I found the sentence

Zuerst glühen wir bei mir vor.

in Memrise. According to them, it translates to

First, we'll have predrinks at my place.

and the literal translation

First, glow we by me before.

My question is, how does this make sense at all? Is there any other way to say it?

  • 7
    Here, it is complicated by a colloquialism, but in general, if a preposition (“vor”) seems wildly out of place, check whether it is perhaps part of a separable verb. We have those to make learning the language more, err, interesting.
    – Carsten S
    May 7, 2021 at 6:58
  • 6
    It is probably (well, definitely) not the best idea to translate German in to English word by word - and it could probably not be called literal translation.
    – user40500
    May 7, 2021 at 14:05
  • @Ezze Confirm. Bei mir has nothing to do with by me, and the verbal part vor cannot be translated separately as before. The true 'literal' translation would be First, we'll pre-ignite at my place (or pre-glow at most). No wonder that OP thought that the sentence doesn't make sense. A translation of a correct sentence in the original language must always be a correct sentence itself. That was not the case here. May 7, 2021 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


"Vorglühen" literally means "pre-glow" or "pre-ignite". The term describes the pre-heating phase when cold-starting old diesel engines.

In your context it's a slang term for the practice of drinking/sharing store-bought alcoholic beverages at home before going to a bar or club, where alcohol is much more expensive (hence "predrink"). "Pregame" would be a similar american slang term:

Wollen wir bei mir vorglühen? - Should we pregame at my place?

  • 5
    I think modern diesel engines still do that (but they hide it better, like starting when opening the door or inserting key)
    – lalala
    May 7, 2021 at 16:05
  • When I saw the question on the HNQ my first reaction was that the speaker invited everybody to a round of mulled wine (Glühwein) at his place before the office (pre-)Xmas get-together. This answer makes more sense! May 8, 2021 at 7:08
  • Also equivalent to "pre-load" in British English slang
    – AdamV
    May 8, 2021 at 18:38

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