German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I want to translate (something like) the following:

Chris, in his infinite wisdom, has...

In English, in so.’s infinite wisdom is a sarcastic way of saying that you think what someone did was stupid.

Would the correct translation be something like:

In seiner unendlichen Weisheit hat Chris...

or is this untranslatable, in which case, is there another German idiom which means something similar?

share|improve this question
    
Is it really sarcasm or rather "irony"? – user20884 Mar 20 at 8:33
1  
I'm pretty sure this is sarcasm, @user20884, but if you can draw up some stuff (dictionary definitions) as to why it could be irony, that'd be great! – digitalis_ Mar 20 at 10:57
up vote 15 down vote accepted

In seiner unendlichen Weisheit is correct and idiomatic, i.e., it is actually used by native speakers. However, there are two other idiomatic alternatives you might want to consider:

  • In seiner nicht enden wollenden Weisheit: Nicht enden wollend  liteally means not wanting to end and thus the phrase almost means the same as your suggestion. The slight difference is that nicht enden wollend implies that Chris’ has a history of doing stupid things – his current action demonstrates that he is yet undepleted as a source of wisdom stupidity.

  • Die Weisheit mit Löffeln fressen: This literally means to eat wisdom with spoons. It can be used ironically and non-ironical (in which case it is often negated). Temporally, you first eat the wisdom and then act because of it. You might use it in your example sentence as follows:

    Chris hat die Weisheit mit Löffeln gefressen: Er hat …

    Chris, der die Weisheit mit Löffeln gefressen hat(te), hat …

share|improve this answer
3  
Personally, I’d prefer another variant: in seiner/ihrer unergründlichen Weisheit. It is less common than unendlich according to Google, though. – chirlu Mar 19 at 20:18
    
@chirlu: Why don’t you make it another answer? – Wrzlprmft Mar 19 at 21:06
    
Does using 'hatte' instead of 'hat' change the meaning subtly? I might guess that 'hatte' implies that this particular action was stupid, whereas 'hat' would mean that this person has a track record of doing stupid things. – digitalis_ Mar 20 at 11:02
    
@digitalis_: Without further context: no. I don’t want to exclude the possibility of a context where it does make a difference, but I cannot think of one right now. – Wrzlprmft Mar 20 at 11:29

"In seiner unendlichen Weisheit" is exactly correct and expresses the intended sarcasm.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.