German Lessons


Top German Idioms Roundup

When was the last time you had a swine? Do you only understand "train station?" Is your life like a pony ranch? Is your nose full of it? Is it really about the wurst? Are you pressing your thumbs for me? If any of these phrases seem odd to you, now is the time catch up on some of the most common German idioms!

„Wir haben ganz schön Schwein gehabt", sagte Frederick,
"We pretty much had a swine [idiom: were lucky]," said Frederick.
Caption 33: Piggeldy und Frederick: Reise nach Schweinebrück

Maybe villages used to award pigs at farmer bingo games, but whatever the reason, "having a swine" means you're in luck in German!

Also, ich versteh' nur Bahnhof.
Well, I only understand "train station" [idiom: I don't understand anything].
Caption 27, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

"Bahnhof" might be one of the first words a new arrival to Germany learns, so if you only understand "Bahnhof," then you don't understand very much at all.

Ist das Leben für Sie ein Ponyhof?
Is life a pony ranch [idiom: easy, fun] for you?
Caption 1, Oktoberfest München: Auf der Wiesn

Apparently a pony ranch is the German idea of a "bowl of cherries"...

Aber seit dem gestrigen Halbfinale hab' ich die Nase voll!
But since yesterday's semi-finals, I have the nose full [idiom: am very disenchanted]!
Caption 23, Konjugation: Das Verb „mögen

One can only surmise that having your nose stuffed up could get pretty uncomfortable.

OK, jetzt geht's wirklich um die Wurst.
OK, now it's really about the wurst [idiom: getting serious].
Caption 35, Rhein-Main Szene: Miss Interkontinental

Germans traditionally take their sausages very seriously, so if it's "about the wurst", everybody is paying serious attention!

Deswegen müsst ihr mir ganz doll die Daumen drücken.
For that reason you have to press the thumbs [idiom, “cross your fingers”] for me very much.
Caption 25: Summer Cheergirl: Vorstellung der Kandidatinnen

Much in the same way that (as shown in the well-known scene in the film Inglourious Basterds) that a European will indicate "three" with the thumb and first two fingers, and an American with only the first three fingers, so too in Germany the thumbs are pressed rather than fingers crossed for luck.

Further Learning
Look up some common English idioms and see if you can find the German equivalents in a real world context in videos on German Yabla.

You May Also Like