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How to impress a German – 7 top expressions

Those people who have lived for a while in a foreign country, surely assimilated some of the culture's customs, learnt the basics of the native spoken language and found certain traditions and expressions interesting, awkward, incomprehensible or entertaining.

Even after almost 5 years of living in Germany, I still discover new things. Lately, I was blown away by the abundance of idiomatic expressions. Especially when it comes down to language, Germans are truly creative. Don't be fooled by their never-ending words and phrases, because their expressions are rather on the spot and alluring. "I think I spider" and "How horny is that?" were already mentioned in some articles, however, there are a lot more to be discovered! For starters, here is my top 7!

If you plan to impress a German with your language skills, go on and use one of the following idiomatic expressions:

1. Ich möchte erst sehen wie der Hase läuft = First I would like to see how the bunny runs! The English equivalent is "I'll wait and see" – no running animals involved however.

2. Mit ihm habe ich noch ein Hühnchen zu rupfen = I still have to pluck a chicken with him. Here it's all about having hard feelings and the need to clarify an issue or make a statement.

3. Es ist zum Mäusemelken = It’s for milking mice. A lot of imagination power is needed here, as the sentence is both in German and English absurd and unbelievable, and that is exactly what it means: insane!

4.Die Fliege machen – did you ever see someone making the fly? No wonder that you didn’t. However, Germans use this expression to say that they will leave the place. The idea behind this saying is that flies are often changing their place so that they don't get stroked.

5. Zu tief ins Glas blicken = To look too deep in the glas. This is probably one of the most descriptive idiomatic expressions, meaning to drink too much alcohol.

6.Dann ist aus die Maus = Then it’s over with the mouse. The keyword is “it’s over”- again, no animals involved.

7. Schwein gehabt = Had a pig. In Germany, the pig is the symbol for luck and prosperity. When someone “had a pig” it only means that the person had a great deal of luck.

That's proof enough that Germans – besides being exact, over organized, stubborn, clever-clogs and sometimes harsh – CAN, in their own specific way, be whimsical and ironic.

Happy discoveries!


Profile photo of Pop Iris Alexandra

I am Iris, a twenty something bon vivant, born and raised in Transylvania, Romania, a splendid & savage place that waits to be explored. I am constantly curious and open for new voyages - I have lived, studied and worked in the US, France and Germany and finally settled in Hamburg, my current home base, where I am still discovering the city and its surroundings. I am constantly looking for variety and new inspiration feeds – monotony and never changing landscapes just aren’t for me! Traveling is there fore my cure and the one thing that always keeps me motivated. In my perfect world, there are no borders that need to be passed; there is only a strong desire of exploring, learning and embracing knowledge, culture, nature and people. I share my adventures and discoveries on Instagram: @iris_left_rnome: Iris Alexandra Pop

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