What's the meaning of male in this expression?

Antwort: "Nein, heute nachmittag male ich. Danke."

  • 3
    Please add context. I fear the existing answers may not fit, at least not to "slang" (title prior to edit), and not to the tag english-to-german. What was the question this answer was given to? Did you hear it, did you read it?
    – Takkat
    Aug 20 '18 at 8:14
  • Did you look up the word in a dictionary? Could you please edit your question and add, why the dictionary entries were not satisfying? And could you also add, why you used the tag english-to-german? Based on your original question and the current edits, I would assume, it is rather a german-to-english request...
    – Arsak
    Aug 20 '18 at 13:55
  • malen is no slang, so the change of title is all justified
    – Trish
    Aug 22 '18 at 4:28

It means "painting" in this context.

No, this afternoon I'm painting. Thanks.

male is the conjugated form of malen.

  • @Björn: did you mean the English form? I think the translation This afternoon I'm painting is fine. I'll be painting is fine too, but the other one is good enough, in speech. Aug 20 '18 at 8:45
  • 1
    @BjörnFriedrich: you're absolutely right about the verb, fixed it.
    – dontbyteme
    Aug 20 '18 at 9:39

The verb malen means to draw or to paint. In the sentence

Heute Nachmittag male ich.

you have the conjugated form, male, without a terminating n. (Also notice that Nachmittag beginns with a capital letter, because it is a noun.) The seven conjugated forms of malen are:


  • ich male → I paint
  • du malst → you paint
  • er/sie/es malt → he/she/it paints


  • wir malen → we paint
  • ihr malt → you paint
  • sie malen → they paint

honorific (singular or plural)

  • Sie malen → you paint
  • Not to forget the polite form of "you": Sie (capital 'S') malen -> you paint.
    – mic
    Aug 20 '18 at 9:25
  • @mic: Ist die distanzierte Form der zweiten Person Singular nicht immer identisch mit der dritten Plural? Aug 20 '18 at 11:27

Without more context this can be anything between painting the walls of a newly rented appartement (more in the colloqquial sense, since streichen would be the more appropriate verb) to creating something like a painting or just some powerpoint slides.

The generic meaning is creating something coloured.

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