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So Hendrik answer on my question

"Senkenden Hauptes schlief sie langsam ein" — is this grammatically correct?

brought me back to the feared and famous Ablativus Absolutus (at least on my school mates). Wikipedia states that there are relics of it named as Genitivus Absolutus

stehenden Fußes, klopfenden Herzens...

But they are declared as stehende Ausdrücke. Means imho, you can use the known and only the known but are not allowed/animated to build new ones yourself like sinkenden Hauptes, which would be same grammatical structure as above examples.

In English it actually seems you are allowed to do this in form of the Nominative absolute with any noun and particple.

So is there a at most complete list of these german stehenden Ausdrücke you can use? Or maybe we can just put links/examples here in a cw? Im a true lover of the Genitiv and Ablativus Absolutus :)

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Ablativus Absolutus, thank you for bringing me back to school as well ;) Shouldn't it be "feststehende Ausdrücke", by the way? Interesting question anyway. –  OregonGhost Aug 3 '11 at 8:56
    
Does "zu jemandes Lebzeiten" belong here, or is that expression different somehow? –  Stovner Aug 3 '11 at 9:58
    
The language wasn't a gift from a god, but has been produced by former generations. What is a 'feststehender Ausdruck' today was new in the past. So I don't see, how somebody could prohibit us to invent new expressions, which will be fixed in 2 or 3 generations. –  user unknown Aug 3 '11 at 12:18
    
@user no gift?! Come on, i enjoyed reading Asterix in Latin :) You can probably not prohibit new inventing, but the Genitiv seems to have a very Middle Ages touch to most. Proof may be Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod :) –  Hauser Aug 3 '11 at 13:08
    
@oregon would be interested to know how many Latin Lovers we have here :) Good chance to remind on the Latin proposal area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/21061/latin-language-usage i fear that i have totally forgot most of it in some years... :( A Q&A site would really be the right method to prevent this –  Hauser Aug 3 '11 at 13:11
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1 Answer

Here are some expressions which are often used in German:

Expressing a mental or emotional state

ruhigen Gewissens

Markus gab seine Doktorarbeit ruhigen Gewissens ab.

heiteren Gemütes

Heiteren Gemütes betrat die Lehrerin das Klassenzimmer.

schweren Herzens

Schweren Herzens verließ der alte Mann sein Haus und zog ins Altersheim.

guten Glaubens

Frau Mayer hatte die Wertpapiere, die später nichts mehr wert waren, guten Glaubens gekauft.

frischen Mutes oder frohen Mutes

Frischen Mutes begab sich Karl auf die dreitätige Wanderung.

Expressing how you do something

sehenden Auges (leichtsinnig; obwohl man die Gefahr kommen sieht)

Sehenden Auges fuhr Hans mit seinem Auto gegen die Mauer.

erhobenen Hauptes

Die unterlegene Mannschaft, die sich tapfer geschlagen hatte, verließ das Spielfeld erhobenen Hauptes.

Expressing other circumstances

unverrichteter Dinge

Da das Fernsehteam keine Drehgenehmigung bekommen hatte, musste es das Land unverrichteter Dinge wieder verlassen.

As adverbial indication added to a sentence

meines Erachtens oder meines Wissens

Meines Wissens siedet Wasser auf 5000 m Meereshöhe bei ca. 80 °C.

des Weiteren

Des Weiteren verlange ich den Rücktritt von Trainer Müller.

seines/ihres Zeichens

Die Rede hielt Frau Gruber, ihres Zeichens Goldschmiedin.

leider Gottes

Leider Gottes muss ich jetzt aufhören.

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Also "frohen Mutes" –  pyvi Aug 3 '11 at 11:02
    
@pyvi thanks! updated the answer. btw, it's a community wiki, so feel free to edit and change this answer. –  splattne Aug 3 '11 at 11:23
    
Oh, didn't see CW line. Thanks for editing. –  pyvi Aug 3 '11 at 11:53
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