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Ich muss eingestehen: I listen to Rammstein. In their song, Mehr, the following phrase can be found:

Bescheidenheit? Hahaha, alles was recht ist!

in the following context:

Was ich habe ist mir zu wenig
Ich brauche viel, ich brauche ganz viel
Hab nichts zu schenken
Wozu Verzicht?
Zwar bin ich reich Doch reicht das nicht
Bescheidenheit? Alles was recht ist
Ich nehme alles, auch wenn es schlecht ist
Ich werde nie satt, ich werde nie satt
Es ist besser wenn man mehr hat

What does he mean by the phrase “Alles was recht ist?”

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  • Listening to Rammstein is no crime.
    – tofro
    Commented Sep 4, 2022 at 11:27

4 Answers 4

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While user3126997's answer may be correct: The short answer is that Alles, was recht ist is similar to So weit kommt's noch in that it can be translated as You got to be kidding! or a contemporary sarcastic Yeah ... right....

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  • 1
    Perfect translation of the intended meaning. Would love to give more than +1
    – Mac
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 13:24
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"alles, was recht ist..."

This is a colloquial German proverb used to indicate the most possible understanding for something but without agreement.

Alles, was recht ist, aber das geht nun wirklich zu weit.

A similar expression may be the English "with all due respect" which more litarally also exists in German "Bei allem Respekt, ...", and is used similarly to "Alles was recht ist".

This proverb is not used in this meaning in the lyrics quoted so it may be an intended pun there.

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  • But the phrase (I'm not sure it qualifies as a proverb) is used in precisely that sense in the lyrics, isn't it?
    – Mac
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 13:23
  • @Mac: not sure about this... but an interpretation of Rammstein Lyrics is beyond my scope anyway ;)
    – Takkat
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 13:33
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Well basically

Alles, was recht ist.

means “Everything that is fine” or “Everything that is allowed.”

Alles, was mir recht ist. (“Everything that is fine for me.”)

In most of the cases though it heavily depends on the context. There is also the phrase

Alles, was rechtens ist.

This for example points in the direction of what is really allowed meaning “Everything that is allowed for me (as far as the law goes).”

Recht means law in German that is how you can remeber this.

Concluding, as far as your songtext goes, I consider this phrase to be of a meaning equal to “Everything that is fine for (with) me” or “Everything that is allowed for me.”

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  • Hmm. He isn't using the noun form of "recht," and the non-noun forms mean something completely different. I'm afraid I don't see how your translation makes sense in this context. I appreciate your effort though.
    – Dustin
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 4:06
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    The adjective form recht means richtig, passend, or geeignet.
    – Lars Beck
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 7:46
  • While it's true that you're giving the literal translation of the phrase, it is highly unlikely that a native German would use it in that sense. This is such a completely formalised idiomatic phrase that we don't even recognise the constituent parts anymore. Even the intonation pattern seems more or less fixed. I'd go with Thorsten's "Yeah, right".
    – Mac
    Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 13:46
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    Während die Sätze 1 und 3 passen ist 2 das glatte Gegenteil dessen, was gemeint ist. Man gesteht zu, dass der andere formal im Recht sein mag, aber ...! Wenn Du beim Zoll 20€ zahlen sollst für Zigaretten, die Du im Inland für 5€ bekommst, dann sagst Du "alles was Recht ist" und beziehst Dich nicht darauf, was Dir gerade Recht ist. Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 4:33
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A very interesting question.

This is the definition from DWDS mir ist alles recht (= ich bin mit allem einverstanden)

This is the definition from Duden alles, was recht ist (1. umgangssprachlich; bei allem Verständnis für das, was man anderen als recht und billig zugestehen muss: alles, was recht ist, aber das geht zu weit. 2. umgangssprachlich; zugegeben; das muss man sagen: alles, was recht ist, als Mozartinterpret ist er immer noch einer der Besten.)

As you can see, for DWDS, the meaning is somewhere between "neutral" and "positive". The Duden, however, describes it between "negative" and "neutral".

I think that the best definition for this word is putting those 2 definitions together because it can mean something positive in one situation, and in other Situations, it is negative.

Here are great examples for both usages ( https://www.redensarten-index.de/ ): https://www.redensarten-index.de/

I have just seen another doubt in one of the comments: uppercase or lowercase?

Well, sometimes it has to be written in lowercase, sometimes in uppercase letter, and sometimes, it doesn't matter at all. (And sometimes, when I think about all those details, I really feel sorry for any German student out there hahaha) The sites www.duden.de or www.dwds have good examples for each situation.

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Rammstein is known for using ambiguous proverbs.

I made a video about "Feuer Frei" (actually 3 - German, Portuguese, and English) which took about 18 hours. The lyrics are very, very complex. Here is the English version of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjSvj6WdSmw

By the way, here are some more expressions with "recht/Recht".

It is hard to please all parties. Man kann es nicht alien recht machen.

He that all men will please shall never find ease. Allen Leuten recht getan, ist eine Kunst, die niemand kann.

Extreme right is extreme wrong. Das strengste Recht-das grosste Unrecht.

What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Was dem einen recht ist, ist dem andern billig.

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