I understand that the German noun Leibe translates to womb in English, but can make neither head nor tail of its possible meaning if used as an adjective. Here is the sentence it is used in:

Er muß sich selber sehr leibe gefühlt haben an dieser Stelle.

So, in English:

He must have felt very ____ himself at this point.

What is the meaning of this adjective? (Given the context which can be seen in the links I assume it may be some kind of pun.)

Full context here or here (first may require a sign-up). Many thanks.

1 Answer 1


Leibe (Leib) means Körper, can also be Bauch (compare: duden.de), but not generally womb. Ein Kind im Leibe tragen is poetic / antiquated language, it means to be pregnant, maybe heavy with child (or a similar expression).

On the other hand, in the given context (translation of the word womb), Leib isn’t such a bad translation. It could also be Mutterleib or Schoß.

In this case, the author uses the fictitious adjective leibe (as in sich leibe fühlen) to criticise the translator of that passage, maybe because he considers the choice of the word inadequate.

You could try womby for your fill-in-the-blanks.

This is the original passage:

In what posture?

Listener: reclined semilaterally, left, left hand under head, right leg extended in a straight line and resting on left leg, flexed, in the attitude of Gea-Tellus, fulfilled, recumbent, big with seed. Narrator: reclined laterally, left, with right and left legs flexed, the index finger and thumb of the right hand resting on the bridge of the nose, in the attitude depicted in a snapshot photograph made by Percy Apjohn, the childman weary, the manchild in the womb.

Womb? Weary?

He rests. He has travelled.


Sinbad the Sailor and Tinbad the Tailor and Jinbad the Jailer and Whinbad the Whaler and Ninbad the Nailer and Finbad the Failer and Binbad the Bailer and Pinbad the Pailer and Minbad the Mailer and Hinbad the Hailer and Rinbad the Railer and Dinbad the Kailer and Vinbad the Quailer and Linbad the Yailer and Xinbad the Phthailer.

And this is the write-up:

Das vorletzte Kapitel ("Ithaka"), im Stile eines wissenschaftlichen Katechismus geschrieben, endet mit einer der poetischsten Stellen der Literatur: Blooms kleiner und doch großer, großmütiger Geist sinkt weg in den Schlaf: "… der Kindmann müde, das Mannkind im Mutterschoß. Mutterschoß? Müde? Er ruht. Er ist gereist. Mit? Sindbad dem Seefahrer und Tindbad dem Teefahrer ..." So heißt es jetzt bei Wollschläger. Bei Goyert aber stand: "... der müde Kindmensch, das Menschkind im Leibe. Leibe? Müde? Er ruht. Er hat gereist. Mit? Sindbad dem Seefahrer und Tindbad ." Er muß sich selber sehr leibe gefühlt haben an dieser Stelle.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.