I've tried to look for it and I found out a strange result:



http://www.wordreference.com/deen/gelegen I pperf → liegen



The first word should mean opportunity, but if I'm not wrong its etymology comes from to lie.

Is it correct?

  • 2
    You should include the main points of a link, just in case the target site goes down. – Vogel612 Apr 2 '14 at 22:53

Yes. You can think of "Gelegenheit" as something that lies along your path and you can pick it up. The actual evolution of "gelegen" was from "lying close to you" to "lying conveniently close to you" to "convenient".

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Even though Emanuels answer pretty much says it all, I looked it up on dwds.de:

mhd. gelegenheit 'Art und Weise, wie etw. liegt, Lage, Stand (der Dinge), angrenzendes Land', in frühnhd. Zeit dann (wie Lage) die 'Verhältnisse, in denen sich jmd. oder etw. befindet'

Which roughly translates as

Middle High German gelegenheit 'the way something lies, location, status (of something), bordering country', later in Early Modern High German 'circumstances, someone or something is in'

But even more interesing is the verb gelegen:

mhd. gelegen 'benachbart, zur Hand, passend, verwandt'
Middle High German gelegen 'neighbouring, at hand, conventient/suitable, related

So something that is gelegen is something that is convenient. So Gelegenheit could be a situation that comes is convenient/suitable.

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  • I think the most significant part is "Aus ‘nahe gelegen, benachbart’ entwickelt sich die Bedeutung ‘bequem, passend’." which you, unfortunately, haven't quoted, although you highlighted the meaning passend. – Em1 Apr 3 '14 at 12:40

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