There is a song called Wünsch dir was. Online translation says it means make a wish.

I am not yet sure how to interpret it. Is it something like "I wish you something"? Why is "dir" there?

  • 3
    Perhaps you're referring to this song: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C3%BCnsch_DIR_was The German Wikipedia entry says that the song's author intended the meaning to be ironic.
    – henning
    Jan 3, 2019 at 12:05
  • 1
    Because wünsche is reflexive in this case, I feel that "Wish something for yourself" is a translation that is much closer to the actual meaning. For instance, if you were to ask a child what they 'wish for' themselves for Christmas, you would ask "Was wünschst du dir denn zu Weihnachten?" Note that you use the personal pronoun "du" as well as the reflexive pronoun "dir". Therefore the wish is very much for something for them, not just a wish in general.
    – otoomey
    Jan 3, 2019 at 21:05

3 Answers 3


Is it something like I wish you something?

No, it means that one should wish something for oneself. I think the translation make a wish is a pretty good fit.

Why is dir there?

Wünschen is in this sentence a reflexive verb: sich etwas wünschen - that's where the dir originates from.

Du wünschst dir etwas.

Now this sentence is a demand, so the imperative form wünsch(e) has to be used:

Wünsch dir (et)was!

Information about the conjugation of the verb can be found on several websites, for example the duden.

  • 5
    As a side note Wünsch dir was is also sometimes used as Wir sind hier nicht bei Wünsch-dir-was meaning you need to stop demanding more, similarly to the word Wunschkonzert.
    – Axel
    Jan 3, 2019 at 14:41
  • @Axel My first that was this "Wünsch-dir-was" phrase too. But the question was actually about a (not further specified) song. So the Wunschkonzert doesn't fit here.
    – harper
    Jan 3, 2019 at 17:23
  • So, to be literal, it's basically saying Wish yourself something!
    – BruceWayne
    Jan 3, 2019 at 22:10
  • @Axel Genaugenommen heißt der Spruch "Wir sind hier nicht bei 'Wünsch Dir was' - sondern bei 'So isses'" (The first was a game show around 1970, the latter (translated as 'that's the way it is') a show from the 80s presenting oddities) Jan 4, 2019 at 7:55

Is it something like I wish you something?

If the person is speaking in a sloppy way, it might be a shortened form of "(Ich) wünsch(e) Dir (et)was", which is a colloquial version of good bye, leaving out (or swallowing) the "ich" = (I) wish you something.
But without context (I don't know the song) one would normally assume the meaning mentioned in the first answer.

The song https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C3%BCnsch_Dir_was_%28Lied%29 from Die Toten Hosen refers to the standard meaning (make a wish).


Apart from it simply meaning "Make a wish" it has an idiomatic meaning as it refers to an iconic TV show (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C3%BCnsch_Dir_was_(Fernsehshow)) that was immensely succesfull in its time.

But the reference might be not apparent to everyone born after 1975.

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