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Idiomtische Redewendungen und Ausrufe – Idiomatic Expressions and Interjections Posted by on Feb 25, 2011 in Language

Idiomatic expressions and interjections are useful means of communication. Idioms are set phrases. Knowing them can promote your linguistic competence to a considerable degree. Interjections are short words or phrases that express emotions.

Below you can find two tables, each with the literal meanings of the German expressions plus the English equivalents. I hope you find them useful. 🙂

 

IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS

German Literal Meaning English Equivalent
Ich bin soweit! I am that far. I’m ready when you are.
Ich bin in Gedanken bei dir. My heart goes out with you. I am with you in my thoughts.
Da bin ich überfragt. There I am stumped for an answer. Beats me. 

 

Ich bin ganz Ohr. I am entire ear. I’m all ears.
Jetzt bin ich aber platt. Now I am flat/zonked. You just blew my mind.
Ich bin fix und fertig. I am quick and wasted. I am all run down.
Wie du mir, so ich dir. As you (do) to me, so I (do) to you. Tit for tat.
Ich bin fast aus den Latschen gekippt. I nearly toppled out of my slippers. I nearly fell over backwards.
Ich bin die Vorsicht in Person. I am the care in person. Careful is my middle name.
Ich bin mit den Nerven am Ende. I am at the final point with my nerves. My nerves are quite frayed.
Ich bin fast gestorben vor Langerweile. I nearly died because of boredom. I was bored stiff.
Und ich bin der Kaiser von China. And I am the emperor of China. And I am the Queen of England.

 

 

INTERJECTIONS

German Literal Meaning English Equivalent
Ich glaub, mein Schwein pfeift! I think my pig is whistling! I think I’m going off my rocker!
Ich glaub ich bin im Kino! I think I am at the movies! Well, I never!
Ich glaub mich knutscht ein Elch! I think an elk is smooching me. Well, I never!
Ich glaub, mich laust der Affe! I think a monkey is delousing me! I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!
Ich glaub mich tritt ein Pferd! I think a horse is kicking me. Well blow me!
Da lachen ja die Hühner! There the chickens are laughing. That gives one a horse laugh.
Ach du liebe Zeit! Oh you gentle time! Dear me!
Ach du meine Güte! Oh, you my goodness. Good gracious!
Ach du grüne Neune! Oh you green nine! Good gracious!
Heiliger Strohsack! Holy straw mattress! Holy moley!

 

 

 

 

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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


Comments:

  1. LupusSolus:

    Excellent!

  2. Mary Ann Niemczura:

    One of my favorite I taught my students was: Da bin ich ueberefragt.

    Does the German language have an idiom similar to the English: I have eyes in the back of my head? Parents and teachers seem to know instinctively what their kids are doing even if their backs are turned. Whenever I was asked, I responded that I had eyes in the back of my head.

    Thanks for the answer if there is one.

    • Sten:

      @Mary Ann Niemczura In the negative, it surely exists: “Ich kann doch meine Augen nicht überall haben!” or “Ich habe hinten doch keine Augen!”.
      Another fun expression related to this one is: “Hast du keine Augen im Kopf?”, in other words “Use your eyes!”

  3. guy:

    The “literal” version is sometimes a bit off. But the English idioms seem to be right (on) 😉

  4. Chris:

    I had a Spanish professor in college who also spoke German. He was always using German interjections in between his Spanish, once saying to a student “Gott im Himmel! ¡Levántate!” He would often use a phrase that sounded like “Gott ist villain” or “um Gott ist villin” (like “villain” – bad guy in English) . Anyone got an idea as to what this might have been? Thanks.