I am having trouble translating the phrase "macht nichts an".

I am listening to "Indianer", the second track of the Nena Band's first album. (When it was released in 1983 the term "Indian/Indianer" was still commonly used.)

There are several meanings for "anmachen" at Reverso. There is a detailed explanation on YourDailyGerman. But nothing makes sense when the word is pushed into negation (nichts).

How would you translate the phrase?

The entire verse is: "Auf dem Kriegspfad (warpath), im Wigwam / Indianer macht nichts an / Wir sind mutig, wir sind schlau / Wie die Indianer, How!"

Thank you!


1 Answer 1


This phrase is a little play of words on two different meanings of the verb "anmachen".

One meaning is sexually connoted:

Diese Frau macht mich an
This woman turns me on

The other is more colloquial:

Der Typ macht mich (blöde) an
This guy provokes me

So there are two situations that match that different meanings: The first ist the warpath where someone could provoke me. The second is the wigwam where probably a woman waits for me to turn me on...

And both situations are neglected by saying: Indians are so cool, they do not care for either of them.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.