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The English term sunbeam describes the light-scattering effect visible when sunlight shines through openings like clouds or tree branches past a darker area. I'm hoping there is a stereotypically long German compound word that describes it:

Sunbeam

Komorebi

Sonnenstrahl is nice but I'm looking for a snide way to contrast the japanese term komorebi with a German compound word. Komorebi roughly translates as “the scattered light that filters through when sunlight shines through trees”. I'm hoping for a word that exaggerates the German ability to compound words, is not necessarily poetic, and is minimally already a part of German diction.

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  • Welcome to GermanSE! Have you tried to look up sunbeam in a dictionary (and the result, e.g., in a thesaurus)? If so, is there anything that left you unsatisfied? Furthermore, is there any reason you assume the German compound word to have more elements than sun + beam? Commented Aug 2, 2020 at 18:57
  • I did not - my apologies. Sonnenstrahl is nice but I'm looking for a snide way to contrast the japanese term komorebi with a German compound word. Komorebi roughly translates as “the scattered light that filters through when sunlight shines through trees”. It is made up of three “Kanji” or Chinese characters: “tree” or “trees”, “leaking-through” or “escape”, and “light” or “sun”.
    – carrot_guy
    Commented Aug 2, 2020 at 19:00
  • @carrot_guy: Can you please update your question to reflect the search for something else than the plain translation "Sonnenstrahl"? Otherwise this question reads like "dictionnary please" and will be just closed. I think it is not easy to pick something good from a foreign language thesaurus, so this could keep the question valid. Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 6:42
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    Looking at Collins I have some doubts, how good sunbeam matches your picture. I seems (at least: also) to describe a single sunray.
    – guidot
    Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 11:45
  • IMHO Sonnenstrahl is not even too good a start here, since it refers to the ray coming straight from the sun, without scattering.
    – cbeleites
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 20:29

2 Answers 2

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There is no word like the one that you are looking for. But you can always make one. Usually, compound words are short and describe a common compound concept. In this case, "Sonnenstrahl" (sunray) or "Strahlenfächer" (fan of rays) would be the longest I would go for and add more detail as a sentence (e.g. "Das Auffächern der Sonnenstrahlen über den Wolken" or "Die Wolken brechen das Sonnenlicht zu einem Strahlenfächer"). If you want to put these concepts in a single word, go for it.

Here are some occasionalisms (newly created (compound) words that are not considered standard German) that come to mind:

  • "Sonnenstrahlenfächer" (fan of sunrays)
  • "Sonnenlichtauffächerung" (fanning out of sunlight)
  • "Lichterwald" (forest of lights)
  • "Sonnennstrahlenaufbüschelungswolke" (cloud that makes clusters of sunlight)

You can construct compound words as complex as you want but the longer it gets, the weirder it will sound especially to native speakers.

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  • Sonnenstrahlenfächer shows up in google searches and will probably work nicely. Sonnenlichtauffächerung and Sonnennstrahlenaufbüschelungswolke do not, but if anyone has seen them used anywhere, seem to fit the bill. Thanks a lot everyone.
    – carrot_guy
    Commented Aug 3, 2020 at 16:43
  • "Sonnennstrahlenaufbüschelungswolke" is propably never used anywhere. But it is a correct German word and is more descriptive of that picture than shorter compounds. As I said, you can make up compound nouns and they are correct and are generally even understood but that does not make them standard German.
    – hajef
    Commented Aug 4, 2020 at 12:59
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The effect in your picture you are talking about is called

Strahlenbüschel / Lichtbüschel

or sometimes

Wolkenstrahlen

which sounds poetic and may be the most beautiful of these three words (from my point of view).


But as you said in your comment you are looking for a word similar to "Komorebi", unfortunatly there is no official one (yet).

Nevertheless this website suggests

Baumlicht / Waldlicht (Treelight / Forestlight)

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  • Thanks a lot - these are good. I was hoping for something that exaggerated the German ability to compound words, is not necessarily poetic, and was minimally already a part of German diction.
    – carrot_guy
    Commented Aug 2, 2020 at 22:00

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