I've just seen an election poster which says "Verantwortung und Augenmaß" which literally translates into "Responsibility and quick'n'dirty measurement".

What does it mean in a political context?

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  • 8
    Note that "quick'n dirty" has a sense of sloppiness that Augenmaß does not (necessarily) have. It aims for good judgement, whether you talk about physical measurements or use the term in a metaphorical sense.
    – Stephie
    Feb 18, 2016 at 7:20
  • 1
    quick'n'dirty measurement in politics? come on
    – Alex
    Feb 18, 2016 at 14:50
  • 1
    @Alex I see what you did there...
    – OddDev
    Feb 18, 2016 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


Augenmaß has two meanings, here the second fits:

  1. Fähigkeit, in angemessener Weise zu handeln; Besonnenheit, Umsicht
    das rechte Augenmaß verloren haben
    Politik mit Augenmaß (Besonnenheit, Realitätssinn)

So a very rough translation would be
"Responsibility and a sense of good judgement/appropriateness"

  • Ah, easy as that :) I felt like "Yeah, that fits somehow... but why?" It's clear now - thanks.
    – OddDev
    Feb 18, 2016 at 7:21
  • 1
    @OddDev it might be related to to eyeball: To measure or estimate roughly by sight
    – overactor
    Feb 18, 2016 at 11:50
  • i feel like both meanings dont fit :)
    – Alex
    Feb 18, 2016 at 14:53
  • 1
    @Alex That's just because you know politicians... Feb 19, 2016 at 3:19
  • While (very) close, 'Augenmaß' has a more professional co-notation than 'eyeballing' - Which roughly translates to 'Schätzen'
    – tofro
    Feb 20, 2016 at 7:37

"Augenmaß" means:

Just enough to reach the target, but not more as necessary. Easy said, the people want "bread and circuses", give it to them and they calm down.

In political context, it tells that i.e. the government will provide a service which is close to current needs.

Like initiating the infrastructure for free Wifi in city centres. This of course will be handled by telecommunication companies, but the people of a city asked their local politician for something like that, because the politician is closer to the base of people and easier to reach out.

  • 1
    I've downvoted this because it seems to be more a guess about what politicians actually mean when they say it than what the phrase actually means.
    – sgf
    Feb 3, 2017 at 11:46
  • 1
    No, it does not mean "the bare minimum". We are discussing language, not politics. And from a language perspective, this answer is plain wrong.
    – Stephie
    Feb 3, 2017 at 13:36
  • What does it mean in a political context? it is asked in a political context, or am I wrong?
    – Chris
    Feb 3, 2017 at 14:37
  • Well, no, but you're not telling us what it means in a political context in general, you're making guesses as to what politicians actually mean when they say it. That's not the same thing
    – sgf
    Feb 3, 2017 at 19:39
  • Tough crowd you are...
    – Chris
    Feb 3, 2017 at 19:41

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