über alles

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From the verse Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt (Germany above all, above all in the world), from the German national anthem Lied der Deutschen, composed by Joseph Haydn in 1797. The verse originally meant that the Germans and their rulers have to overcome existing divisions and keep in mind the goal of a unified Germany.


über alles

  1. (used after a country name, usually ironic or humorous) Invokes a perception of the specified country as superior to others, or having a supreme status when compared to others.
    • 1967, Hugh MacDiarmid, The Company I've Kept[1], page 132:
      Similarly, British Finance Capitalism forced back to its last line of defence will cry: "Britain über alles" though for the moment, Socialism having neglected Scottish Nationalism [..]
    • 2008, Mike Hockney, Prohibition A[2], page 45:
      Pax Americana and all that bullshit? Grissom said. 'America über alles. You want to make the rest of the world our slaves.'

Usage notes[edit]

Usually italicized to emphasize embedded German words.



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über alles

  1. above all