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  5. 'entfalten' vs. 'entwickeln'


'entfalten' vs. 'entwickeln'

  1. What is the difference between:

  2. entfalten and entwickeln?

  3. sich auf etw. einstellen and sich gewöhnen an etw.?
  4. Die Wärme and Die Hitze?
  5. bleich and blass?

LG Jason

December 31, 2017



I think, the warmth (die Wärme) is felt as pleasant. But the heat (die Hitze) is a significant increase of warmth and will not perceived as pleasant. ...It is too much.


First off, if they're not reflexive, they mean "etwas entfalten" = "to unfold sth." (e.g. wings, a map) and "etwas entwickeln" = "to develop sth." (a new product, a film from an analogue camera).

I think this already tells you almost all you need to know about the connotations of "sich entfalten" and "sich entwickeln".

  • sich entwickeln: to develop, e.g. a child is developing well as it grows older, a chicken develops inside an egg, a conflict slowly develops in this region, you're developing an inclination towards morbid things, ...

  • sich entfalten: the wings / the space probe's solar panels unfold [themselves]; often something along the lines of: "Ich kann hier meine Talente / Persönlichkeit gut entfalten" = "Here I can live / develop / make use of my talents/personality well and let out what's been hidden / held back inside me".

"Sich entfalten" is sometimes used instead of "sich entwickeln" as well, but it sounds more "intricate" than "entwickeln": "Im Lauf der Zeit entfaltet sich eine romantische Beziehung zwischen dem Elb und dem Zwerg." "Over time a romantic relationships unfolds between the elf and the dwarf."

Edit: I assumed a confusion would more likely arise about "sich entfalten" vs. "sich entwickeln" than about "etwas entfalten" vs. "etwas entwickeln", because the reflexive verbs are much more alike.

And I'm not sure if this helps or adds to the confusion, but "wickeln" = "to wrap", so "entwickeln" literally would invoke the image of e.g. a roll of wrapping paper winding off. Cf. "evolution": Latin "volvere" = "to roll", so "evolution" = literally "winding off". And "falten" = "to fold", so the image would be e.g. a folded map unfolding, or maybe a flower unfolding its petals from a bud; so, a bit more like "uncovering" or "flowering" and not so much "evolving".


Entwickeln kann reflexiv sein. Z.B. Ein Kind entwickelt sich und enfaltet seine Talente. Oder: Das hat sich anders entwickelt als gedacht.



  • sich auf etwas einstellen: to (mentally or physically) prepare for something, e.g. "Die Menschen stellen sich auf einen kalten Winter ein" = "People prepare for a cold winter (by collecting more wood for fires)", "Wir stellen uns auf ein schwieriges Jahr ein" = "We are expecting (= mentally preparing for) a difficult year"

  • sich an etwas gewöhnen: to get used to something, e.g. "Ich gewöhne mich daran, früh aufzustehen / nicht mehr zu rauchen / dass ich kein Auto mehr habe" = "I am getting used to getting up early / not smoking anymore / not having a car anymore"; "Ich habe mich an das kalte Wetter gewöhnt" = "I have gotten used to the cold weather"



Both mean "pale", but "bleich" is more gruesomely pale.

A zombie would be "bleich", not "blass". If you don't have a tan at all, you're "blass".

You'd more often use "bleich" for turning pale at being accused of murder. If you're just a bit pale around the nose from seeing a syringe, you're "blass" (and might turn "bleich" if it's really bad).

An old picture turns "blass".


Sorry stepintime, I have disarranged your order as I see. (I thought you are finished.)


Haha, not at all :) - it'll get mixed up anyway. I just wanted to go along with OP's numbering.

(Also, I learned that if I write "5.", it shows up as "1." per default. Edited.)

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