The Meaning of ‘sich bei jdm. mit etw. anstecken’

Discover the intricacies of the German phrase ‘sich bei jdm. mit etw. anstecken’ and how it applies to both physical illnesses and emotional contagions. Learn from examples and case studies.


Have you ever heard the phrase ‘sich bei jdm. mit etw. anstecken’ and wondered what it means? In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of this German expression and how it can be applied in various contexts.

Understanding the Phrase

When translated into English, ‘sich bei jdm. mit etw. anstecken’ roughly means ‘to catch something from someone.’ This can refer to both physical illnesses or emotions/attitudes that are ‘contagious’.

Physical Illness

One common usage of this phrase is when someone catches a physical illness from another person. For example, if someone is sick and coughing, you might say ‘Ich habe mich bei ihm mit seiner Erkältung angesteckt,’ meaning ‘I caught his cold.’


This phrase can also be used to describe how someone’s emotions or attitudes can be contagious. For instance, if someone is in a bad mood and brings down the mood of others around them, you could say ‘Ich habe mich bei ihr mit ihrer Laune angesteckt,’ meaning ‘I caught her bad mood.’

Examples in Everyday Life

Imagine you are in a group of friends and one person is constantly talking negatively about a project you are working on. Soon, you find yourself also feeling pessimistic about the project. In this scenario, you could say ‘Ich habe mich bei ihm mit seiner Negativität angesteckt.’

Case Study

In a study conducted by the University of Munich, researchers found that emotions can indeed be contagious. Participants were shown videos of both positive and negative emotions, and their responses were recorded. The results showed that people were more likely to ‘catch’ negative emotions compared to positive ones.


Overall, ‘sich bei jdm. mit etw. anstecken’ is a versatile German expression that can be applied to a wide range of situations. Whether referring to physical illnesses or emotional contagions, this phrase highlights the interconnectedness of human experience. Remember to be mindful of the energies you are ‘catching’ from others, as they can greatly impact your own well-being.

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