German Language Blog

Sayings + Expressions 7: Old Love or the Casanova? Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Culture, Language

Dear readers!

Welcome to yet another Sayings + Expressions. Today it is all about love, or rather, romance. Because what is love, how do we interact with each other on that intimate plane? German has a very nice saying for this, and at the same time a very famous expression… First, as always, the saying. Enjoy!

Alte Liebe rostet nicht

Old love doesn’t rust (First love, last love)

This saying is very old, and as many others comes from the Latin vetus amor non sentit rubiginem (old love does not know rust). It means that old feelings, long felt love, does not fade. Metal starts rusting after some time, which means it wastes away, becomes crumbly, loses its shine and in the end becomes worthless. These feelings of love, however, don’t ever rust. They stay as they were from the beginning!


Alte Liebe rostet nicht is not used so often, and I suppose that is because it seems quite rare, or is not very easy to observe. For example, if a pair is still together after ten years, and both still love each other, are in a great relationship that roots in those feelings, then it is a legitimate saying! Example:

Hans und Marie sind schon seit 20 Jahren zusammen, und lieben sich noch wie am ersten Tag. Alte Liebe rostet nicht!

Hans and Mary have been together for 20 years, and love each other like on the first day. First love, last love!



Ein Casanova sein

To be a Casanova 

Some people also do not feel like loving forever, or binding themselves too much. If somebody switches between many different partners, in other words, is a player, it is a different kind of love or romance. Mainly used for men, such players can be referred to as a Casanova. This very widely known word for a Frauenheld (women’s hero) comes from the Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova. He lived from 1725 to 1798, years in which he traveled through Europe and had, according to his own memoirs, quite a lot of women.


Rather than calling someone a Aufreißer (player), Casanova can be used as a euphemism. Possibly, ein Casanova sein has some implied romance and admiration contrary to being a player. The example:

Frank hatte innerhalb einer Woche vier Frauen. Er ist echt ein Casanova!

Frank had four women within a week. He really is a Casanova!


Whether you enjoy long lasting love and feelings or the short emotional adrenaline rush,


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. Serena:

    I idealize the concept of ‘long lasting love’that goes down for ages in history… the way soul mates are formed. But then I also think that anybody can fall out of love. They may fall in the trap of false love where all the trust may turn into rust 🙂 After all reality sometime is more dramatic than fiction and dreams!