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Get Off on the Right Foot

English has quite a few idioms using the word "foot," and the German language also "puts its best foot forward" in this regard!


Some German foot expressions are very similar to English:


Ich nehm' mein Herz und leg's dir zu Füßen.

I'll take my heart and lay it at your feet.

Caption 3, Deutsche Musik - Chris und Croissant

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Sometimes, a German expression is close to English, but with a spin of its own:


Er war von Kopf bis Fuß grün angezogen.

He was dressed in green from head to foot [idiom: completely].

Caption 23, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Ein Topf voll Gold

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The above expression is very similar, of course, to the English "from head to toe." Most German idiomatic expressions with the word Fuß are quite different, however:


Und die Besucher müssen wirklich gut zu Fuß sein.

And the visitors must be really good to foot [idiom: agile].

Captions 18-19, Internationale Automobilausstellung - IAA in Frankfurt öffnet die Pforten

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The English foot idiom that comes closest is "light on their feet." At Yabla, we translate idioms literally (word for word), and then add a dictionary-style definition for clarity.


Be careful you don't "put your foot in it" though, as some expressions sound similar to English, but have a completely different meaning:


Was Henne gesagt hat, hat ja eigentlich auch Hand und Fuß.

But I think what Henne has said also actually has a hand and a foot [idiom: makes sense].

Caption 48, Luxuslärm - Interview

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If you recall the English saying "to wait on someone hand and foot," you might falsely interpret the German to mean that Henne was being servile, when in fact she was making sense!



Further Learning
Learn some more expressions about other parts of the body here, and go to Yabla German and see how the word Fuß is used in different contexts.


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