Germans sure have a funny way with words, part 1!

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German Idioms Part 1

Friends and family have always told me that they get a kick out of my German expressions. My infamous “Zack! Zack! Zack!” to get a move on things is tame compared to some of the funnier sayings in my homeland. When it comes to idioms, Americans can “kill two birds with one stone” or “look a gift horse in the mouth” but only in Germany can you “stand like the ox before the mountain” or “give someone a running passport.” What does it all mean? Find out below. And come back  for Part II and III. You might just “laugh me a branch.” Enjoy German Idioms Part 1 and you might want to read more in German Idioms Part 2.

GERMAN PHRASE ENGLISH TRANSLATION ACTUAL MEANING
Alles fuer die Katz All for the cat It was all for nothing
Der Laufpass Running Passport Ditch somebody
Du stehst wie der Ochs vorm Berg You stand like the ox before the mountain You’re at a total loss
Es ist mir Wurst It is me sausage It doesn’t matter to me
Ich lach mir ‘nen Ast I laugh me a branch To laugh one’s head off
Jemandem den Laufpass geben Give someone a running passport To ditch somebody
Keinen Kaese erzaehlen Tell no cheese Don’t tell me nonsense
Mein lieber Herr Gesangverein My dear mister singing club My goodness
Quadratlatschen Square slipper Big Feet
Weichei Soft egg Sissy
  • Melanie

    My favourite – Backpfeifengesicht – a face you could just slap!
    And the one my kids like – Kabelsalat – lots of cables tangled up into a “salad”

    • The Oma Way

      Melanie, thank you for sharing. I didn’t think about the Backpfeifengesicht for a very long time, but it is a good one.

  • Marion Deimling

    … da wird ja der Hund in der Pfanne verrückt 😉 I am very interesting in Part two and three 🙂