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I'm trying to figure out how to translate the idiomatic expression "Bless his (little) heart" into German. The general sense is: "He meant well, but, wow, was that ever dumb!" I don't think the literal translation segne sein Herz will work here.

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This guy thought he'd be able to translate an idiom into german....bless his heart ;) –  emaltman May 1 '14 at 15:19
Mal nachgeschlagen? Wo? –  user unknown May 2 '14 at 1:40

3 Answers 3

I would translate it as:

Er hat es ja gut gemeint.

He meant well (but).

to quote the other response:

Der Arme hatte es gut gemeint.

or passive:

Es war ja gut gemeint.

It was meant well (but).

I'd never use 'Gott' in that expression. God no. :-)

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It will depend; as a parenthesis of sorts "Gott segne ihn" should work. If you want a full sentence, I'd suggest "es war ja gut gemeint, aber ... " oder "er hat es ja gut gemeint".

Do you have a fuller example?

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For instance: "He thought he could iron his pants while wearing them, bless his heart." –  aeismail Apr 30 '14 at 21:10
I don't think there's a good translation in this particular case. I'd go with "stell dir das vor" (go figure, imagine that) or something along these lines. –  Ingmar May 1 '14 at 5:56

How about ending it with "..., der Arme" or something along those lines?

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Welcome, Brian. We prefere more elaborate answers. You might want to edit what you wrote. –  c.p. May 5 '14 at 19:58
Whoever downvoted, he/she could also be nice and explain why (we might suspect why, but the new user doesn't). –  c.p. May 5 '14 at 20:44
I think this fits best the meaning of the idiom –  RRZ Europe May 6 '14 at 10:10

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