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

When someone turns 10, 20, 30, 40, 50... it is common in Germany to say that they are celebrating their "runder Geburtstag" which is usually celebrated in a larger way, inviting a larger circle of people, etc.

When I translate this into English, I usually say, "she is celebrating her rounded birthday" but I don't think people really understand that out of a German context.

Is there a common expression for this in English?

share|improve this question

put on hold as off-topic by Iris, Jan, Hubert Schölnast, Em1, Medi1Saif 2 days ago

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

6  
This is a very interesting question, but IMHO it's more about English than German Language and Usage. Maybe we get some more esp. colloquial variants from there, in addition to Takkat's nice answer? – tohuwawohu Oct 30 '11 at 9:21
1  
Fully agree with @tohuwawohu here. As people at ELU may not be able/willing to translate from German there still may be some additional or better ideas there. – Takkat Oct 30 '11 at 10:40
1  
No - it is not problem of the german term or language, but of the english term. Shall we translate German->French as well? German -> Latin, German -> Suaheli? It's off topic. -1 – user unknown Oct 30 '11 at 16:46
2  
@userunknown: When one side is German it's reasonably O.K. Read faq before downvoting the question you don't like. Translation questions are completely on-topic. – user508 Oct 30 '11 at 20:22
1  
@user508: The FAQ says: "Translations requests from German to English should be restricted to cases where a profound knowledge of German is needed for understanding a phrase or an idiom." As the brief summarization in the beginning of the question aptly demonstrates, the concept can be explained in a single English sentence, so no profound knowledge of German is required. – O. R. Mapper 2 days ago
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Best English match to "Runder Geburtstag" may be

Milestone birthday

Colloquial (where "runder Geburtstag" may also be used) we may say

The big four-O (or any other number)

share|improve this answer
    
I've only ever heard someone say "big <Number>-oh". I can't say I've ever heard someone say "milestone birthday", but I think it would be understood just as well. – Glenn Nelson Jun 23 '12 at 22:10

One (slang) of describing such a birthday is a birthday with a new "handle" (3-, 4,-, etc.)

This expression (and others connected with this question) is not all that common, probably because the basic idea is not as prevalent in America as in Germany.

share|improve this answer

I would recommend just saying she is celebrating her 30th birthday, 40th birthday, etc. and likewise Happy 40th Birthday, Happy 30th Birthday, etc. I believe we (Americans at least) tend to more use the number, then have a special term for every birthday in that category. People understand from the number that it is rounded, and, therefore, a more "special" birthday.

share|improve this answer

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