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  5. "Was ist?"

"Was ist?"

Translation:What is wrong?

January 4, 2013



Is it a colloquial phrase meaning something like "What's up?"?


The meaning of "Was ist?" is "What do you want?". Polite version would be "Bitte?".


So, could this be an equivalent of a slightly irritated English "What is it?"


"What's up" is better translated as a very informal "How is it going?"/"Wie geht es?"


Duo's suggested translation ("What is wrong?") seems more akin to "What's the matter?" rather than "What's up?"

I'd more likely use "What's up?" as a neutral way of greeting someone--probably not when the other person looks down/pensive.

Is the German "Was ist?" equally capable of expressing both "What's up?" and "What's the matter?"


Was ist? is short for Was ist los? which means "what is going on?" or "what is happening?", which could be interpreted either as "what's up?" or "what's wrong?" depending on context and how it's said. If said in a concerned voice, it obviously means "what's wrong?" - but if in a more general tone then further context may be required.


I have often used and heard others using "What's up?" to mean "What's the matter?" or "What's wrong?"


Why is it "what is wrong"? I don't get the wrong part


I think it's situational. For instance, if you see your friend and they look upset, you may ask, "Hey, what is it?" 'It' being what has made them sad. I hope this makes sense.

[deactivated user]

    When I was learning German in school (a long time ago), we were taught 'Was ist los?' When was 'los' removed to just say 'Was ist?'?


    Ah, bleurabbit7, my formal German training also was long ago. You can be sure my text books didn't cover "slang" (for want of a better word). More recently, when I tried to speak with my brother's German family, they looked at me funny and remarked, "that's OLD German!" You can still say "Was ist los?“, but there are, and have always been, more than one way to say something.


    Can someone explain this?


    "Was ist?" is the short and/or colloquial form for "Was ist los?" or "Was ist mit dir nicht in Ordnung?"


    Can you explain the "los" to me? I've seen that word many times and it doesn't make any sense to me. I always go into Spanish brain and get all confused.


    "los" in this context is "wrong" as in "what's wrong"

    Usually you'll see it as "noun-los" which means "-less". "Fehler" is error/ mistake/ fault. "Fehlerlos" is faultless. Check out Rammstein's "Los" song. They have a lot of examples for that. Good vocab builder :)


    Actually "los" has the meaning of "happening, occuring" So in the sentence "was ist los?" the closest translation seems to be "what is going on?" - and of course all the variations of the sentence with the same meaning are going to be right =)


    Go here to get several examples of what "los" can mean: http://en.pons.com/translate/german-english/los


    If I was to ask someone what is wrong, I'd either say "Was ist passiert?" being polite to an unknown/lesser known person. If it was to a known person "Was ist los?". If I was at the till (kasse) and there was a problem with me, my money counting etc, I'd either use either "Was ist passiert", or "bitte?". "Was ist?" just seems too trendy to me.


    Hmm, if someone said to me "Das ist gut" out-of-context, could I say "Was ist?" to simply ask "what is [good]?"?


    I have been in Europe hanging out with a lot of Germans for a little while now and "Was geht?" is what they told me is akin to "What's up?". This makes sense since roughly translated this means "What goes on?"


    Would thisbe said if the speaker wanted to say, "What is?"


    If you mean at the beginning of a longer question, then yes. Was ist deine Lieblingsfarbe? means "what is your favorite color?"


    What if you say "it's beautiful" and I then ask "what is?"


    Does it HAVE to be what is WRONG?


    Is anyone else hearing "dos ist?". When I hear the voice in slow form I hear "Was ist?" but on the normal speed it sounds nothing like "Was"


    I see what you mean. I hadn't thought about that, but actually I can hear it both ways when I want to. Interesting!


    It still says that. Reported.


    Is there a German expression 'Was gibt?' as is English 'What gives?' or as an American might say 'What's happening?' or when something seems contradictory.


    "Was gibt's?" is a German expression for "What gives?"


    At least where I'm from, 'What gives?' is what you'd say when you are angry. Like, is someone pushed you down you'd say 'What gives?!'. Is this also true in German, or is it used more lightheartedly?


    Hm, that's weird. I've reported this already, but I typed in 'Was isst' and it was marked as correct.


    how does "what is" mean "what is wrong?"


    Was ist? translates to What is? Where does the word "wrong" come from and also the word 'los' appears in the discussion - where does this word come from?


    Was ist is the shorter colloquial form of was ist los, and los has a very broad meaning depending on context but the etymological root means "loose" (as in to be rid of), which is one possible meaning of los. Others are "happening", "occurring", "going on", or, if it's by itself - Los! - it means "Come on!"

    In this specific context it means "what is going on?" but it is used in a more negative context than "wie gehts/wie geht es" which means "how's it going" and this is the reason why it is rendered "what is wrong?" here. You could also think of it, since it's root means loose, as meaning "what is out of place?" or something like that.


    In spanish we ask "Que es?" meaning "was ist" but in a very coloquial way. You have to be very close to that person to use it, with a stranger could lead to a missleading situation


    Was ist denn?


    Why is "Was isst" wrong? Is it not correct in German?

    [deactivated user]

      'isst' is 2nd and 3rd person 'to eat'. 'Was isst' is 'what eats'.


      What I meant it that it was an audible exercise, and I wrote "Was isst" as it sounds the same as "was ist". My question is: Without context, is "was isst" correct?


      When I learned German in school (many years ago) we were taught 'was ist los?'. Could it be we were more formal and this is how the language had evolved?


      Was ist los? is still used, Was ist? is simply the colloquial shortening (but people use both in speech).


      شباب سوريا وصلتو لهون ولا لسا ؟


      A couple of people have already asked - but I didn't see a reply - for the question whether simply "What is?" could be a translation here. As in when asking the subject of a statement. E.g. What is [good/bad/beautiful/unlikely/etc.]?

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