Bizarre and Hilarious German Proverbs and Idioms
If you go by first impressions, you’ll be like most people who think that Germans are humorless, cold and rude. It’s unfortunate that the general impression is like that, because it’s just a stereotype. If you’ve experienced living in Germany or have German friends, you’d say otherwise. But they do have common personality traits.
The typical German personality
Germans are very disciplined, efficient and hardworking. They are practical thinkers and look for solutions to problems. They do have a sense of humor but they go for the cynical and ironic rather than the clownish and silly type of humor.
They are planners and often have a main plan as well as a backup plan. They are neat and orderly. They strive to put structure into their day and like their schedule of appointments organized.
They are after efficiency and maximizing their day, which is why they plan and organize. This correlates to their another trait – punctuality. While there are exceptions to the rule as always, Germans are generally very punctual, barring traffic jams, late trains or emergencies. Most Germans feel offended when the person they are supposed to meet is late, except when they have valid reasons.
Finally, Germans honor their traditions and they follow them throughout their lives.
Interesting tidbits about the German language
The German and English languages are cousins. They both belong to the West Germanic branch of the Indo European language family. Many believe that the German language is the language of thinkers and writers because of the greatness of some personalities, such a Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, Karl Marx, Immanuel Kant and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Funny German proverbs and idioms
Despite these traits and general perceptions mentioned above, the German language has bizarre and hilarious proverbs and idioms, contrary to the traits and demeanor of the people who natively speak German. Here are some of them.
Ich kriege so eine Krawatte
The English translation of this saying is I get such a tie! But do not be literal, for this is an expression Germans use when they are too angry. It means that they feel such a pressure in their throat that makes them want to scream because they are trying to control their anger.
Ich bin fuchsteufelswild!
If this is the expression you hear, run for cover because in English, this means I am super angry.
Warum spielst du die beleidigte Leberwurst?
Why are you playing the offended liver sausage is the translation of this funny saying. If you are not an insider, you’ll feel baffled because literally, why would the liver sausage offend you. For the Germans, however, it’s the equivalent of asking why someone is throwing a fit or displaying a temper tantrum for something petty.
Er spielt die beleidigte Leberwurst
Germans really love their sausages, shown by the number of proverbs and idioms they have using their favorite leberwurst. When you hear a German say, Er spielt die beleidigte Leberwurst, he or she is actually saying that someone is resentful.
Hör auf um den heißen Brei herumzureden
Literally, this translates to, Stop talking around the hot soup. The actual meaning of this is to stop beating around the bush. A very apt saying for people who do not usually engage in small talk outside of their circle of friends.
Lass die Kirche im Dorf
This German idiom translates to, Leave the church in the village. Which can be interpreted as asking someone to calm down and avoid exaggerating.
Where to find more German proverbs and idioms
There you have it, some of the common German proverbs and idioms you’ll hear if you end up vising Germany and meeting up with the locals. Since Google translate isn’t able to recognize proverbs and idioms, use a more accurate German translation to help you understand more. You can also check out this post for a few more German idioms. Study them and you’ll fit in nicely.
Learn German on your own using LingQ
Last but not least, you can use LingQ to find thousands of hours of German content. LingQ’s library contains content suitable for absolute beginners and advanced learners. What’s great about LingQ is that you can easily read transcripts, look up and save new vocabulary, and access the audio… all in one platform. Oh, and it’s also available on mobile too so you can take your studies anywhere you go.
Sean Patrick Hopwood is the President and CEO of Day Translations, Inc. Personally, Sean promotes language learning and fully supports cultural diversity. His other interests include blogging, playing soccer, Latin dances and continuous learning.