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Sayings + Expressions 12 – Butter! Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Culture, History, Language

In this long series of Sprichwörter (sayings) and Ausdrücke or Redewendungen (expressions), it is time for yet another. Today, we will discuss… Butter. Yeah, butter with its smooth consistency and easily melting nature is a popular subject in language. Also for Sprichwörter and Ausdrücke. Check these two out!

Alles in Butter!


Everything in butter! (Everything’s ok!)

This Sprichwort is short, but pretty much has the same point as our Ausdruck today. It says that everything is in butter – everything is going fine, there are no problems! It actually has a really interesting Herkunft (origin). Back in the Mittelalter (Middle Ages), expensive Gläser (glasses) were transported in Fässer (barrels) over the Alps from Italien (Italy) to Deutschland (Germany). As you can imagine, the carts they used did not just always run smooth as butter, and so a lot of the Gläser could break in transit. To prevent this, the Händler (merchants) had an idea: They poured liquid butter on the Gläser. When it hardened again, the glasses were safe(r) and would not break as easily, even if a Fass would fall of a cart.

When the Adel (nobility) traveled, they often took a lot of their household with them, including porcelain and Gläser. They would use this same technique to keep everything unbroken. And when they would arrive at their destination, the first thing they were asked was: “Ist alles noch in Butter?


As you can imagine from the above, the use is pretty straightforward. If you want to know whether everything is alright, you can ask alles in Butter? And yeah, even if you want to ask a person whether they are fine!

An example:

Martin’s Chef fragt: “Ist bei der Abendveranstaltung alles in Butter?”

Martin antwortet: “Ja! Alles läuft wie geschmiert!”

Martin’s boss asks: “Is everything ok at the evening event?”

Martin answers: “Yes! Everything runs smoothly!”


On to the expression, which we have just seen now in the example above!

Es läuft wie geschmiert!

It runs as if it is lubricated/smeared. (Everything runs smoothly!)

If a machine is properly smeared with grease or oil, it runs better. Over time, this meaning passed on to other areas, and finally became a normal Ausdruck to use all over the place!


You can use it in a lot of ways, but this applies mostly to processes. You would not really say this if everything’s going well with you, after somebody asks you how you are. But otherwise, it is easily combinable with Alles in Butterfor example!

Another example:

“Du, Carsten, wie laufen deine Vorbereitungen für die Klausur?”

– “Sie laufen wie geschmiert!”

“Hey, Carsten, how is your preparation for the test going?”

 “It is going smoothly!”

Do you have this saying and this expression also in your country? How would you use them? What do you think about them? Let me know in the comments below!

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About the Author:Sten

Hi! I am Sten, and I am half Dutch and half German. I was on exchange in the United States, and I really enjoyed that year! So in that sense, I kind of have three nationalities... I love all of them!


  1. Mitchell Staude:

    How did your meeting go?

    It went smooth as silk.

  2. Dale:

    so interesting!