In another question, someone asked about the verb gönnen. In the follow-up discussion the question arose as to whether the prefixes variant vergönnen has the same nuances? Ludi suggests they are quite different:

I have been thinking about how to describe it. I will come back to you with more battery and a clearer definition, but let me say for now, that the meaning comes close to "allotted by God ", "granted by faith "... It is often seen in the negative: "Ihr waren keine Kinder vergönnt", "Eine solche Freude war ihnen nicht vergönnt"

I wonder if people would care to weigh in on this.


1 Answer 1


In all my years I had only heard this word in reference to fate, God and similar entities. Typical usages would thus be similar to those of "beschieden":

Es war mir nicht vergönnt sie wiederzusehen.

Es war mir nicht beschieden sie wiederzusehen.

describing things granted or allotted by fate (usually, though, things denied).

Yet lexical definitions had made me suspect that - at least originally - the meaning was much closer to that of "gönnen". Somehow I never investigated it, but the comment about the Yiddish verb reignited my interest! I prefer old fashioned search to the Internet and hadn't found anything today. Before preparing for bed I found this dictionary: Universal-Lexikon which lists examples for using "vergönnen" like "gönnen". I copy one:

Dies war das einzige Vergnügen gewesen, das der Kellner Chwostik sich von Zeit zu Zeit vergönnt hatte Doderer, Wasserfälle 30.

I note that both authors cited by that reference are Austrian, although I suspect - from lexical definitions - that this use was not limited to Austria in the past.

I shall provide more examples of usage if I discover them!

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