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Audacity (also, somewhat weaker, audacity ), derived from the adjective audacious , means something like cheeky courage .

The Brothers Grimm describe audacity in their German dictionary on the one hand as "courageous determination, security in behavior" and then also as "presumptuousness, insolence, impudence as overmasz of audacity".


To be "Bold" will often rank accused deeper parties that the same take out what you do yourself, of course; "kess" is also used more benevolently here. In addition: Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi . ( Latin ; tr .: “What Jupiter is allowed, the cattle are not allowed.”) The term belongs in the upscale colloquial language, who commits a boldness, “dares himself” (ancient: he “does not become stupid”).


Dreist comes from the Low German adjective dristich , which means as much as courageous, bold, cheeky . It came into the New High German written language in the 17th century .

The whole word field around “brazen” (“cheeky”, “bold”, “bold”, “unabashed”, “outrageous” etc.) is used linguistically less differentiated in the course of social change towards more equality . A choice of words like the quote from the Easter Walk (in Goethe's Faust I ) becomes almost incomprehensible: "No, I don't like him, the new mayor." "Now that it's him, he just gets bolder every day."


The numerous similar characterizations include " cheek ", "insolence" and " chutzpah ". The Economic Encyclopedia von Krünitz wrote, among other things, on the impudence : "One is insolent if one is not afraid to commit things that offend the respectability and decency ... an insolent mouth" is not afraid to say "things that are against decency. You are therefore also saying insolent things to someone if you tell them things that violate respect and deference. But it is also said that someone has an outrageous mouth when he vigorously tumbles at an object, without violating morality ”.

keß (since the spelling reform kess ) is an adjective for "bright", "cheeky", "dashing", "brisk", "chic", in crooks language also "clever", "clever", "knowledgeable about trickery". The adjective comes from the veiled short word yiddish chess , which in turn is a name for ch , the first letter of yidd. chochom (“clever”, “wise”, “learned”). It was adopted from the rogue language in the colloquial language of Berlin and from there gained general distribution in the first half of the 20th century. Today, according to Duden , kess is used to describe properties such as “young and pretty and carefree”, “in a non-hurtful way cheeky, disrespectful, a little cheeky” or fashionable boldness or cheek (“fast”).

Web links

Wiktionary: Audacity  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. brazen. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 2 : Beer murderer – D - (II). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1860 ( ).
  2. Duden , Volume 7: Etymology. Dictionary of origin of the German language. Bibliographer. Institute, Mannheim 1963, DNB 456817085 , p. 118.
  3. outrageous . In: JG Krünitz: Economic Encyclopedia (1773-1858).
  4. kess. In: Digital dictionary of the German language . Retrieved April 5, 2013
  5. kess ., accessed on April 5, 2013