The long German word «Gemütsbewegung» (f) is a cognate to the humble English «mood».

«Mood» means an emotional condition or state of mind and «Gemütsbewegung» means emotion or feeling.

Meaning-wise it is very easy to see how these words can be related, but what is the deal with the German word – why is it so long? Let‘s find out today!

Let‘s start off with the English word, since it‘s the easiest one. «Mood» comes from the Old English «mod», heart, courage, spirit, frame of mind; which was a word often used to translate the Latin «animus», the soul or mind of an individual.

«Mod» is believed to have derived from the common Proto-Germanic ancestor root «*mōda-». This word however cannot be traced further back into any common Indo-European common ancestor, but it is the same one that gave us the Old High German «Muot» and the German «Mut», both meaning courage.

In today‘s German you would not use the word «Mut» to talk about emotional conditions, like with the English «mood». You would rather use «Emotion» or «Gefühl», a feeling or emotion. The latter being a cognate to the English «feel». The usage of word «Gemütsbewegung» has seen a decline, however.

Now, why am I explaining this? If you take a look at the two following words you will find something: «Mut» and «Gemütsbewegung».

Exactly, «Mut» can be found in «Gemütsbewegung».

The umlaut or dieresis can be ignored now but you can read more about it in this article I wrote about why some words have it.

While the English «mood» evolved naturally from a common ancestor, taking the meaning of emotion, «Mut» evolved in the German language to keep a meaning of courage. However «Mut» was also used with another word in order to create a derivative word, a compound to be more precise, when it came to the creation of a word for emotion.

Let‘s start to dissect the word so we can understand it better.

«Gemütsbewegung» can be chunked into to main parts. «Gemüt» and «Bewegung».

While it‘s true that «Gemüt» originates from «Mut», the word also exists as a standalone. «Gemüt» carries the meaning of the soul or emotions of a person.

«Bewegung» on the other hand might come off as a bit of a surprise here, meaning movement. The word comes from «Bewegen», to move, which itself comes from «Weg», path or way.

You see, when we put all of this together we obviously get a typically long German word, «Gemütsbewegung».

The word means feeling or emotion, as I already mentioned before but now we can see it‘s literal meaning, the movement of the soul or „soulmovement“.

Anyways, the fact that this word is a cognate to «mood» in English is very easy to see. This week‘s cognate has been basically an excuse to talk about a rather interesting German word and it‘s interesting creation process.

Just imagine how weird a parallel timeline would be, where the English «mood» evolved to mean courage and the word for feeling is the compound „«soulmovement»“. But an even weirder one would be one where the German language doesn’t use compound words for such essential words.