Guten Tag, everybody!
This is the third and final post in my mini-series on German idioms! In the first post, I helped you translate those German postcards that feature German sayings translated literally into English (something only German speakers can truly appreciate – hence I wanted to help you enjoy them). The second post focused more on phrases that are relatively the same in English (because German doesn’t always like to confuse and bemuse!). In this third and final post I am bringing you a selection of other, quirky German sayings that are totally different in English. They might exist on postcards, they might not. I’ll translate them literally, too, just in case!
No table to unscramble this time (which means no work for you – yay). Let’s take it easy, have some fun and enjoy these amusing German idioms! Can you think of any more to add?
ETWAS DURCH DIE BLUME SAGEN
TO SAY SOMETHING THROUGH A FLOWER
Means: TO SAY SOMETHING IN A ROUNDABOUT WAY, SO AS NOT TO INSULT
ÜBER SEINEN SCHATTEN SPRINGEN
TO JUMP OVER YOUR SHADOW
Means: TO SWALLOW YOUR PRIDE
DIE ARSCHKARTE ZIEHEN
TO PULL THE ARSE CARD
Means: TO DRAW THE SHORT STRAW (German version wins hands-down here, let’s be honest)
DUMM AUS DER WÄSCHE GUCKEN
TO LOOK STUPIDLY THROUGH THE WASHING
Means: TO LOOK BLANKLY, ‘LIKE A DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS’ (This one is a personal favourite in German)
BIS IN DIE PUPPEN
UNTIL IN THE DOLLS
Means: INTO THE EARLY HOURS/DEEP INTO THE NIGHT (A very strange expression, if you ask me. Apparently, at one stage the phrase ‘bis in die Puppen’ was used to describe a very long walk. There was a place in Berlin called the ‘Puppenplatz’ (‘doll place’) which took a very long time to get to from the city centre. So to go ‘Bis in die Puppen’ suggested you were going to be gone for a rather long time.)
DIE BIRNE EINSCHALTEN
TO SWITCH ON THE PEAR
Means: TO USE ONE’S BRAIN/’USE YOUR LOAF’ (Sometimes, Germans call a brain/mind a Birne – a pear. The English sometimes call it a ‘loaf’, so it’s not that weird when you think about it!)
DER TEUFEL IST EIN EICHHÖRNCHEN
THE DEVIL IS A SQUIRREL
Means: EVIL COMES DISGUISED AS SOMETHING INNOCENT
What do you think of these sayings? Do you have any more to add? Please feel free to leave your favourites in the comments, be they well-known, regional, or even ones you’ve made up! Any questions are welcome, too.
***ALSO!*** If there are any specific topics you’d like me to cover on the blog, please let me know in a comment! I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, so please tell me if there is anything you need help with & I’ll see what I can do! 🙂