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What does Verhältnis actually mean?

Verhältnis means ratio

I know that the verb halten means to hold.

Is there any subtle relationship between the verb halten and Verhältnis and ratio?

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Related: Check the "Herkunft" section of Duden –  Baz Oct 4 '13 at 13:53
    
You want to understand “verhalten” first. –  Carsten Schultz Oct 4 '13 at 13:56
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As a side note: "Ein Verhältnis" can also be "an affair". ;) –  insertusernamehere Oct 4 '13 at 14:05
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2 Answers

The noun Verhältnis is a derivative of the verb sich (zu etwas oder jemandem) verhalten. (In contrast, the noun Verhalten is another derivative of sich verhalten but concerns the usage without zu etwas oder jemandem.)

Verb and noun express a relationship in general. In detail this can mean:

  • an affair (Only in case of the noun Verhältnis. The corresponding verb would be ein Verhältnis haben.)
  • a familial/professional/whatever relationship between persons
  • a ratio or abstract relationship between numbers, quantities, structures, … for example the ratio of 2 numbers, 2/3, or the orthogonality of straight lines.
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another question : why does not beziehung mean a ratio as verhaeltnis , vielen dank im voraus –  iye Oct 4 '13 at 15:02
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@iye ad 1) another question, ad 2) why should it? Beziehung is "only" relationship between something (can also be between objects) –  Vogel612 Oct 5 '13 at 0:34
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There is.

verhalten is used if something is in relation with something else. Have a look at this recipe:

3 Teile Mehl
2 Teile Zucker
1 Teile Milch
1 Teil Butter

Here the *Verhältnis flour, sugar, milk and butter is 3 : 2 : 1 : 1 (3 zu 2 zu 1 zu 1 not sure if its possible to say like this).

One might say

Mehl verhält sich zu Zucker wie 3 zu 2.
Wie verhalt sich 3 zu 2?
3 ist anderhalbmal so groß/viel wie 2.
Man braucht anderthalbmal soviel Mehl wie Zucker.

Okay fine. There might be better examples but nevertheless. It might help.

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