Du Hast – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Most languages intersect at points we may not even realize. For example, we use the French word hors d’oeuvres without a second thought when referring to appetizers- although spelling hors d’oeuvres is tough!

The phrase “du hast” has become popular in our vernacular for those of us who enjoy metal music and are familiar with the band Rammstein.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

Du hast translates literally to “you have.” It is a phrase that originates in Germany, and is used less commonly in the English language. However, it has gained some popularity for those who know the German band Rammstein and their song by the title “Du Hast.”  

To learn more about the origin of this song, read below.

Du hast is an interesting phrase in German in that it sounds remarkably similar to the phrase “Du hasst,” which means “You hate.” In English, there is a big difference between saying you have and you hate, which also holds true for the German lnaguange.

While most Germans will tell you there is a slight difference in pronunciation, the difference is so subtle that it can be hard to hear, especially when in a song such as Rammstein’s “Du Hast.” More information can be found in the video (here).

Example Usage

“Du hast mich.”

“Du hast my love.”

“Du hast a love of metal music.”

“Du hast my eternal thanks”.

“Du hast caught my heart within your hands”.

Origin

Du hast is a German phrase popularized in the English language by the German band Rammstein. In their song entitled “Du Hast” the band repeatedly says this phrase in reference to marrying a woman. In German, however, the lyrics to this song could take on two different meanings as “du hast” could be heard as “you hate” instead of “you have.” In German, these two phrases, while spelled slightly differently, sound almost the same.

Rammstein uses the similarities in these phrases as a way for the song to have a double meaning. Their song “Du Hast” is generally thought to be about marriage as the German marriage vows are also a part of the lyrics. So, the song could be thought to be saying “you have me” or it could be thought of as “you hate me” depending on the English translation. This gives the song an extra layer of mystery and although Du Hast came out in 1997, it is still a popular metal song among many cultures today. Du Hast uses a cleaver play on words that can only really be understood in the German language because once the song is translated into English, the double meaning of the two phrases “du hast” and “du hasst” is lost. The song lyrics brilliantly uses these homophones to convey a message about the relationship between the characters in the song. When translated to English, this complexity is completely lost.

Phrases Similar to Du Hast

  • You acquire
  • You possess
  • You retain
  • You own
  • You hold
  • You love me

Phrases Opposite to Du Hast

  • You don’t have
  • To disown
  • To decline
  • To reject
  • You lack
  • You want

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Du hast- You have

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Du Hast

In German, the most commonly misused phrase for “Du hast” is “Du hasst” simply because it is so similar in pronunciation. This is of course the play on words that Rammstein used so well in their popular song, but it has also been a point of controversy for English translators and those looking to understand the true meaning of the song.

Some ways that “Du Hast” is used incorrectly are:

  • Du hasst mich, you hate me.
  • I will always love you, du hast always.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Du Hast

  • Du hast mich.
  • I will love you forever, du hast me with all my heart.
  • Du hast my love forever.
  • Du hast the time of day sir?

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