In this article the lead intro has these (for the English-speaker) confusing lines:

Bringen sich die Grünen mit Äußerungen zu Enteignungen und Klimaschutz gerade mal wieder um ihren Erfolg? Nein, die Empörung von Union und FDP darüber ist wohlfeil.

I know what the second sentence means, but not the first. Some suggestions, please?

1 Answer 1


It's an idiom. Interestingly, the two following dictionaries give nearly identical definitions and examples:

jmdn. um sein Vermögen, seine Stellung bringen (= den Verlust jmds. Vermögens, Stellung verschulden)
umgangssprachlich das bringt mich noch um den Verstand (= das macht mich verrückt)

verursachen, dass jemand, etwas verliert, einbüßt, Schaden erleidet
- jemanden um seine Stellung bringen
- das bringt mich noch um den Verstand

So the question is whether the Greens are robbing themselves of the fruits of their labour (by talking about expropriations and climate protection).

Do not confuse bringen with a prepositional object um… with the separable verb umbringen, which means to kill; although, funnily enough, jemanden um die Ecke bringen means to kill as well.

Two more examples:

Viele Spielsüchtige bringen sich um Haus und Familie.

(in sports reporting, when a team that had been ahead at some point during the game loses in the end, through no fault but their own):
Die Mannschaft brachte sich um den verdienten Lohn.

  • 5
    "jemanden um etwas bringen" can be translated as "to deprive someone of something".
    – RHa
    Apr 10, 2019 at 6:15

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