German Lessons


The Adjective Übel

The adjective übel in German has a number of translations, both alone and in various idiomatic contexts. First of all, it can mean "queasy," "sick to one's stomach," or "nauseated": 


Davon wurde manchem übel.

Some people became sick to their stomachs from that.

Caption 13, Deutsche Welle - Was ist das Reinheitsgebot?

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It can also be used colloquially to express dislike of something, and means "bad," "objectionable," or "over the top."


Na ja, vielleicht ist es ja gar nicht so übel.

Well, maybe that isn't that bad at all.

Caption 51, Küss mich, Frosch - Für immer Frosch?

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Auch diese ganzen Witze,

Also, all of these jokes,

auch vor allem, wie die Frankfurter sie sich über Offenbach ausdenken,

above all how those from Frankfurt come up with things about Offenbach,

die sind übel, ja?

they are over the top, right?

Captions 43-44, Badesalz - Offenbach gegen Frankfurt

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You also might hear the colloquial expression jemandem etwas übel nehmen. This means "to take something the wrong way" or "to hold something against someone."


Deshalb nimmt es Ihnen dort auch niemand übel,

That's also why no one there will hold it against you

wenn Sie es sich mal eben in einem der kostbaren Oldtimer bequem machen.

if you just make yourself comfortable in one of the valuable vintage automobiles.

Captions 6-7, Rhein-Main Ferien - Technische Sammlung Hochhut

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Further Learning
Although übel is not necessarily an adjective we hope you will have to use, you can practice using the word in its various contexts in case a relevant situation arises. Nimm es mir nicht übel = "Don't hold it against me."  Mir ist übel = "I am feeling nauseated."

Die Grippe and other winter ailments

Winter in Germany means it's cold season. Luckily, we at Yabla German have you covered if you find yourself needing to discuss your ailments in German.


With the lack of sunlight in regions of northern Germany, it's normal to feel a bit under the weather or have a low energy level in the winter months. 


„Frederick", jammerte Piggeldy, „ich bin schon ganz schlapp."

"Frederick," yammered Piggeldy, "I am already totally exhausted."

Caption 19, Piggeldy und Frederick - Der Himmel

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But sometimes being particularly exhausted can also be the sign of an impending cold. 


Sie leiden unter Erkältung oder bekommen sogar eine Grippe.

They suffer from a cold, or even get the flu.

Caption 3, Eva erklärt - Gesundheit

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Bei Husten oder Schnupfen kann man in der Apotheke Hustenbonbons oder zum Beispiel Nasentropfen kaufen.

If you have a cough or runny nose, you can get cough drops in the pharmacy or buy nose drops, for example.

Caption 23, Eva erklärt - Gesundheit

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In particular, nausea or fever can be a sign of the flu.


Davon wurde manchem übel.

Some people became sick to their stomachs from that.

Caption 13, Deutsche Welle - Was ist das Reinheitsgebot?

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Wenn man übermäßig schwitzt oder Schüttelfrost bekommt, sollte man auf jeden Fall mit einem Fieberthermometer Fieber messen.

If you sweat excessively or get the chills, you should definitely take your temperature with a thermometer.

Captions 31-32, Eva erklärt - Gesundheit

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The flu can luckily often be prevented with immunization, or die Impfung.


Bist du eigentlich gegen die Schweinegrippe geimpft?

Are you actually immunized against the swine flu?

Caption 24, Deutsche Musik - Thomas Godoj

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Further Learning
Watch the video Eva erklärt: Gesundheit in its entirety to get an overview of various symptoms and cures for winter ailments. If you already have a cold, we at Yabla wish you gute Besserung! Otherwise, bleib gesund!

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