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Rabbit Expressions in German

It's typical in many languages to use phrases with animals as idiomatic expressions, such as the English expressions "to let the cat out of the bag" (to reveal a secret) or "Hold your horses!" (ordering someone to stop whatever they are doing). German has a number of animal expressions too, but in this lesson today, we'll only concern ourselves with those related to rabbits!



…aber die alten Hasen trotzdem noch kommen, die „Die-hard“-Fans.

…but the old rabbits nevertheless still come, the die-hard fans.

Caption 44, Sons of Sounds - Open-Air in Karlsruhe

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Musikalisch könnten Ärzte, Rammstein und Co

Musically, the Ärzte, Rammstein and others could

von einem alten Hasen wie ihm noch richtig was lernen.

really still learn something from an old rabbit like him.

Captions 24-25, Heino - Neue Volkslieder

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The idiom ein alter Hase is equivalent to the English idiom "an old hand", meaning somebody who has a lot of experience at something. Judging from the videos above, the expression seems to be a particular favorite of musicians!


Hallöchen, ihr Hasen! Ich bin die kleine, süße Olivia Jones.

Hello [diminutive], you bunnies! I am sweet little Olivia Jones.

Caption 1, Hamburger Hafenrundfahrt - Schrill unterwegs mit Olivia Jones

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Tschüss, Prinzessin. -Tschüss, Mama. -Tschüss, mein Hase.

Bye, Princess. -Bye, Mama. -Bye, my bunny.

Caption 60, Mama arbeitet wieder - Kapitel 1: Alle haben sich lieb

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In the examples above, Hase has been translated as "bunny," in this case it means a term of endearment like "darling."


Damit ist der Hase wohl gelutscht und der Drops sitzt in der Falle [Redewendungen mit vertauschten Subjekten].

With that the rabbit has been sucked and the lozenge is in the trap [Expressions with subjects reversed].

Caption 66, Die Pierre-M.-Krause-Show - Classics

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The above example actually reversed the subjects of the sentence as a joke. The phrase should be: Der Hase sitzt in der Falle, which is not really an idiom at all, rather just a metaphorical phrase meaning they have caught the criminal they intended to arrest. 


Further Learning
The following phrases are typical idiomatic expressions using der Hase. See if you can intuitively guess their meaning, then go to this Duden page and see if your guesses were correct! 


— ein heuriger Hase


— sehen, wie der Hase läuft


— da liegt der Hase im Pfeffer 


Afterwards, you can go to Yabla German and find other uses of der Hase in a real-world context.


Thank you for reading this. Keep up the good work! If you have any good ideas for lesson topics, please email them to us at, and you can tweet us @yabla.

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