Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Still today the cliche of a German is being tall, blond and blue-eyed. Surprisingly the expression "blauäugig" is most often used with an obvious negative connotation:

Professor Otmar Issing, der ebenfalls die Regierung berät, kritisierte den Vorschlag als blauäugig und wenig erfolgversprechend.Süddeutsche Zeitung

Wenn Paare erfahren, dass sie ein Kind bekommen, werden sie meist ziemlich blauäugig. Sobald der Schwangerschaftstest positiv ist, scheinen dem Geldausgeben keine Grenzen mehr gesetzt.Spiegel

Zu glauben, damit wäre bereits alles ausgestanden, ist mehr als blauäugig.Focus

Are blue-eyed Germans different or may there be another origin of this expression? Do people with blue eyes feel discriminated by the usage of "blauäugig"?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

This comes from the fact that newborn do have blue eyes, without exception. Since newborn are obviously unacquainted with everything, blauäugig sein means to be naive, unexperienced and credulous.

Here is a quite good explanation which points out:

Blauäugig sein bezieht sich also auf die Unbedarftheit eines Kleinkindes.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Em1 already answered the origin of the word. I would like to comment on your question about discrimination:

Do people with blue eyes feel discriminated by the usage of "blauäugig"?

One could think that this is somewhat similar to blond people and the prejudice about them being stupid. But my perception is that "blauäugig" does not carry any assumption about grownup people with blue eyes. This is the reason why I would not feel discriminated against if I (still) had blue eyes. I am however well aware of the origin of the word (and the connection to newborns).

So I could imagine that people might have some idea that blauäugig is somehow connected to this "blondes are stupid" cliché because blond people often happen to have blue eyes.

share|improve this answer
    
For native Germans I guess the origin isn't that important. You (usually) early learn that blauäugig sein means being naive and thus you'll ever comprehend what is meant when saying that term. However for a non-native it might be or not might be helpful to connect the idea of blond hairs, dependent on their use of equivalents to both blond hairs and blue eyes. As said the blue-colored eyes are not only relevant to Germans but that does not necessarily imply that other nations/cultures do have an equivalent term in their language. –  Em1 Jul 26 '12 at 15:08
2  
Actually I know "blauäugig" only in the meaning of "naive". If I wanted to say someone is blue-eyed, I'd never say "er ist blauäugig" but "er hat blaue Augen" or "seine Augen sind blau". –  celtschk Jul 30 '12 at 15:41
    
I second that, would never use "blauäugig" to describe the physical property. Also, I have blue eyes myself and I don't feel discriminated or anything by the existence of the word. :) –  alexraasch Dec 28 '12 at 14:47
add comment

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.