Photo: Daniel M Ernst/Shutterstock

Mini-Guide to German Slang

Germany Student Work Languages
by Barbara Litzlfellner Feb 21, 2015

1. A German doesn’t “cut school or work…he “makes blue” (Blau machen).


2. A German doesn’t “beat someone up”…he “mixes someone up” (Jemanden aufmischen).


3. A German doesn’t “make fun of you”…he “pulls you through the cacao” (Jemanden durch den Kakao ziehen).


4. It’s not “all Greek to a German”…he “only understands train station” (Nur Bahnhof verstehen).


5. A German doesn’t “turn you down” if you ask for a date…he will “give you a basket” (Einen Korb geben).


6. A German doesn’t have “a skeleton in his closet”…he has “dirt on the stick” (Dreck am Stecken haben).


7. A German woman does not have a “nice rack”…she has “a lot of wood in front of her shack” (Ordentlich Holz vor der Hütte haben).


8. A German is not just “slow on the uptake”…he has “a plank in front of his head” (Ein Brett vorm Kopf haben).


9. A German doesn’t “bite the dust”…he “bites the grass” (Ins Gras beißen).


10. Alternatively, he “hands in the spoon” (Den Löffel abgeben).


11. A German doesn’t “get on your nerves”…he “gets on your cookie” (Auf den Keks gehen).


12. A German doesn’t “commit a blunder”…he “steps in a bowl of grease” (Ins Fettnäpfchen treten).


13. A German doesn’t have a “sharp tongue”…he “has hair on his teeth” (Haare auf den Zähnen haben).


14. A German husband is not “henpecked”…he is a “slipper hero” (Pantoffelheld).


15. A German doesn’t “overcome his weaker self”…he overcomes his “inner pig-dog” (Den inneren Schweinehund überwinden).


16. A German doesn’t make “a mountain out of a mole hill”…he makes an “elephant out of a mosquito” (Aus einer Mücke einen Elefanten machen).


17. A German doesn’t have to “chose between the devil and the deep blue sea“… he has to “chose between pestilence and cholera” (Die Wahl zwischen Pest und Cholera haben).


18. A German is not told to “go jump in a lake“…he is told to “go where the pepper grows” (Geh doch dahin, wo der Pfeffer wächst).


19. A German is not “friggin’ blind”…he has “tomatoes on his eyes” (Tomaten auf den Augen haben).  [

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