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Is there an idiomatic equivalent in German for “have other fish to fry”?

have other fish to fry: "To have more important things to do"

As an anecdote I want to mention that in the two romance languages I am familiar with, this idiom is related to cats:

In French: avoir d'autres chats à fouetter- to have other cats to whip
In Italian: avere altre gatte da pelare - to have other cats to skin

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Schlichtweg: Ich habe wichtigere Dinge zu tun ;p –  Em1 Apr 7 '12 at 15:32
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Actually, since the answers are a bit off-topic or doesn't say anything else than a literal translation for "to have more important things to do", I would say: No, there isn't an idiom! –  Em1 Apr 7 '12 at 21:09
    
@ Em1, you are right, a correct answer would be "no there isn't an idiom, some literal translation are such and such –  idober Apr 8 '12 at 10:54
    
Not strictly the same, but in nicht meine Baustelle the more important things are implied. –  starblue Apr 11 '12 at 7:25
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Actually there is an "animalistic" idom for "more important things"

If someone has no time for you and seems to have an important business, you can ask ironically:

Was hast du denn noch für Igel zu bürsten?

See e.g. http://echt-gothsch.de/pages/redensarten.php

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I've also heard “ich habe noch andere Igel zu bürsten” – frequently, but afaicr only from members of one family, so that may not count for much. –  Christopher Creutzig Apr 9 '12 at 18:55
    
What is the literal translation to English? –  idober Apr 9 '12 at 20:13
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"I have to brush some other hedgehogs." Never heard that one, though. –  Jules Apr 10 '12 at 9:34
    
I agree, the phrase isn't used very frequently. But it is funny and I'll try to employ it myself more often :-) –  Landei Apr 12 '12 at 7:29
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Nicht wirklich passend, aber angrenzend:

Ich habe noch ein heißes Eisen im Feuer.

Ein Eisen im Feuer zu haben wird aber benutzt um eine weitere Option, die man hat, zu beschreiben; nicht eine Pflicht, die man erledigen muss.

Es könnte also in manchen Fällen passen, aber nicht in allen.

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"noch ein Eisen im Feuer" <> "ein hei0es Eisen anfassen" –  Eugene Seidel Apr 7 '12 at 19:58
    
Mit kalter Fusion natürlich auch kalte Eisen im Feuer ... –  user unknown Apr 7 '12 at 20:45
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Ich habe Wichtigeres zu tun.

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Ich habe besseres zu tun.

Ich habe wichtigeres vor.

(besseres and wichtigeres may have to be capitalized under Neue Deutsche Rechtschreibung. Fight the power!)

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It strikes me as curious that there seems to be a gap here in German vis-à-vis other European languages. Perhaps "ich habe mit dir noch ein Hühnchen zu rupfen" (I've got a bone to pick with you) diverged from a now-forgotten ancestor that did serve such a purpose? –  Eugene Seidel Apr 7 '12 at 20:03
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