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Ich bin glücklich

can mean either "I am happy" or "I am lucky". Is "glücklich" the most common word for both meanings, or are there other words that can help make the meaning clearer?

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Very good question. I can remember ethics lessons in school, which just arose, because teacher and students didn't properly distinguish both meanings. –  Toscho Jan 23 at 8:06

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Well first of all you could use

Ich bin glücklich.

in both of these ways.

Still, if you want to say that you are lucky or someone is lucky you could also refer to

Er hat Glück. (He is lucky)
Ich habe Glück. (I am lucky)

This would be a slightly more clear way to state that he is lucky (not happy) in a game or something else for example.

Another way you could state this would be for example

Ich freue mich sehr über das neue Auto. (I am very happy about the new car)

I hope that helps. Feel free to ask anything further in the comments.

EDIT:

Let me make one thing a little bit more clear because I am not sure whether that is clear enough. Although it would grammatically be correct to say

Ich bin glücklich

in both of the two ways, you would not use this version if you really refer to lucky.

glücklich

is more about the feeling.

Glück

can be a feeling but it also can mean that you are lucky or have luck in a game.

Ich habe Glück im Spiel

would then mean that you are lucky in the game.

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1  
see: meta.german.stackexchange.com/questions/554/… on formatting. We usually don't use code indents for text formatting. –  Takkat Jan 23 at 9:25

While "glücklich" kann be used to refer to luck (eine glückliche Fügung = a fortunate coincidence), it usually means "happy", especially in a standalone-sentence.

Er ist glücklich = He is happy.

If you want to say that he is lucky, you'd usually use "Er hat Glück".

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This is not correct in that generality. Only the phrase glücklich sein is mostly used as happy. Example: Sie haben glücklich gewonnen. –  Toscho Jan 23 at 8:08
    
The adjective glücklich in general is used to denote "happy" much more often than "lucky": Die glückliche Braut, eine glückliche Ehe, er ist glücklich in seinem Beruf, er ist wunschlos glücklich, sie macht ihn glücklich, er kann sich glücklich schätzen, Geld allein macht nicht glücklich ... –  Ingmar Jan 23 at 9:30

You could also translate "happy" with "fröhlich" or "freudig". Glück or glücklich has different meanings. It can be a word for luck in context of randomness("ein glücklicher Zufall") or it can be in context of Happiness ("Lebensglück").

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