I received a funeral paper which is written in German, and I don't understand this sentence:

Wir gönnen ihr die Ruhe

I would literally translate this sentence by

We give her the rest

so I thought about something like

We let her rest in peace

but I'm really not sure.

  • 1
    That's what I did. Hence my translation, "we allow her to rest" seemed a bit harsh to me.
    – user33208
    May 27, 2018 at 9:36
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    @πάνταῥεῖ: Indeed, "we grant her the rest" expresses it quite nicely, although I find it a bit weird (also the German original) to find that in a funeral paper. Sounds rather cynical, IMO. May 27, 2018 at 9:50
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    @Rudy Well, sometimes even cynicism might be intended ;-). We shouldn't limit the possible interpretations and exact intend translation to what is publicly accepted to be nice. May 27, 2018 at 10:37
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    This hasn't to be cynical at all, if this is a person who lived a long and troublesome life, or had a last time in sickness, pain, and agony. Then this could indeed be a way to express that death comes as a relief. We should not think of our own sorrow in first hand, but of the benefit this was for the deceased.
    – Beta
    May 27, 2018 at 12:01
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    In this situation there is nothing to allow in a sense it wouldn't happen if one didn't allow. I read this as some sort of resignation rather than cynical. Perhaps this is too figurative but it has something of "it is unchangeable so let her/him go in peace, at least her/his pain is over now".
    – puck
    May 27, 2018 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


At the dictionary link I gave with my 1st comment, there are several possible translations listed for gönnen:

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You may notice that most of the translations are in conjunction with ... for oneself. Others using these terms for a person tend to sound harsh. And in that context, and it would be inappropriate.

The remaining terms are to grant, and not to begrudge, where the latter also sounds inappropriate.

Thus the probably best translation is

We grant her the rest

as originally proposed by @Rudy Velthuis.

Though for me

Wir gönnen ihr die Ruhe

could have a bit of cynical or sarcastic connotation (maybe because that person wasn't ever able to be restful with whatever during their lifetime).

The usual (and respectful) formula would be

Möge Sie in Frieden ruhen.

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