The Meaning of Edelweiss: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of edelweiss? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word edelweiss, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word edelweiss mean?

According to Florgeous and Transparent, the Edelweiss flower is a flower that is associated with both Switzerland and Germany. It is used on many different brand logos in Switzerland, as well as on Swiss money. The edelweiss is a white flower that has woolly, star-shaped petals. It grows in the Alps, in the Swiss Alps, as well as Alpine Germany and Austria. The flower originated in the Himalayas, but migrated over time to the Alps. The word edelweiss literally translates to noble white, and is sometimes called a wollblume, meaning woll flower, or klein löwenfuss, meaning little lion foot. The flower is associated with strength, toughness, courage and bravery because it was only able to be found at high altitudes. If a lover brought you an edelweiss flower, this was seen as them proving their love and strength, and that they will do anything for you. 

The term edelweiss is also associated with the Edelweiss Pirates – in German, die Edelweißpiraten, which was a youth group who opposed the Nazi rule during World War II. They rebelled against the Hitler youth and fought for freedom. Nowadays, you may see the edelweiss flower on Austrian army uniforms as well as on the uniforms of the German mountain troops. This beautiful flower is a perennial plant, and its scientific name is leontopodium alpinum or leontopodium nivale, This mountain flower of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland is used to express love and commitment

Edelweiss is also the name of a song from The Sound of Music. This song is sung by Captain von Trapp, played by Christopher Plummer, in the movie version. It was originally sung by Theodore Bikel. In the second verse, the children and Maria, played by Julie Andrews, join in. According to Legends Revealed, the song “Edelweiss” was based on an Austran folk song. Rodgers and Hammerstein, the group that wrote the song. This was the last song that Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers ever wrote. They intended for the song to express the loss that the Captain felt leaving his native Austria because of the Nazis. They decided to write a song about edelweiss, the flower that young suitors would climb the alps to get for their loved ones. This is a very melancholy song. The lyrics are as follows, from Lyrics Mode.

Edelweiss, Edelweiss

Every morning you greet me

Small and white clean and bright

You look happy to meet me

Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow

Bloom and grow forever

Edelweiss, Edelweiss

Bless my homeland forever.

The word edelweiss is spelled very differently from language to language. However, all of these translations are used to refer to the same type of European perennial alpine plant, according to Word Sense. It is useful to know many different translations of a word if you are visiting a foreign country aor if you are talking to someone who does not speak English.

  • Arabic: إِدِيلْوَيْس‎
  • Russian: эдельве́йс‎ (masc.)
  • Romanian: floare-de-colț‎ (fem.), edelvais‎ (masc.), albumeală‎ (fem.)
  • Czech: protěž‎ (fem.), protěž alpská‎ (fem.)
  • Italian: stella alpina‎ (fem.)
  • Chinese – Mandarin: 雪絨花‎, 雪绒花‎ (xuěrónghuā)
  • Japanese: エーデルワイス‎ (ēderuwaisu)
  • French: edelweiss‎ (masc.)
  • German: Edelweiß‎ (neut.)
  • Korean: 에델바이스‎
  • Serbo-Croatian: рунолист‎ (masc.), runolist‎ (masc.), планинка‎ (fem.), planinka‎ (fem.)
  • Greek: εντελβάις‎

How can the word edelweiss be used in a sentence?

The word edelweiss can be used in a couple of different ways. First, it can be used to refer to the flower itself. Second, it can be used to refer to the song from The Sound of Music. In this first example, the word edelweiss will refer to the song from The Sound of Music. In this example, Trevor tried out for the school play and the cast list has just been posted. He calls his mom.

Trevor: Mom, guess what!

Mom: What? What happened? Is everything okay?

Trevor: Everything is great! The cast list for the school musical just got posted– I get to play Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music!

Mom: Oh, honey, I’m so happy for you! Congratulations! I have always loved the way you sing “Edelweiss,” and now you can sing it for the whole school. Let’s celebrate tonight.

Here, Trevor’s mom uses the word edelweiss to refer to the song that he has sung in the past and will sing in his role as Captain von Trapp. In this next example, Annie and her girlfriend Raina are in a long-distance relationship. Raina shows up unexpectedly at Annie’s house with a bouquet of flowers.

Annie: Raina?! How are you here right now?

Raina: I wanted it to be a surprise. Here, these are for you.

Annie: They’re so beautiful. Thank you!

Raina: They’re edelweiss. In Germany, these used to symbolize that you would do anything for your love, because you had to climb super high up the Alps to get them. I got them at a florist, but I hope the sentiment is still there. I’ll do anything for you – even a 13-hour plane ride.

Here, Raina has bought Annie the edelweiss flower to show her love and commitment symbolically. 

Overall, the word edelweiss refers to a flowering plant that grows in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. This flower is best associated with the song from The Sound of Music, in which the Captain sings about having to leave his country that is under Nazi rule. This flower is used to show love and affection for another person, and at one point also symbolizes courage and bravery. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.wordsense.eu/edelweiss/
  2. http://legendsrevealed.com/entertainment/2012/07/25/was-edelweiss-based-on-an-austrian-folk-song/
  3. https://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/r/rodgers_and_hammerstein/edelweiss.html
  4. https://blogs.transparent.com/german/the-edelweiss-and-its-meaning/
  5. https://florgeous.com/edelweiss-flower-meaning/