19 German slang phrases you need to master
If a German 'gets on your cookie', it's probably because they have 'hair on their teeth' – but is it really worth making an 'elephant out of a mosquito'?
If you are living in Germany and want to fit in like a German local, there's not better way than learning the local lingo.
1. Blau machen
Germans don’t 'cut school or work', they 'make blue'.
2. Jemanden aufmischen
A German won't 'beat someone up', but instead 'mixes someone up'.
3. Jemanden durch den Kakao ziehen
Germans don't 'make fun of you', they 'pull you through the cacao'.
4. Nur Bahnhof verstehen
It’s not 'all Greek' to a German if they don't understand – instead they 'only understand train stations'.
5. Einen Korb geben
Germans don’t 'turn you down' if you ask for a date but they will 'give you a basket'.
6. Dreck am Stecken haben
Germans don’t have 'a skeleton in their closet' – they have 'dirt on the stick'.
7. Ordentlich Holz vor der Hütte haben
A German woman does not have a 'nice rack', she has 'a lot of wood in front of her shack'.
8. Ein Brett vorm Kopf haben
Germans are not 'slow on the uptake', but they could have 'a plank in front of their heads'.
9. Ins Gras beißen
Germans don't 'bite the dust' – they 'bite the grass'.
10. Den Löffel abgeben
Alternatively, they might just 'hand in the spoon'.
11. Auf den Keks gehen
Germans don't 'get on your nerves', but they might 'get on your cookie'.
12. Ins Fettnäpfchen treten
Germans don’t 'commit a blunder' – they 'step in a bowl of grease'.
13. Haare auf den Zähnen haben
Germans don’t have a 'sharp tongue', instead they have 'hair on their teeth'.
A German husband is not 'henpecked', he is a 'slipper hero'.
15. Den inneren Schweinehund überwinden
German don’t 'overcome their weaker self', they overcome their 'inner pig-dog'.
16. Aus einer Mücke einen Elefanten machen
Germans don’t make 'a mountain out of a mole hill', they make an 'elephant out of a mosquito'.
17. Die Wahl zwischen Pest und Cholera haben
Germans don’t have to 'chose between the devil and the deep blue sea' but they might have to 'chose between pestilence and cholera'.
18. Geh doch dahin, wo der Pfeffer wächst
Germans are not told to 'go jump in a lake', they are told to 'go where the pepper grows'.
19. Tomaten auf den Augen haben
Germans are not 'blind', they have 'tomatoes on his eyes'.
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