Ich musste in bar bezahlen.

English Translation

I had to pay in cash.

Why is “bar” not capitalized here?


Good question. To be honest I never thought about that before.

I think in principle it is short for
“ich musste in barer Münze bezahlen”, so it once was a adjective.
“bar” is an old adjective similar to the english “bare”
It is still existing in “barhäuptig” meaning “without a hat” or “barfuß” meaning “barefoot”

You do not need the “in”, today it is more common to say
“ich musste bar bezahlen”, then it is an adverb.

There is also the expression “Das ist barer Unsinn.” meaning “That is pure / obvious nonsense”.
“Etwas für bare Münze nehmen” means “take something at face value”.


Interesting. This one confused me because I’ve heard “Ich möchte mit Bargeld bezahlen” before, and assumed that “in bar bezahlen” must be a similar usage.


In English you have also various possibilities.
So, if you want to be very strict:
“I had to pay in cash” = Ich musste mit Bargeld bezahlen."
“i had to pay cash” = “ich musste bar bezahlen.”

In both cases the first one is a little bit more formal but the difference is small, isn’t it?

One thing I forgot about the “bar” /“bare”
You cannot translate the “bare (bear) necessities” in any elegant way, so in the German version that joke is completely lost.