the Danish "hygge".

In Bulgarian, the word is commonly translated as уют and in Russian, which means cosiness, comfort, contentment, ease, and carries almost identical connotations as the German word.[12]

The Romance languages with Latin roots do not have a single term expressing the many connotations of Gemütlichkeit: In French on se sent vraiment bien ici, se mettre à son aise, agréable, sympathique are equivalents in terms of the social aspects.[13] In Italian, comodità, aria di casa, tranquillità, familiarità and cordialità in reference to people might be used.[14] In Spanish agradable (agreeable), acogedor (inviting), cómodo (comfortable), or bonachón in reference to a person would be used,[15] and almost identical equivalents in Portuguese [16]

In Turkish two words, rahat and huzur, are used for Gemütlichkeit [17]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^
  2. ^ GEMÜTLICHKEIT The German Beer Garden Tradition Experiences A Resurgence
  3. ^ Soanes, C. and Stevenson, A. (ed.) (2007). Oxford dictionary of English.  
  4. ^ "Jefferson Chamber of Commerce | in Jefferson, WI". Retrieved 2013-09-10. 
  5. ^ Benjamin Lytal (2004-12-01). "Recent Fiction".  
    * Gemütlichkeit PONS Online-Dictionary
  6. ^ a b  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ "Dwelly's great Scots Gaelic - English dictionary". Dwelly's great Scots Gaelic - English dictionary, online version. 1911. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  9. ^ Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1906). "Charles Dickens". Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  10. ^ download"""Enjoying Winter with the Danish Concept of "Hygge.  
  11. ^ "translation Norwegian-Engish". Wiktionary. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  12. ^ "translation Russian-English". Wiktionary. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  13. ^ "Translations for Gemütlich in the German - French dictionary". Pons GmbH, Stuttgart. 2001–2014. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  14. ^ "Translations for gemütlich in the German - Italian dictionary". Pons GmbH, Stuttgart. 2001–2014. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  15. ^ "Translations for Gemütlich in the German - Spanish dictionary". Pons GmbH Stuttgart. 2001–2014. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  16. ^ "Translations for Gemütlich in the German - Portuguese dictionary". Pons GmbH Stuttgart. 2001–2014. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  17. ^ "Translations for Gemütlich in the German - Turkish dictionary". Pons GmbH, Stuttgart. 2001–2014. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 

External links

  • The dictionary definition of gemütlichkeit at Wiktionary
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.