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My question is about a German phrase I'm trying to suss out the meaning of. The phrase is:

Zwei die niemand will geben auch ein Pärchen.

The best translation I can come up with is Two nobody want also gives a couple/pair, which is probably technically correct?

I’ve tried a German-English dictionary and googled everything I can google. I can find the phrase itself on various websites, but no explanation as to what it might mean and no better translation than my sorry skills.

Is anyone familiar with this idiom?

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    Where did you get that from? Can you give some more context please? I undarstand what the phrase says, but I am unaware that this is a common idiom. – πάντα ῥεῖ Oct 12 '19 at 8:18
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    I really can't. I was given a document that contained phrases and idioms of various cultures--no context, no definitions, just lists of phrases--and I set out to find all the meanings. I've worked my way through Latin, French, British, and all the German ones except for this phrase. If you'd like to see it in use, though, I could crib a paragraph it's used in from one of the internet articles that has it. – Firelocke Oct 12 '19 at 8:40
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There are two commas missing in your sentence. It's

Zwei, die niemand will, geben auch ein Pärchen.

The translation would be something like

Two [people/...] whom nobody wants also make a couple/pair.

Geben here means something like ergeben (result in, build, make).


Maybe it can be understood like this:

Imagine two single socks. A green one and a red one. Even though they don't really fit together, they are not useless. You can just use them as an odd pair.

Now transfer that to a winner/loser kind of situation. Does that make sense?

I've never heard that phrase before, but I really like the humor.

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  • Is this implying that two people who no one else wants will become an actual couple? Or is it more prosaic, like if you're sorting people into "Winner" and "Loser" piles they'd wind up in the Loser pile together, but not necessarily an actual dating couple? Or...something else entirely? – Firelocke Oct 12 '19 at 8:43
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    No. Of course it doesn't imply they will become an actual couple. I can't really come up with an example where this phrase would fit right now. I wouldn't see it in a "Winner/Loser" way. It's more humorous than thinking in that categories. Maybe it's just the opposite of marking people as winners or losers. Maybe that's the actual meaning. – Olafant Oct 12 '19 at 8:57

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