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All About Feet, Part I

Today we're going to take a look at some standard expressions and idioms relating to the noun der Fuß ("the foot").


Ich gehe lieber zu Fuß, statt mit dem Fahrrad zu fahren.

I prefer to walk instead of riding my bike.

Caption 32, Deutsch mit Eylin: Das Wetter

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Dieses Naturreservoir ist zu Fuß in nur gut zwei Stunden zu erreichen.

This nature reserve can be reached by foot in just over two hours

Caption 6, Die letzten Paradiese: Die Schönheit der Alpen 1

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The phrase zu Fuß gehen means "to walk," but the more literal translation "to go by foot" also works interchangeably. I've occasionally hear German friends jokingly use the Latin term per pedes to mean zu Fuß, and the phrase is common enough that it appears in the Duden dictionary!


Es schüttet wie aus Eimern Klitschnass von Kopf bis Fuß.

It's raining buckets Drenched from head to toe.

Captions 16-17, Die Toten Hosen: Unter den Wolken

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The phrase von Kopf bis Fuß translates best to the English idiom "from head to toe." Normally one says the verb regnen for "to rain," but in the above caption, the slang usage of the verb schütten is used, which means "to pour." Incidentally, both klitschnass and pitschnass are slang words for "very wet."


Diese Pyramide ist zweihundertfünfzig Fuß hoch.

This pyramid is two hundred and fifty feet high.

Caption 18, Es war einmal: Entdecker und Erfinder Archimedes

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The noun der Fuß is also used for the English measurement "foot." Note that unlike the plural of the anatomical foot (die Füße), when used to mean measurement, die Fuß is the proper plural of the noun.

Auch das ist ein Vorurteil ohne Hand und Fuß.

Even this is a prejudice without rhyme or reason.

Caption 41, Flüchtlingskrise: 10 Vorurteile, die nicht stimmen

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Of course, the literal translation of the idiom ohne Hand und Fuß is "without head and foot," but it means "makes no sense" and translates best to the above English idiom.


... dass meine Kernaufgabe nicht die ist, im Fernsehen irgendwie Fuß zu fassen.

... that it is not my main task to somehow gain a foothold in television.

Caption 5, Peyman Amin: Der Modelmacher

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The phrase Fuß zu fassen is a practical one to learn. It can also be alternately translated into English as "to find a foothold" or "to establish a foothold."


Further Learning
I think it's fair to say that we've established a foothold in our understanding of some uses of the noun der Fuß! Read some of our other lessons relating to feet: Get off on the right foot and Von Kopf bis Fuß Part I and Part II. You can also search for other examples of der Fuß on Yabla German.

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