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Reading a children's book, I came across the sentence:

Julian wird etwas mulmig zumute.

Looking up the meaning of zumute on Duden and wiktionary, it seems that it means "feel", i.e. Julian started to feel a bit queasy. Somehow, I don't think that is the whole sense of it since both sources offers a much bigger explanation. Also, I would like to know what the overlap is with sich fühlen and spüren.

  • zumute is not often used. It is used to express the mood of a person. In this case the mood is mulmig. – Andie2302 Apr 14 '15 at 11:40
  • Imho, zumute or zu Mute (not sure which spelling is correct in which orthography) is used a lot in literature. – Jan Apr 14 '15 at 11:59
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The is no overlap with spüren (similar to percept or sense), which as a transitive verb would require an object. There is just a small overlap with fühlen, which can be used also transitively (then see spüren) or reflexively as in

er fühlte sich schlecht.

While fühlen is an up-to-date verb and can be flexibly used, zumute sein is dated, seldom used and if so, then just in few combinations (e.g. ängstlich, feierlich, elend). It describes a somehwat elusive character (more a mood as Carsten mentioned): You can't refer to exactly, what you are feeling (so a pain in the foot is definitely asking for fühlen or spüren instead), the feelings are just pulled into a specific direction.

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Can't be correct. »Zumute« is an adjective, »feel« is a verb. So »zumute« does not mean »feel«.

»Zumute« is something that you can be (»mir ist heute nicht nach Scherzen zumute) or that you can become (»Mir wird ganz seltsam zumute). Be aware, that you use dative »mir ist/wird«, not nominative »ich bin/werde«. »Ich bin zumute« and »Ich werde zumute« are wrong. »Mir ist (irgendwie) zumute« and »Mir wird (irgendwie) zumute« are correct.

»Jemandem ist/wird nach etwas zumute« means »somebody is/gets in/into the mood for something«:

Den jungen Männern war nach einem Kampf zumute.
The young men was in the mood for a fight.

Mir wird gerade nach etwas Abwechslung zumute.
Actually I get into the mood for some change.

»Jemandem ist irgendwie zumute« means »somebody feels somelike«:

Dem Lehrer ist ganz seltsam zumute.
The teacher feels strange.

  • 1
    Which part of the question does the first sentence answer? Please elaborate ;) – Jan Apr 14 '15 at 12:00
  • @Jan: Is replies to the first sentence of the third paragraph: »Looking up the meaning of zumute on Duden and wiktionary, it seems that it means "feel"«. Please read carefully :) – Hubert Schölnast Apr 14 '15 at 12:05
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    What I wanted to imply was that there is so much question, that Can't be correct can mean anything at first sight, so it would be good to say what can't be correct just for clarity ;) – Jan Apr 14 '15 at 12:09
  • @Jan: In all languages you have very often the situation, that a sentence without context makes no sense. This is why I gave you some context. You find it in the 2nd and 3rd sentence of the same paragraph. As I said: Please read carefully. And keep you brain turned on while reading.:) – Hubert Schölnast Apr 14 '15 at 12:18

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