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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 decade ago

What does "Ach du Lieber" mean?

I know it is a German exclimation, but I am interested in the literal and idiomatic meaning, and why it means what it means.

Thanks!

13 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It means "You dear". "Ach" is a general exclamation, "Du" means "thou" and "lieber" is the masculine form of the adjective "lieb" -- beloved.

    It's short for " Ach, Du lieber Gott", which translates as the English expression "Dear God!"

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  • janet
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Lieber Translation

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Well I'm German have an american friend who uses this term (wherever he picked it up) but I agree with "tine" from 8 years ago. "Ach du Lieber" It is a very unusual expression, as there is a noun missing. More common would be

    Ach du lieber Himmel (would translate to for example "heavens!")

    or

    Ach du lieber Gott (can be translated to "Oh my (dear) God!)

    off course Germans understand "Ach du Lieber" pretty much as "Oh dear!" but this doesn't make it right.

    • Tristan8 months agoReport

      So, my grandmother was from Germany in the 1910s-1920s era, and she used this expression as just "ach du Lieber" quite a bit. Could it be a generational thing?
      (Asking knowing very well that this is 5 years old XD)

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

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    ' Ach ' is more a vocal expression of surprise or shock. ' Du ' is the informal/familiar you. As in ' Hey you. ' ' Lieber ' is from the root ' Lieb ' : Love. Where'd'ja hear that? I never have.

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  • tine
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    there's something missing. A noun. Ach du lieber would be a unusual expression for Oh dear...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Ach means something like "alas", "my God", "oh". etc. Du lieber is short for Ach du lieber Himmel. Dear heaven.

    Just a tip

    I put:

    "ach du lieber" english

    in yahoo.com and this answer was the 1st hit.

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  • 6 years ago

    Steffen -- I'm wondering, would your explanation be for, as my mom would call it, "high" German? My mother was from Germany and she often used that expression by itself, not always with a noun. We kids took it to mean something like "Oh my goodness!" or "Oh dear!" as she would say it whenever we did something precocious (there were 8 of us, so that happened allot! lol). So basically, I never knew it needed a noun. I remember one of my siblings taking German in HS and mom having a difficult time helping with their homework saying that was "high" German and not what she spoke where she came from, which was Furth. I went to Germany as a teenager and my cousins explained that different parts of the country speak different dialects and again, I heard the term "high" German which I learned not only referred to location, but the standard form of the language.

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  • 6 years ago

    A better non literal translation-For the love of God! or with the Himmel Haben, For the love of God in Heaven. Americans (older folks) usually exclaimed just "For the love of God". Sounds funny now.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    That's an interesting question I hope you will find some valuable answers

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  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Sorry, I have nothing insightful regarding this question

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