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Hallo zusammen 🙂

It’s time for another blog entry. As German is my mother tongue and Fips has been the only person commenting on here (thank you :-)), I decided to post a second part of “Funny idioms – German”. Here we go.

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1. etwas in den Sand setzen

„to put sth in the sand“ -> to muck/mess something up

Example 1: „Jim has put the Math test in the sand.“

(Jim hat die Matheprüfung in den Sand gesetzt.)

Example 2: “The company has put €10,000 in the sand.”

(Die Firma hat 10.000 € in den Sand gesetzt.)

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2. auf dem Schlauch stehen

„to be standing on the hose“ -> to not get it/to be stuck/to get one’s wires crossed

I think it’s not a synonym to “only understand station”, because this “hose idiom” is used when something is really obvious/clear as daylight and everyone else has understood it.

Example: “Number ‘3’ is the correct answer?! … Oh gosh, of course!! I was completely standing on the hose!”

(Nummer 3 ist die richtige Antwort?! … Oh mann, natürlich!! Ich stand total auf dem Schlauch!“)

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3. sich etwas abschminken

„to take sth off“ („to remove one’s makeup“) -> synonym to “have cut oneself” -> to have to go without sth.

Example: “If you don’t study now, you can take off the party tonight!”

(Wenn du jetzt nicht lernst, kannst du dir die Party heute Abend abschminken!)

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4. noch in Abrahams Wurstkessel sein

„to be still in Abraham’s sausage pot” -> to be not yet born

Example: “When the war was taking place, you were still in Abraham’s sausage pot.”

(Als der Krieg war, warst du noch in Abrahams Wurstkessel.)

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5. in den sauren Apfel beißen

„to bite into the sour apple“ -> to swallow the bitter pill/to bite the bullet

Example: “I don’t want to spend the whole weekend working but I guess I’ll just have to bite into the sour apple.”

(Ich will nicht das ganze Wochenende mit arbeiten verbringen, aber ich denke da werde ich wohl in den sauren Apfel beißen müssen.)

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6. aus einer Mücke einen Elefanten machen

„to make an elephant out of a gnat” -> to make a mountain out of a molehill

Example: “The two friends argue a lot, mostly they make an elephant out of a gnat.”

(Die zwei Freunde streiten sich oft, meistens machen sie aus einer Mücke einen Elefanten.)

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7. auf Wolke Sieben schweben/sein

I know, Valentine’s Day is already over, but here the correspondent idiom!

“to float/be on cloud seven” -> to be on cloud nine

So as you see, Germans are 2 clouds below 😉 Is anyone on cloud eight? Hahaha!

Example: “She has a boyfriend now and she’s floating on cloud seven.”

(Sie hat jetzt einen Freund und schwebt auf Wolke sieben.)

Do you use the English version only for love or for happiness in general?

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8. zum Mäusemelken sein

„to be for mouse-milking“ -> “to be enough to make you crazy”

Example: “The computer program is hanging all the time – it’s for mouse-milking!”

(Das Computerprogramm hängt andauernd – es ist zum Mäusemelken!)

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9. auf der Matte stehen

„to stand on the mat“ -> to be on the spot and ready for action

Example: “For this job you have to stand on the mat at 4 am”.

(Für diesen Job musst du um 4 Uhr früh auf der Matte stehen.)

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10. nicht auf den Mund gefallen sein

„someone didn’t fall on his/her mouth“ -> to have a quick tongue/to have the gift of the gab

Example: “Sarah told them right away what things could be changed about the event. She really didn’t fall on her mouth.”

(Sarah hat ihnen gleich gesagt, was sie am Event ändern könnten. Sie ist wirklich nicht auf den Mund gefallen.)

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11. Bleib/Geh hin, wo der Pfeffer wächst!

„stay/go where the pepper grows“ -> go jump in the lake

Example: „It‘s really getting too colorful to me now. Do what you want and go where the pepper grows!”

(Das wird mir jetzt echt zu bunt. Mach was du willst und geh hin, wo der Pfeffer wächst!)

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12. die Sau rauslassen

„to let the sow out” -> to paint the town red

Example: “Our final exams are finally over. Let’s paint the town red tonight!”

(Unsere Abschlussprüfungen sind endlich vorbei. Lasst uns heute Abend die Sau rauslassen!)

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13. Das kommt nicht in die Tüte!

„This doesn’t come into the bag!” -> “This is out of the question!”; synonym to no. 3 “to take sth off”

Example: “You want to go to a party tonight?! After you put your Math test in the sand?! This doesn’t come into the bag!”

(Du willst heute Abend auf eine Party! Nachdem du deine Matheprüfung in den Sand gesetzt hast?! Das kommt nicht in die Tüte!)

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14. die Nase voll (von etwas) haben

„to have one’s nose full of sth” -> to be fed up with sth

Example: “I have my nose full of rising electricity prices!”

(Ich hab die Nase voll von steigenden Stromkosten!)

Instead of „nose“, you can also say „snout“, but this sounds way ruder.

That’s the end of this blog entry, I hope you liked it, please leave a comment (everyone :P).

Have a nice weekend!

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Hey everyone. So today it’s time for the German idioms! Let’s start right off, I know you’re curious!! 🙂 Which of the following do you already know?

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1. sich in den Arsch/Hintern beißen

“to bite oneself in the ass/butt” -> to kick oneself (“ass” is more common, but also more colloquial)

Example: “I bought the product for 70 euros, and one shop later I saw exactly the same one, but for 52 euros only. I could bite myself in the butt!”

(Ich habe das Produkt für 70 Euro gekauft, und im Laden danach sah ich genau dasselbe, aber für nur 52 Euro. Ich könnte mich in den Arsch/Hintern beißen!)

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2. nur Bahnhof verstehen

“to only understand station” -> It’s all Greek to someone

Example: “The Math teacher was talking about the text problem, and we said ‘Could you explain it again, please? We only understand station!”

(Der Mathelehrer redete über die Sachaufgabe. Wir sagten „Könnten Sie es bitte nochmal erklären? Wir verstehen nur Bahnhof!“)

We have another idiom with a similar meaning: “It sounds Spanish to me”

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3. Hals- und Beinbruch!

“Neck and leg fracture!” -> Good luck!/Break a leg!

Example: “Neck and leg fracture for the job interview!”

(Hals- und Beinbruch für das Vorstellungsgespräch!)

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4. bekannt sein wie ein bunter Hund

„to be as known as a colorful dog” -> to be well-known/to be known all over the place

Example: “Everyone here knows him. He’s as known as a colorful dog.”

(Jeder hier kennt ihn. Er ist bekannt wie ein bunter Hund.)

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5. jemandem zu bunt werden

„to become/get too colorful to someone” -> to go too far/someone’s patience snaps

Example: “Normally our English teacher is a patient person, but that lesson was such a mess. He shouted ‘This is getting too colorful to me here, either you all shut up and do your work or there’ll be a hail of expulsions from school!’”

(Normalerweise ist unser Englischlehrer sehr geduldig, aber diese Stunde war total chaotisch. Er brüllte: „Das wird mir hier zu bunt, entweder seid ihr alle ruhig und macht eure Aufgaben oder es hagelt Verweise!“)

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6. einen Besen fressen

„to gorge a broom“ -> to eat one’s hat

Example: “If FC Nuremberg wins against Bayern Munich, I’ll gorge a broom!”

(Wenn der FC Nürnberg gegen Bayern München gewinnt, fresse ich einen Besen!)

(I think you use this idiom to say that, if something happens, you’ll be very surprised, but glad. (So I’d be very glad if Munich lost against Nuremberg :-))

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7. blau machen

“to do blue” -> to play hooky/take a mental health day/skip work

Example: “I don’t like going to school/work tomorrow. I think I’ll do blue for a day.”

(Ich habe morgen keine Lust auf Schule/Arbeit. Ich denke ich werde einen Tag blau machen.)

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8. (auf etwas) keinen Bock (mehr) haben

„to have no billy goat/buck… (anymore) (on something)” -> to not feel like something/someone can’t be bothered..

Similar to “keine Lust haben” (see above), but this one is stronger and much more colloquial. If you add the “mehr”/”anymore”, it means you don’t want to do something any longer

Example: “I don’t have a billy goat on this charade anymore, I’ll quit this job!”

(Ich habe keinen Bock mehr auf dieses Affentheater, ich kündige!)

Example 2: „Hector, don’t you want to play soccer with the other kids?“ – “Nope, no billy goat.”

(Hector, willst du nicht mit den anderen Kindern Fußball spielen? – Nee, keinen Bock.)

By the way, if someone is „bockig“ (“billy goat-ish”), s/he is stubborn/huffy

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9. Quatsch mit Soße

“nonsense with sauce” -> nonsense

Example: “Bayern Munich will win against Dortmund” – “Ahh, nonsense with sauce! Dortmund will win at least 2-o!“

(Bayern München wird gegen Dortmund gewinnen – Ach, Quatsch mit Soße! Dortmund gewinnt mit mindestens 2:0!)

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10. einen Vogel/eine Meise haben

„to have a bird/chickadee“ -> to be crazy/to be mentally irregular

Example: “You want to go outside in spite of the storm? Do you have a bird/chickadee?!”

A synonym for this idiom is “bei jemandem piept’s wohl”/”someone is making peeping noises”.

(Du willst nach draußen trotz des Sturms? Hast du nen Vogel/ne Meise?! or: Bei dir piept’s wohl!)

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11. ins Fettnäpfchen treten

„to step into the grease bowl” -> to commit a faux pas/to blunder/to make a fool of oneself

Example: “Applicants can step into many grease bowls during a job interview.”

(Beim Vorstellungsgespräch kann der Bewerber in viele Fettnäpfchen treten.)

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12. zwei Fliegen mit einer Klappe schlagen

„to hit two flies with one swatter” -> to kill two birds with one stone

Example: “I’ll go jogging. That way I hit two flies with one swatter: I clear my mind and keep myself in shape.”

(Ich gehe joggen. So schlage ich zwei Fliegen mit einer Klatsche: Ich bekomme den Kopf frei und halte mich fit.)

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13. auf etwas Gift nehmen

„You can take poison on it!“ -> You can bet your life on it!

Example: “’Will Dortmund beat Bayern Munich tomorrow?’ – ‘You can take poison on it!’”

(„Wird Dortmund morgen gegen Bayern München gewinnen?” – „Darauf kannst du Gift nehmen!“)

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14. ins Gras beißen

„to bite the grass“ -> to bite the dust

Example: “At the end of the movie the killer had to bite the grass.”

(Am Ende des Films muste der Killer ins Gras beißen.)

A synonym is „den Löffel abgeben“ -> „to cede the spoon“

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15. (klar) auf der Hand liegen

“to lie (clearly) on the hand” -> to be obvious

Example: “It lies (clearly) on the hand that more and more customers purchase our products on the internet.”

(Es liegt (klar) auf der Hand, dass immer mehr Kunden unsere Produkte im Internet kaufen.)

We have another idiom with the same meaning: „to be as clear as dumpling soup”

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16. auf allen Hochzeiten tanzen

“You can’t dance at all weddings” -> You can’t be in two places at the same time

Example: “You want to go to your friend’s birthday party, you want to see the soccer match, but you also have to do your homework and practice for the English test – you can’t dance at all weddings!”

(Du willst zur Geburtstagsparty deiner Freundin, du willst das Fußballspiel sehen, aber du musst auch noch deine Hausaufgaben machen und für den Englischtest lernen – man kann nicht auf allen Hochzeiten tanzen!)

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17. auf dem Holzweg sein

„to be on the wood path“ -> to be mistaken

A synonym is „sich geschnitten haben“ -> „have cut oneself“

Example 1: “The people who think that the German idiom ‘have cut oneself’ has something to do with emos, are on the wood path.”

(Die Leute, die denken, dass die deutsche Redewendung “sich geschnitten haben“ etwas mit Emos zu tun hat, sind auf dem Holzweg.)

Example 2: “If you think that I’ll give you more pocket money now, you have cut yourself.”

(Wenn du denkst, dass ich dir jetzt mehr Taschengeld gebe, hast du dich geschnitten.)

I think you can’t translate these idioms with „You’re barking up the wrong tree“ because to me, the English version sounds like “You’re accusing the wrong person”, while the German idioms indicate expectations, especially the second one (see example 2). – If I’m on the wood path with the English one, let me know 😉

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18. einen Kater haben

“to have a tomcat” -> to have a hangover

Example: “Do you know a good way to prevent a tomcat?”

(Weißt du ein gutes Mittel, um einen Kater vorzubeugen?)

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19. jemanden/etwas durch den Kakao ziehen

„to pull somebody/something through the cocoa“ -> to make a fool of sb./sth., to ridicule sb./sth., to parody

Example: “In the comedy show they pulled many politicians through the cocoa”.

(In der Comedyshow haben sie viele Politiker durch den Kakao gezogen.)

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20. jemanden auf die Palme bringen

„to drive someone up the palm tree“ -> to drive someone up the wall/to drive someone mad/to make someone’s blood boil

Example: “Intolerant and dishonest people quickly drive me up the palm tree.”

(Intolerante und unehrliche Leute bringen mich schnell auf die Palme.)

Another idiom is „You’re getting on the cookie“/“You’re getting on the alarm clock“ = to bug sb./to get on someone’s nerves

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21. Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.

“Everything has an end, only the sausage has two.”

Yup…like it says!

That’s the end of this blog entry, I hope you liked it!

 

Hey everyone! Long time, no blog entry. Sorry for that! I had a lot to do, especially last week. I had to proofread the translation (English -> German) for an entire user’s manual. It was quite interesting, especially writing comments and see what the translator says about them was a good experience. You always learn something new.

 

So, what do I have for you today? As the title says, I’m going to post some kind of “blog series” about idioms. Proverbs and idiomatic expressions never get boring. Let’s start!

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1. A bitter pill.

A situation that is unpleasant, but must be accepted.

Example: “Losing the championship to a younger player was a bitter pill to swallow.”

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2. Flash as a rat with a gold tooth. Australian expression.

Ostentatious. A man who tries hard to impress people by his appearance/behavior. In spite of a superficial smartness, he is not to be trusted. In spite of the gold tooth, he is still a rat.

Example: “You’re looking as flash as a rat with a gold tooth!”

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3. To make a good fist of… British & Australian. Old-fashioned.

To do something well; it’s generally used when the results are perhaps disappointing, but not because of the person’s efforts.

Example: “He made a good fist of explaining why we need to improve our public transport system.”/“He did those tasks for the first time, and although the results aren’t perfect, he made a good fist of it.“

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4. A hard/tough nut to crack.

Someone who is difficult to deal with because they are unpleasant or very determined to get what they want./A difficult problem to solve.

Example: “It won’t be easy getting her approval; she’s a tough nut to crack.”

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5. On tap.

available, ready, to be expected, on the schedule

Example: “What’s on tap for today?”

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6. To raise hell.

to complain in a loud and angry way/American: to behave in a noisy or wild way, upsetting other people

Example: “She raised hell when she realized her office had no windows.”/”Some kids were raising hell in the street.”

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7. To grin like a Cheshire cat.

to grin/smile broadly, showing one’s teeth

Example: “When she walked in grinning like a Cheshire cat, I knew that she got the job.”

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8. The worm has turned.

Someone who was always weak and did what he was told has now become strong and confident.

Example: “Yesterday, she just came in and told him to stop bossing her around. The worm has turned!“

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9. To pick someone’s brains.

to ask for information or advice from someone who knows more about a subject than you do.

Example: “The new employee was working for our main competitor before coming here, so the boss has been picking his brains to find out what they’re doing over there.”

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10. To blow one’s own horn/trumpet.

American & Australian: to blow one’s own horn. British & Australian: to blow one’s own trumpet.

to tell other people how good and successful you are

Example: “She’s one of the best journalists we’ve got, although she’d never blow her own horn/trumpet.”

Last but not least ~

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11. To pay through the nose.

to pay too much for something

Example: “If you want a decent wine in a restaurant, you have to pay through the nose for it.”

There are dozens of idioms, I just picked some of them. I hope you liked this blog entry! More languages to follow ~