Travelling to Germany can be a linguistic adventure for non-German speakers. Here are funny, quirky and original expressions that can be used in almost every conversation.
1. Tomaten auf den Augen haben.
“To have tomatoes over your eyes.“
This expression will be said to a person who doesn’t see something that is actually in front of them, for example: when misplacing the keys that are right on the table.
2. Eine Extrawurst bekommen.
“Getting a special sausage.“
This expression is almost literal. It refers to someone who is getting special treatment or service.
3. Da steppt der Bär.
“Where the bear dances.“
The expression refers to a place or party that has a good vibe.
4. Schwein haben.
“You have a pig.“
You are really lucky.
5. Klar wie Kloßbrühe.
“Clear dumpling broth.“
Something is really clear and easy to understand.
6. Man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben.
“You should not praise the day before the evening.“
Don’t praise something before it is not completely finished.
7. Dumm aus der Wäsche gucken.
“You look stupid out of the laundry.“
This saying refers to something unexpected that happens.
8. Einen Vogel haben.
“To have a bird.“
If somebody is acting weird, it is very common in Germany to be described as having a bird.
9. Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof.
“Life is not a pony farm.“
Life is not easy and obstacles will cross your way.
10. Da kannst du Gift drauf nehmen.
“You can take poison with that.“
If a German is really sure about a fact and wants to convince you to believe them, they will use that phrase to make it very clear.
11. Das wird der Hund der Pfanne verrückt.
“There the dog goes crazy in the pan.“
Are you absolutely outraged about something that is utterly unbelievable? You can refer to the circumstances with that vivid analogy.
12. Jetzt geht es um die Wurst.
“Now it is about the sausage.“
Another sausage expression points out the urgency of a situation or decision.
13. Um den heißen Brei herumreden.
“To talk around the hot porridge.“
This is used to describe calling a friend to tell them something, but you talk about everything but the actual reason you called.
14. Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof.
“I only understand the train station.“
If a German is lost in a conversation or does not understand what the heck is going on.
15. Seinen Senf dazugeben.
“They add their mustard.“
Used to describe a person who has to add their point of view into the discussion, no matter the topic.
16. Null acht fünfzehn.
“Zero eight fifteen.”
An expression used to describe something, somebody and/or an idea as boring and common.
17. Zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen.
“To hit two flies with one swat.“
Another way of saying “two birds with one stone.”
18. Ins Gras beißen.
“To bite into the grass.“
Literally, to die.
19. Kein Schwein war da.
“There were no pigs here.“
No one turned up to an event.
20. Die Kirche im Dorf lassen.
“To leave the church in the village.“
Instead of exaggerating something, a German would kindly ask you to leave the church, meaning that you should not get carried away by something.
21. Wie aus dem Ei gepellt.
“As fresh as an egg.“
People will use this old saying if you look really good and ready to step out in a fancy outfit.
22. Das Gelbe vom Ei.
“The yellow from the egg.“
Many Germans describe the best part of something as the yellow from the egg.
23. Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.
“Everything has an end, only the sausage has two.“
This expression got so popular in Germany, that they even dedicated a song to it. It basically means that everything comes eventually to an end.