Big, tall, short, and small

Byron-K21

Byron-K21

When referring to people's physical characteristics gross generally seems to be translated as tall versus big. Of course a person could be both, but in English when we say "big" it usually refers to weight and the person may or may not be tall. When we say "tall", we mean tall, and the person may or may not be heavy. A slender, tall lady would much rather be referred to as a tall woman versus a big woman. How does German make that distinction? The same confusion, for me, exists between klein to be short or small.
PalomaEspecial

PalomaEspecial

ahh… je comprends maintenant…---- ahh... i understand now
Paul-Weber

Paul-Weber

Hello Byron, The adjectives "groß" and "klein" are quite precious, when they refer to body size they mean the height of the person never the weight. "Er ist ein großer Mann." is "he is a tall man". When referring to material things like a house "groß" is not exact about if it’s describing height or total size. If someone asks " Wie groß ist das Haus?"="how big is the house?" the person possibly wants to know the number of rooms and maybe how many levels the house has. Hope that helps! Paul
Byron-K21

Byron-K21

Yes Paul, that helps. Thanks. I still have a question though. How would you describe a person as "big" without implying he or she is fat? We might for example, see a football player and remark, "wow that's a big guy" and he may or may not be very tall, you know, the kind of guy that is built like a refrigerator.

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