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In English "mindless fun" means some activity that is fun but requires little to no intellectual effort to do and be fun. Like for example going to an amusement park. Is there some German equivalent of that expression?

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    Well, it's a bit tricky to even translate "fun" into German. You can say "Spaß" which comes close, but to say "That's fun" it would be "Das macht Spaß," literally "That makes fun."
    – RDBury
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 2:54

9 Answers 9

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In this case a good translation of mindless is anspruchslos. The opposite would be anspruchsvoll.

Fun would be something like Zeitvertreib or Unterhaltung.

  • anspruchsloser Zeitvertreib
  • anspruchslose Unterhaltung
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There is no translation that captures "mindless fun" in its brevity and connotation. And a lot of the suggestions here do not fit.

It's not "Zerstreuung" or "Ablenkung": mindless fun might be a tool to get distracted, but it's not that.

It's not "Quatsch" or "Klamauk" either, they can be considered subsets of mindless fun, but won't capture it in its entirety.

It's not "Zeitvertreib", since the focus of that is a means to pass time, not necessarily in the sense of having fun doing it.

Also you should be careful when using "Vergnügung", that's easy to be said with sensual subtext, which might not be intended.

The best fit might be "Gaudi": while it's strictly a southern word, it conveys the certain "Ausgelassenheit" that lends itself to indulging in the fun mindlessly.

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    I agree with all that, but IMO Zerstreuung still fits quite well. That's more specific than just “Ablenkung”, it's used specifically for relaxing/fun activities one seeks out to distract oneself. Vergnügung does also work, and it doesn't necessarily evoke double entendre (though it can indeed). Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 23:05
  • There is no need to be careful with Vergnügen. It's not about sensual subtext per se. Zeitvertreib is definitely about fun. You don't do boring, unpleasant stuff zum Zeitvertreib. Gaudi is (if at all) colloquial.
    – Olafant
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 13:40
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    “Gaudi” is colloquial, but “mindless fun” does not seem academic either. However, it is a very regional word and not suited generally. Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 14:03
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    In the 90's VW was using Fahrvergnügen to market their cars to the US. (I'm pretty it was the umlaut that clinched it, otherwise it wouldn't have seemed German enough.) I'm pretty sure it wasn't meant to have any sensual subtext, but I guess you never know.
    – RDBury
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 2:34
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You mean, for example doing scribbles on a sheet of paper?

  • die Zerstreuung, sich zerstreuen
  • die Ablenkung, sich ablenken
  • der Quatsch, Quatsch machen

Going to an amusement park requires a lot of planning so it doesn't match that too well. Instead, you could use

  • der Zeitvertreib, sich die Zeit vertreiben
  • die Vergnügung, sich vergnügen
  • die Gaudi

Amusement parks are called der Vergnügungspark in German.

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  • Geistloser Spaß

mag in vielen Fällen eine passende Beschreibung sein, kann aber als abwertend aufgefasst werden, ohne so gemeint gewesen zu sein, kann aber eben genau so auch gemeint sein.

  • Reine/pure Unterhaltung

wäre neutraler gefasst, aber wird auch benutzt, ohne dass die Unterhaltung spaßig sein muss.

Als nähere Beschreibung einer Sache, die nicht etwa Spaß macht im Sinne von Freude, wie ein Schwimmbadbesuch, sondern als im engeren Sinne Spaßiges, gibt es den Begriff

  • Klamauk
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I would translate it quite literally to "Hirnloser Spaß".

This is something I have actually said myself.

(Hirnlos actually means brainless.)

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I suggest "Leichte Unterhaltung" - literally "light entertainment" or "easy amusement". It might be a stretch to use it for a visit to the amusement park since that at least requires one to walk, but definitely can be used for more passive mindless fun (watching funny TV shows or YouTube videos), playing mindless games, etc.

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In the given case I see the following translation options:

mindless: einfallslos, ideenlos, fantasielos
fun: Unterhaltung (5a), Zeitvertreib

Favourites:
einfallsloser Zeitvertreib
ideenlose Unterhaltung

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    Einfallslos und ideenlos geben aber in deinem Beispiel den Eindruck, dass die Aktivität nicht clever sein könnte. Die Aktivität könnte aber sehr wohl clever sein, sich aber trotzdem ohne viel Nachdenken ausführen lassen, und dabei Spaß machen. Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 6:07
  • @OranMatheus: Mein Wörterbuch übersetzt »mindless« als »geistlos, hirnlos«, daher gebe ich drei abwertende Adjektive an. Wie beim Schenken. Wer nicht weiß, was er schenken soll, schenkt Pralinen. Die schmecken zwar (fun), ihre Wahl ist aber einfallslos, ideenlos, fantasielos.
    – Pollitzer
    Commented Feb 7, 2023 at 6:48
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I propose:

Spielerei

Especially given the meanings 2 and 3 from DWDS:

  1. nicht ernst zu nehmende, nicht sinnvolle Betätigung, Zeitvertreib
  2. etw., das wie verspielt anmutet und ohne besonderen Wert und Nutzen ist

this seems a quite appropriate translation.

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Consider unbekümmert, which kind of has a connotation of "don't have to care, nothing can happen".

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