I have recently been hooked to the "Der Mann und das Meer" song from Fynn Kliemann. There is a bit that I don't quite get.

Im Leinenanzug bis zum Knöchel im Wasser
Rücken zur Hütte, Gesicht in den Wind
In der Lunge mischt sich Seeluft und Rauch
Wohlstand gehört nur 'n Bauch

It's the last sentence I am having difficulties with. It does not even seen grammatically correct to me. Is it some kind of rare idiom? How would one translate that?

Btw, the lyrics were taken from here.

  • @ChristianGeiselmann There is a link to the site where the lyrics were taken from.
    – Ma0
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 12:15
  • Just checked the lyrics: this really seems to be the "official" line of text. Still: I read the complete text of the song and have no idea, what the author wants to express with this line...
    – Tode
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 12:15
  • @ChristianGeiselmann This in + Akku schema always eludes me. Would that be like the in den Wald (hineinspaziert) usage?
    – Ma0
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 12:20
  • I listened to the song on YT - it is very unclear what he is really singing. It could also be "Brauch" or "Rauch" instead of Bauch. Additional a comment on youtube says this line reads as "Wo ich stand gehört nur'n Bauch", but this is very unlikely.
    – IQV
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 13:39
  • to be honest what I hear is "wurscht dann gehört nur'n Bauch" which makes even less sense. Anyway, I like the song eitherway :)
    – Ma0
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 13:44

3 Answers 3


The word shortening is already explained by Christian Geiselmann's answer.

There exist the german term Wohlstandsbauch or more diminutive: Wohlstandsbäuchlein.*

A dict.cc translation results in spare tire/ spare tyre which has this as colloq. meaning and could also mean Rettungsringe. And Rettungsringe are similiar to Hüftgold aka love handles

These german terms are a more or less idiomatic/ friendly way to say that the "carrier"/ "owner" of a Wohlstandsbauch/ Rettungsring is heavier than normal (= a well visible belly/ hip) just not obese.

Thus I would write the part

  • Wohlstand gehört nur 'n Bauch

in long version as

  • Wohlstand gehört nur in den Bauch.

which I would explain as:

  • Wohlstand soll sich nur beim Essen zeigen - es muss gut und viel sein

Because looking at the rest of the song (= context) I think the songwriter wants to express his dream of a good life as some kind of simple and good life at the sea / beach (where you have thatched roofs).

Not a big house, car, ship, gold - whatever most people seem to associate with Wohlstand zeigen.

*I don't find official entries atm


I have no direct information what the songwriter wanted to say, but here are some linguistical considerations, and an attempt to interpret the text of the last line.

Supposed the transcript is correct: the last line could actually be meant as

Wohlstand gehört nur in den Bauch.

Which can sound in sloppy pronunciation like

Wohlstand gehört nur in'n Bauch.

That's simply a very prolonged "n" between i and Bauch. That's a very common way of speaking in everyday situations.

Grammatically (but not orthographically) the sentence would be okay then.

You are right with your assumption that this way of blurring sounds around articles and prepositions, and reducing them to basically only an "n", occurs also in a popular form of pronouncing

In den Wald hineinspaziert

namely as

Innnnn Wald hineinspaziert

(I vary the spelling here; I could have spelled in'n likewise, or in''n for more precision - one apostrophe replacing one left out letter.)

And the meaning?

I can not definitely tell what the author wants to say by this. For me, the most probable interpretation seems to be something like:

We do not need luxury and comfort such as well-equiped homes, but we should have good food.

Whether that's what the author wanted to say - nobody knows but him. Songwriters are often a big vague in their texts.

More funny phrases

Hennenstall --> Hennnnnnstall (Henn'nstall)

It would actually even be wrong to speak the second e in Hennen.

In den Hennenstall --> Innnn Hennnnstall

Okay, that's sloppy pronuncation now. But definitely existing.

Kann ich mal ein Ei haben? --> Kannich maln Ei hamm?

Wenn Sie wollen, können Sie gehen. --> Wennse wolln, könnse gehn.

Im Leinenanzug bis zum Knöchel im Wasser --> Im Leinnnanzug bis zum Knöchl im Wassa

  • thanks for the answer Christian, I appreciate your effort! Just a nitpick, I never said I took it from the author's website; it was songtexte.com.
    – Ma0
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 14:02
  • Ah, okay! This could mean that somebody (with not too deep interest in professional German typesetting) noted down what s/he heared. Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 14:07

In addition to Christian Geisselmanns already very good explanation of the sloppy pronounciation consider the following:

Depending on the dialect of the singer in that case the lyrics actually represent what is been sung (and not just what some random guy on the internet understood).

Moreover the for me most likely (and still relatively) literal translation would be

wealth belongs into the stomach

Which would reffer to the fact that many wealthy people are not quite skinny to put it in positive terms. (See the meaning and etymology of the already mentioned Wohlstandsbäuchlein). Also being fat in many cultures (and even in Europe during the baroque era) was seen as much as a sign of wealth as it was as one of appeal because such people could obviously pay for much and at the time often also relatively expensive food.

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.