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"Gemütlichkeit" ist für die Deutschen ein positives Wort aber es gibt nicht nur eine Erklärung für das Wort, Alle haben eine individuelle Lösung.

Here are my questions about the term:

  • I'd translate it to "a pleasant atmosphere", is it correct?
  • So, am I allowed to use the word for my work place or where ever I relax?
  • Does "ausruhen" fit "the pleasant atmosphere"?
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2 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

"Pleasant" is too general for my taste. Dict.cc gives the words "comfortable" and "cozy", which are better translations in my opinion.

Note also that "Gemütlichkeit" not only describes an atmosphere but also a state of mind, something like "laziness" but not so strong.

By using the word for your work place, you essentially say that you have (and use) the possibility to work less hard and slower than you could. So you better make sure your boss is out of earshot, because otherwise, he will certainly take measures to make your work less "gemütlich".

Maybe you know Disney's Jungle Book and the scene/song in which Baloo shows Mowgli his way of living. In the German version the chorus starts with "Probier's mal mit Gemütlichkeit". I think Baloo's life style is a good example of "Gemütlichkeit".

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+1 for Baloo :-) –  tohuwawohu Jul 21 '11 at 6:12
    
Are there dialectical differences in the usage of the word? I have learned German in Munich and to me "Gemütlichkeit" does not mean "laziness" at all. –  Stovner Jul 21 '11 at 8:28
    
@Stovner: I grew up in another part of Bavaria and live in Munich now. I don't think the meaning of "Gemütlichkeit" varies inside of Bavaria. I know that "laziness" is too strong a word, but in many respects "gemütlich" is the opposite to "stressig". –  Stefan Walter Jul 21 '11 at 8:53
    
"Gemütlichkeit" ist für die Deutschen ein positives Wort is in contrast to what you said about "laziness". –  user508 Jul 21 '11 at 9:12
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In Austria (and in my opinion) "Gemütlichkeit" has strong positive implications in most situations. But it also implies not being stressed at all, which in some situations can be viewed as a drawback. "Gemütlichkeit" at the work place will be viewed positively by the employees, but when work needs to be done and people still don't do it, then it can have a negative effect. –  Joachim Sauer Jul 21 '11 at 9:32
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Sounds to me like an appropriate word is relaxed or laid back. These are fine in the social setting but can be wrongly understood at work, (too) relaxed or (too) laid back

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Have a look at the Gemütlichkeit article on English Wikipedia. Would you like to expand on your Answer using that article as a reference? "Relaxed" or "laid back" do not cover it. As an adjective, gemütlich describes a person who is equal parts "good-natured" and "in a good mood", with "sociable", "genial", "jovial" and "unhurried" thrown in. Gemütlichkeit describes the quality of the social setting that arises when a number of gemütlich people come together. The workplace is never appropriate for an outbreak of Gemütlichkeit. –  Eugene Seidel Jul 14 '13 at 23:18
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