Redewendung – Questions about common expressions used in conversation and colloquial speech.

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31
votes
5answers
21k views

Kann man sich entschuldigen oder nur um Entschuldigung bitten?

Achtung: Folgende Frage könnte als Haarspalterei oder Spitzfindigkeit empfunden werden. Ich frage mich, ob der folgende Ausdruck sich entschuldigen eigentlich richtig ist. Man hört ihn sehr ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

Natural way to deny help from a shopkeeper

This question also has an answer here (in German): Wie kann man im Geschäft einem Verkäufer korrekt sagen, dass man sich zuerst nur umschauen möchte und noch keine Hilfe braucht? ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the German equivalent of the English “aka”?

In English, the abbreviation aka means "also known as". A literal German translation might be "auch bekannt wie". Is this, in fact, the correct German equivalent? And is the abbreviation ABW (or the ...
19
votes
7answers
4k views

“Toi, toi, toi” – was genau bedeutet dieser Ausdruck?

Ich habe gerade "Toi, toi, toi" gehört, und habe keine Ahnung, wie ich das nehmen sollte! Ist es gut? Schlecht? Wenn man im Englischen "Tut, tut, tut..." hört, es ist nicht so prickelnd. Hat dieser ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

How would you translate “to judge someone” to German?

In English, "to judge someone" often implies a negative opinion, as in "Don't judge me!". Is there a German equivalent for this? How would you translate the example? My dictionary gives "jmdn. ...
17
votes
2answers
705 views

What does “Ich brauch mal Storno” mean?

Ich war heute bei Kaufland und habe blah blah... ich brauch mal Storno gehört. Bedeutet das so etwas wie "Kaffeepause" oder mehr in Richtung "Pinkelpause"? Oder ist die Bedeutung eine ganz ...
15
votes
7answers
77k views

How does a German say “Nice to meet you”?

In English it is common to reply with "Nice to meet you" when you were introduced to somebody. Likewise you say "Was nice to meet you" on leaving. Are there any similar phrases a German would use in ...
14
votes
6answers
14k views

How should we apologize in German?

The most common phrase in german phrase book for apology would be es tut mir leid or tut mir leid to mean "it does me suffering". From the questions on the difference between "entschuldigen" or "...
14
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the literal meaning of “Hau ab!”?

If you want to tell somebody to go away you could shout: "Hau ab!" However this is considered as not very polite, much like "Get lost!", or "F*** off!". I am wondering where German "Hau ab" ...
13
votes
5answers
360 views

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen “über etwas diskutieren” und “etwas diskutieren”?

Zum Beispiel Wir haben heute Verschiedenes diskutiert. oder Wir haben heute über Verschiedenes diskutiert.
12
votes
4answers
606 views

Expression for someone with very broad and detailed knowledge

Are there any well-known German expressions for someone who is very board and detailed in knowledge? for example: He is a human database
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a word for “hey” or “oi”?

I am wondering if there is a word in German that is meant to get attention, like from across the road or even the dining table, like hey or oi and what it would be.
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Expression of extreme surprise (possibly vulgar, but without being insulting)

Is there a formula or expression that I can use to express these English sentences? What on earth did you just do? What the heck did I just hear? What the hell just happened? or, in ...
11
votes
3answers
231 views

Terms for “Nicht-Verstehen signalisieren”

As I read here: The first two sentences are classified as "Nicht-Verstehen signalisieren". Are there other widely known terms or interjections to signal you didn't understand something?
11
votes
5answers
3k views

What does “auf Habacht” mean?

I saw this in a book as a sort of military order, but can’t find it in dictionaries: auf Habacht What does it mean and why isn’t it mentioned?
11
votes
2answers
155 views

Bei XY unterm Sofa?

Ich hatte in mein Notizbuch diesen Ausdruck geschrieben: "Wie bei Heini Geiger unterm Sofa" (C'est le bazar!, Es ist sehr unordentlich) Es scheint unmöglich zu sein, mithilfe von Google mehr ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Online resource which has easy German to read with its English translation

Is there any resource online which has easy German (should use most common words in daily setting) and also has its English translation alongside?
10
votes
4answers
5k views

“Das ist kein Thema” - What does it mean?

Recently I moved to the Konstanz area, and what I noticed is people saying "Das ist kein Thema" for everything. So, what exactly does it mean? And when to use it?
10
votes
2answers
715 views

How do you say “he will be on TV”?

I can't figure out how to say “I will be on TV” or “he will be on TV" correctly (in reference to being on a TV show that will be aired). The best I can think of something like »Ich werde am Fernseher ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Was ist das Gegenteil von “hervorheben”?

Beim Schreiben meiner Arbeit bin ich auf folgendes Problem gestoßen: Wie drücke ich (als Verb/Adjektiv) aus, dass etwas nicht mehr hervorgehoben ist oder wird? Es geht dabei z. B. um das Hervorheben ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

How would you translate “you have my vote” into German?

In English, you'd say to candidates that you'll vote for them. How would you say this in German? Something like: Hey Stefano, go for it. You have my vote.
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the best way to translate “To do list”?

The closest translation I can find so far is Aufgabenliste which is more literally "Task List". Is there a more commonly used, native way to express the common english phrase "To do list" when using ...
8
votes
5answers
212 views

Is there a non-regional German expression for the Swabian term “Gschmäckle”?

Is this term only well-known in Southern Germany or also in the deep North? Is there short alternatives for modern High German? Does anyone know a similar English short expression?
8
votes
6answers
189 views

Beschreibung extremer Langsamkeit

Gibt es noch andere Worte/Redewendungen als "im Schneckentempo", um extreme Langsamkeit auszudrücken?
8
votes
4answers
223 views

Expression for blindly following rules

Is there any expression which denotes either The act of blindly and dogmatically following rules/instructions without regard for the practicality of doing so (For example, this would be an epithet ...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

What could be expressed by “Ja, klar” in different situations?

If I say "Ja klar", What are the different meanings expressed by this expression?
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of schon in “das schaff' ich schon”

Watching Futurama, one of the characters said: "das schaff' ich schon!" What exactly does this mean, and how does "schon" change the meaning? (I don't remember, but I think it was Fry, which ...
8
votes
1answer
93 views

Moderne, gehobene Version von “Hof machen”

Wie nennt man im modernen Deutsch den Vorgang, bei dem ein Mann mit originellen und durchdachten Aktionen die Aufmerksamkeit einer Frau auf sich lenkt? Der Ausdruck soll betonen, dass das Ganze mit ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Ursprung von “Nicht verzagen, … fragen”

Bei einer Diskussion kamen wir letztens auf den Ausspruch Nicht verzagen, [Name] fragen. zu sprechen. Aus purer Neugierde überlege ich nun, ob das ein Zitat ist oder einfach nur eine aufgrund ...
7
votes
4answers
108 views

Sprichwort über lebenslanges Lernen

Ich brauche ein Sprichwort, welches die Wichtigkeit des lebenslangen Lernens auf eine prägnante Art und Weise ausdrückt. Wenn es sich reimt, ist es noch besser. Im Russischen gibt es eine Redewendung ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

“used to [verb]”

How would one say "used to", as in I used to live in Kiev. Previously, I was told you would use früher: Früher lebte ich in Kiew. But upon looking it up just again, dict.cc says you'd use ...
7
votes
1answer
257 views

Expression for “little people”

What is an idiomatic way of expressing "little people", not as in people literally of small stature but people who are in reality important while still being "officially" unimportant?-- most notably ...
7
votes
2answers
558 views

Does “aufrollen” have a colloquial meaning?

I'm translating an old German newspaper article and the word "aufrollen" is used in what appears to be a colloquial manner, since the literal meaning "to roll (up)" doesn't quite fit. Here is the ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What is “Hacke, Spitze, eins, zwei, drei”?

I’m currently learning the German language as I’m new to Germany. Learning something new from the public every day is really cool! Yesterday I happened to hear bunch of kids playing across the street ...
7
votes
2answers
248 views

Is there a difference between “Schuld haben” and “schuld sein”?

There are two expression which a very similar in German Schuld haben and schuld sein Is there a difference in meaning, maybe a subtle one? Why is the first "Schuld" capitalized and the ...
7
votes
2answers
144 views

Wie sagt man »to be back to normal«?

Meine Frau und ich hatten einen Streit und jetzt sind wir zur Normalität zurückgekehrt. My wife and I had a fight, but now we are back to normal. Ich weiß nicht, ob dieser Ausdruck zu diesem ...
7
votes
1answer
421 views

Origin and Usage of “i wo”?

A colloquial way of answering negatively/dismissing an offered statement can be the use of the word(s) "i wo / iwo". The meaning of "i wo", according to Wiktionary, is this: (umgangssprachlich) ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

German equivalent of “It works”

In English there is an idiom: It works. Or more likely: That/It works for me. I think that the following is wrong, as arbeiten seems rather literal, but would it be a correct translation?...
6
votes
3answers
457 views

How does one say “Five cubic metres”?

I found myself on the telephone today attempting to explain the volume that a bunch of furniture would perhaps occupy in a truck, and I used Fuenf cubisch Metern But it was fairly clear to me ...
6
votes
1answer
125 views

What does “italienisch konstruiert” mean?

I’ve encountered this expression in a book I’m reading. Here’s the whole paragraph: Liebe Emmi, ach, ist das angenehm, wieder einmal so einen richtig bezaubernden Ansatz einer Eifersuchtsszene ...
6
votes
1answer
408 views

»Das geht leider nicht« vs. »Es geht leider nicht«

In German, there is an expression: Das geht leider nicht. To my knowledge, this means one of the following: Unfortunately, this is not possible. Unfortunately, it won’t go. But what does ...
6
votes
2answers
876 views

Was bedeutet “wär von Vorteil”?

Ich habe diesen Kommentar ein paar Mal gesehen: Wär von Vorteil. Was bedeutet er?
6
votes
4answers
288 views

Warum erstinkt man Lügen?

Am Wochenende haben wir Mäxle gespielt (das wohl in anderen Regionen Deutschlands Meier heißt – warum auch immer), und an einer Stelle habe ich einen Viererpasch zurückgewiesen mit den Worten: Das ...
6
votes
2answers
926 views

Mut, Tapferkeit, Sicherheit, Porzellankiste?

Im Ausdruck: Vorsicht ist die Mutter der Porzellankiste (er könnte indirekt von Shakespeare kommen aber ich finde diesen Artikel nicht schlüssig) Warum hat die Porzellankiste Tapferkeit oder ...
6
votes
1answer
592 views

A kind of – German Expressions

Whenever I try to say something like ‘A type of car’, or ‘a type of food’, I end up saying ‘eine Art + nominative singular’ or ‘eine Art von nominative singular’ but I’m not really sure about it. ...
6
votes
1answer
305 views

Wie nennt man jemanden, der ständig plant (was auch immer er tut)?

Da gibt es (laut Google) nur eine Frage (auf Gutefrage.de) mit unbefriedigenden Antworten. Ich bin im englischen StackExchange darauf gestoßen und ich weiß nicht einmal, wie man es auf Deutsch ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

Precise terms for “Sachebene”, “Implikationsebene” and “Textebene”

To begin with, I just "invented" these three expressions, maybe an example helps: "Er erledigte seinen Auftrag und entsorgte seine Waffe. Dann stieg er in seinen Wagen. Er fuhr davon." So the "...
5
votes
2answers
323 views

Chatty expression in German

There are chatty expressions in English, like in the middle of a conversation someone says: [Getting angry] Does it work the same in German? as in [sauer werden] Or such a thing isn't ...
5
votes
2answers
691 views

Is “es macht mir Freude” correct and used?

Is this expression equivalent to "it makes me happy"? Does it sound ok or maybe too old style? Would I ever hear a young person saying it? Is this expression used or common?
5
votes
3answers
94 views

Demographics and geographic use of “oder wat” (alternatively “oder Watt”)

I recently visited a major manufacturer of electrical equipment in Berlin. Among engineers and technicians I frequently heard "oder wat?", with 'wat' being pronounced the same as one would pronounce ...