The sentence "Sie bieten Arroganz und Anmaßung die Stirn mit aufsässiger Demut." is provided as a usage example of 'Anmaßung' at https://en.langenscheidt.com/german-english/anmassung and is translated into English there as "They stand up to arrogance and hubris with defiant humility."

I am baffled by the presence of "die Stirn" (the 'brow' or 'forehead') in the German sentence. What is it doing there? Would the meaning of the sentence be the same without "die Stirn"? Also, what part of speech is it and what case does it have?

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    The idiom is jemandem die Stirn bieten. It can be found in any good dictionary.
    – RHa
    Jan 13, 2021 at 16:00
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    @RHa: In my experience even good dictionaries can be incomplete when it comes to idioms. Then there's the question of which combination of words forms the idiom when all you know is that the sentence as a whole does not make sense. In any case, Redensarten-Index.
    – RDBury
    Jan 14, 2021 at 1:19
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    Don't worry, I had to read this thrice to see how it is grammatical. As a native speaker. Jan 14, 2021 at 10:46

1 Answer 1


Your translation is correct and the phrase die Stirn bieten is a standard phrase. In the sample sentence it is a direct object and, hence, in the accusative case.

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    I think this answer could be a bit more explicit about the misunderstanding the OP seems to be subject to: The fact that "die Stirn" is a part of the verb phrase, shifted to the end of the sentence part, rather than being attached to "Anmaßung", as surmised in the question. Jan 13, 2021 at 16:53

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