Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I hear people say:

"Mein lieber Scholli, das war knapp!"

What does "Scholli" mean in this context? Is using this idiom in any way offensive or insulting?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

According to Duden Online

mein lieber Scholli!

is a colloquial expression of astonishment, admiration or relief.

It's derived from the French word "joli" which means "pretty/cute" or "nice".

share|improve this answer
+1; didn't know the French origin (though it sounds logical), though I often hear the expression. –  OregonGhost Jul 25 '11 at 16:03

Nice Question, you never think about those if you are just familiar with them. de.wikipedia.org has another explanation: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/de/wiki/Mein_lieber_Scholli

"Die andere Theorie besagt, dass Scholli auf eine reale Person zurückgeht, nämlich auf Ferdinand Joly" According to Wikipedia he was a vagrant in Austria who lived a very own kind of lifestyle.

And to your Question, no it would be in no way offensive to use this. Maybe some people would find it funny to hear a foreigner say this (even for German people this is not a common expression, at least not for my age).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.