This comes from Schopenhauer's Über die Weiber:

Sonach hat die Natur das Weib, eben wie jedes andere ihrer Geschöpfe, mit den Waffen und Werkzeugen ausgerüstet, deren es zur Sicherung seines Daseyns bedarf, und auf die Zeit, da es ihrer bedarf; wobei sie denn auch mit ihrer gewöhnlichen Sparsamkeit verfahren ist. Wie nämlich die weibliche Ameise, nach der Begattung, die fortan überflüssigen, ja, für das Brutverhältniß gefährlichen Flügel verliert;

As far as I know the word "die Brut" means "the brood"/"the offspring" - correct me if I'm wrong.

Verhältnis seems to mean relationship. Can someone tell me what this word actually means in this context?

  • 3
    Verhältnis can also simply mean condition.
    – Janka
    Aug 27, 2017 at 4:48

2 Answers 2


In this context, Brutverhältniß—here still written with ß, but today written with s—means circumstance or condition of the breed. Nowadays, you would use the plural to express these meanings.

Side note: In English, the words circumstances and conditions both can be used with the prepositions in or under. In German, Verhältnisse usually occurs with in, whereas the synonym Bedingungen usually occurs with unter:

Er ist in schlechten Verhältnissen aufgewachsen.

Er ist unter schlechten Bedingungen aufwachsen.


The passage was talking about how "females" aim for the survival of the fittest in reproduction.

The last sentence translates: "And the female ant, as a result of the "begetting," will lose a dangerous wing, which, from then on, will become superfluous for the breeding-relation."

Das Brutverhaltnis, or "breeding relation" is what humans would call sexual relations (except that it works slightly differently for ants).

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