German Lessons


How Embarrassing: "verlegen" as Adjective and Verb

Using the German adjective verlegen and the verb verlegen could lead to some embarrassing mix-ups if their meanings are not clearly understood. As you can see in this week's premiere episode of a new season of "Die Pfefferkörner," the meaning of the adjective verlegen is... embarrassed!


Um eine Ausrede bist du ja nie verlegen.
You are never embarrassed to make an excuse.
Caption 6, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche


The German verlegen is often also translated to English as shy, awkward, bashful, or as you see in its adverbial form in this video on Yabla:


„Ach so, hm“, meinte Frederick verlegen.
"Ah, so, hm," said Frederick sheepishly.
Caption 34, Piggeldy und Frederick: Das Lachen


On the other hand, the verb verlegen has to do with more concrete matters:


… um eine ganz normale Hartsteinbetonplatte, die wir verlegen.
… with a totally normal hard stone concrete panel that we are installing.
Caption 19, Schadstoffarme Straßen: Neue Gehwegplatten für reinere Luft


Hundert Jahre nachdem das berühmte Kinderbuch erschienen ist, hat der Regisseur die Story in den Zweiten Weltkrieg verlegt.
A hundred years after the famous children's book was published, the director
relocated the story to the Second World War.
Captions 35-37, Kinotipp: Battleship und Unter Wölfen


The verb verlegen can also be translated as to publish, postpone, or evacuate. The German word for "publisher," which you see in nearly every German book, is der Verlag. Here you can easily see the connection to the verb verlegen.


Further Learning
For some advanced learning on the topic, go to the online Wiktionary and see some other examples of verlegen in context and some other related words.


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