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German Humor: More English for Runaways – Mehr Englisch für Fortgeschrittene Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in Language

In one of my previous post, I have already listed some, let’s say, “Denglish” expressions. So-called English for runaways is very popular among Germans. Actually, English for runaways is very bad English because Germans play with both languages. The simply use the structure of the German language and use English words, that is, they, for example, translate idioms literally or compounded words word per word.

Below you can find further “runaway English”. The German expressions exist in that way. The first English translation is the literal and wrong version, and the second English translation reveals the figurative meaning of the German examples.



Gib nicht so an! – Give not so on! – Don’t brag!


Himmel, Arsch und Zwirn! – Heaven, ass, and thread! – Jesus H. Christ!


Leck mich am Arsch. – Lick me on the a**. – Kiss my a**.


Bist du sicher? – Are you safe? – Are you sure?


Ich glaub ich spinne. – I think I spider. – I’m going nuts.


Mensch Meier! – Human Meier! – Holy cow!


Alles im grünen Bereich. – Everything in the green area. – Everything’s hunky dory.


Niemand kann mir das Wasser reichen. – No can reach me the water. – No one can hold a candle to me.


Da stehen mir die Haare zu Berge. – There stand me the hairs to mountain. – It raises the hairs on my neck.


Du bist so ein Angsthase. – You are so a fear rabbit. – You are such a scared cat.


Es läuft mir eiskalt den Rücken runter. – It walks me ice cold the back down. – It is spine-tingling.


Ich seh schwarz für dich. – I see black for you. – You are doomed.


Ich glaub, mich tritt ein Pferd. – I believe me kicks a horse. – Well, blow me!


Es haut mich aus den Socken. – It knocks me out the socks. – That amazes me.


Rutsch mir den Buckel runter. – Slide down my back. – Nuts to you.


Jetzt sitzen wir ganz schön in der Tinte. – Now we sit beautifully in the ink. – Now we are in the soup.


Wie du mir, so ich dir. – As you me, so I you. – Tit for tat.


Englisch für Anfänger. – English for Oncatchers. – English for beginners.


den Rasen sprengen – to bomb the meadow. – To water the lawn


Der Glückspilz – lucky mushroom


die Blasenentzündung – bubble infection – inflammation of the bladder


der Vogelbauer – bird farmer – birdcage


der Taschendieb – pocket stealer – pick-pocket


der Kaffeesatz – coffee sentence – coffee grounds


das Feuerzeug – fire thing – lighter


die Luftschlange – air snake – (paper) streamer


der Armleuchter – arm lighter – bucklehead; bonehead; idiot


Trittbrettfahrer – kick board driver – hanger-on

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About the Author:Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


  1. Dale:

    Das ist ja wirklich ganz toll!

  2. Cecilia:

    That´s very funny, I love it!
    Tnx (I have learnt from my English friends.)

  3. Harry:

    Sehr lustig 🙂 Deutsche ist der Hammer!

  4. Kim:

    The go stop is over meadows = Das Gehalt ist überwiesen

  5. Mistress0fChaos:

    Das macht mir so schnell keiner nach! – This makes me nobody so fast after! –
    I’d like to see anyone else do that! ..😁