Word of the Week: Lebenskünstler

Jun 15, 2012

Every Friday, Germany.info and The Week in Germany highlight a different "Word of the Week" in the German language that may serve to surprise, delight or just plain perplex native English speakers.


Colors Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/chromorange)

A "Lebenskünstler" is not an artist who puts people in live action happenings or installations - it is someone who manages to make life magical in myriad ways by putting a positive spin on everything and by taking pleasure in little things others might overlook.

"Leben" means life and a "Künstler" is an artist, so a "Lebenskünstler" is literally a "life artist" but is perhaps more aptly defined as an "artist of life."

According to at least one German dictionary definitions, a Lebenskünstler is "a person who has mastered the art of life and makes the best out of every situation."

Thus is someone makes do with a low starting salary but still manages to take a nice vacation and somehow live - and enjoy - life within a limited budget, he or she may be defined as a true "Lebenskünstler" who has mastered the art of living life to the fullest.

One blogger who goes by the name of "Lebenskuenstler" and defines her blog as "sharing the art of life," however, takes the concept a step further by suggesting that a Lebenskuenstler "is also someone who can approache everything in an artistic way." She suggests, moreover, that "this requires creativity, imagination and sometimes courage."

In this vein, house work need not be viewed as a tedious chore, but as a way to create a beautiful environment, a nourishing meal or a work of art by engaging in handcrafting activities.

Perhaps the best "Lebenskünstler" among us, regardless of what their daily routines entail, are simply good at mastering the art of life to the fullest. Whether they must overcome difficult interpersonal situations, budgetary shortfalls or other daily challenges, they rise to the occasion and engage in life with great gusto. This makes them masters of the "art of life."

© Germany.info

Word of the Week

Word of the Week

do Deutsch

Do Deutsch

The German language opens up a wealth of opportunities. Learn why you should "just add German" here on our do Deutsch pages.