The main meaning of "glücklich" is happy.

However, according to duden "glücklich" has a second meaning of "endlich, schließlich, zu guter Letzt...".

In what contexts and registers is this second meaning used? For example, could we say ersten, zweitens, glücklich?

And how common or regional is this second meaning of "glücklich"?

Etymology of the "glücklich". Are both meanings from the same root word? How can a word jump in meaning from meaning happy to finally?

  • 1
    Could you give an example or dictionary entry for that meaning? I am not sure what you are referring to.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 11:54
  • According to duden the second meaning of glücklich is "endlich, schließlich, zu guter Letzt: " .
    – John Lamb
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 12:04
  • 1
    Interesting, DWDS has this, too. dwds.de/wb/glücklich
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 12:25
  • Interessant. Das hört sich für mich falsch an (Anglizismus?). Aber "glücklicherweise" würde ich in dem Zusammenhang erwarten. Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 13:10
  • 1
    You can't say erstens, zweitens, schließlich either. And neither erstens, zweitens, endlich. But you can say erstens, zweitens, zu guter Letzt. Puzzling but true.
    – Janka
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


To get to this, we may need to go back to the substantive, *Glück" (with common roots to the English luck), which has amongst its meanings both good and bad luck (so both "happyness" and a notion of "success", so basically has some notion of (positive or negative) fate (Schicksal), so the jump to "successful outcome" isn't really a big one. (Note "I had great luck growing roses in the greenhouse" wouldn't transport much about happiness, but rather final success in English as well).

Nach einem turbulenten Flug und einem langen Bustransfer sind wir nun glücklich an unsrem Urlaubsort angekommen

(typical postcard phrase) wouldn't mean "we arrived in a happy state", but rather "we finally arrived [after a bit of a struggle]". So yes, this meaning is common, and in no way regional. Note I can't imagine usage in an attributal form (as an adjective) - "glücklich" would commonly be used as an adverb in this meaning (and Duden lists it as an adverb in this meaning as well, but also lists it as colloquial).

  • I would have been surprised by your example as well as all of those in DWDS.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 13:45
  • 3
    @CarstenS Du scheinst nicht viele Urlaubspostkarten zu bekommen ;)
    – tofro
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 13:47
  • It’s been a while.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 14:55

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