Redewendung - Questions on group of words having a meaning not deducible from individual words.

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6
votes
3answers
120 views

Does “gemacht” also mean “something done too artificially”?

I remember someone using the word "gemacht" do describe something that was done too artificially. (In this case it was a dance move that was supposed to be spontaneous but looked too pre-planned.) I ...
6
votes
1answer
173 views

How to say 'learn by ear' in German?

In English we say someone can learn by ear when speaking of music or language. Is there a German equivalent?
6
votes
1answer
151 views

Herkunft von “Ausnahmen bestätigen die Regel”

The idiom "Ausnahmen bestätigen die Regel" exists in English, too. The exception proves the rule. However, someone recently told me that this originally was based on the old meaning of "to ...
6
votes
3answers
189 views

How do you translate “bless his (little) heart?”

I'm trying to figure out how to translate the idiomatic expression "Bless his (little) heart" into German. The general sense is: "He meant well, but, wow, was that ever dumb!" I don't think the ...
6
votes
2answers
164 views

Über den Ursprung der zu „einen Vogel haben“ zugeordneten Geste

Anstelle folgender Aussagen: Du hast einen Vogel, bei dir piept es wohl, usw. macht man manchmal eine Geste. Ich erkenne nur folgende Zeichen. Zeigefinger zur Stirn, genau wo die Schläfe ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What is "to put things into public storage'' in German?

John is moving out of his apartment and he doesn't want to drag around all this stuff while looking for a house to settle into. He goes to a public storage and rents a unit to put his stuff in. What's ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Wie fragt man “Wie wäre es mit … 1 Uhr”?

Wie kann man eine Zeitangabe mit dem Ausdruck "wie wäre es mit" vorschlagen? "Wie wäre es mit um 1 Uhr?" -- zwei Präpositionen klingt seltsam an. "Wie wäre es mit 1 Uhr?" -- man riskiert die Antwort ...
5
votes
4answers
795 views

What is an equivalent of English “piece of cake”?

How do you say in German something that is easy to do. I have found "ein Klacks" in my dictionary, but I have a great doubt about the meaning of the word and how to use it.
5
votes
1answer
130 views

Translation of “Und ob”

Die wahre Landlust So früh aufstehen, so hart malochen, sich täglich die Finger schmutzig machen - will man das wirklich? Und ob, sagen vier Jungbauern, die sich ganz bewusst für diesen Beruf ...
5
votes
2answers
386 views

How do you say “to bail somebody out of jail” in German?

My friend is in jail for burglary and to get him out, you have to pay 5,000 dollars. How do you say to bail someone out in German? Can I say Jmdn aus dem Gefängnis herausbringen or does it have to be ...
5
votes
3answers
338 views

Literal meaning of: es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

I recently came across the expression: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen There's still no master [that has] fallen from the sky I'm curious about the es ist part, which I ...
5
votes
4answers
563 views

How can we translate “Don't be a wuss (or cry-baby)” into German?

I'd like to know how should we translate "Don't be a wuss (or cry-baby)" into German?
5
votes
8answers
386 views

Best way of expressing “for all I know” in German

One English expression I particularly like is "for all I know". It has such a level of arbitrariness to it that is unlike any other German expression that is similar to it: For all I know, every ...
5
votes
2answers
316 views

An idiomatic German translation of the Bible

Is there a translation of at least the New Testament into German which uses modern vocabulary and idioms, similarly to the way The Message does in English?
5
votes
2answers
538 views

Do people say “You're just being paranoid” in German?

"You're just being paranoid" is a very common put-down in English, used to dismiss people who are concerned about being treated unfairly. I wonder if people say the same thing in German. I have to ...
5
votes
3answers
218 views

Nuance of “Verschlechterung” not captured by any English equivalent?

I know this will appear to be a repeat of a question I posted yesterday, but it is really a completely different question. I am wondering if there is a nuance to the word "Verschlechterung" which is ...
5
votes
1answer
202 views

“It's time to pluck a pigeon”

Während mir klar ist, was der Satz bedeuten soll, habe ich keine geeignete Weise gefunden den ins Deutsche zu übersetzen (wortwörtlich wäre ja Käse). Ideen? Edit: Bedeutung ist laut online ...
5
votes
3answers
192 views

What is the origin of “den Bogen raus haben”?

Metaphorically, this phrase means something like "getting the hang of". But what is "Bogen" referring to, literally, in this case? (Come to think of it, I have no idea what "getting the hang of it" ...
5
votes
2answers
480 views

“Passen wie die Faust aufs Auge” bedeutet “total” oder “gar nicht zusammenpassen”?

In Wiktionary stehen die zwei höchstwidersprüchlichen Bedeutungen: Bedeutungen: [1] umgangssprachlich: ganz und gar nicht zusammenpassen [2] umgangssprachlich: wunderbar zusammenpassen ...
5
votes
2answers
203 views

Anything better than “weltweit” for “All over the world”?

I would like to say something like, "You have really lived all over the world!" ...like in response to someone saying they've been to many different countries. I did a Google search for this and ...
5
votes
2answers
479 views

What does “halt das Schicksal auf” mean?

What does it mean: Halt das Schicksal auf, gib mir was einst war mein.
4
votes
3answers
412 views

Does “paar” still mean “two items”? Words that have lost their original meaning

–Ich hätte gerne ein Paar Brötchen –Wie viele? That was (modulo trivialities) a conversation that surprised me. Of course –assuming the grammatical correctness of the sentences–, the baker ...
4
votes
4answers
437 views

What's the meaning of “zur Frau werden”?

I cam across the idiom: zur Frau werden - to become a woman I'm wondering what does it really mean. In what sense to become a woman?
4
votes
3answers
123 views

Was versteht man unter einem “maßlosen Sinn”?

Ich habe bei dict.leo.org gerade (sinnfrei) nach den englischen Übersetzungen für Sinn gesucht und bin dabei auf etwas gestoßen, das ich erst nur komisch zu lesen fand. Und beim Sinnen über den Sinn ...
4
votes
4answers
154 views

Translation of “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going" is a popular proverb in English. According to Wikipedia: The phrase is a play on words involving idiomatic (Proverb) and distinct meanings of ...
4
votes
6answers
137 views

Wasser siedet oder Wasser kocht?

In which cases do you use Wasser siedet and when Wasser kocht? It looks like they aint no synonyms.
4
votes
5answers
370 views

Gibt es einen kürzeren Ausdruck für “abgerundete Ecke”?

Gibt es ein Wort oder einen kürzeren Ausdruck für "abgerundete Ecke"? Beispielsatz: Ich bevorzuge diesen Bildschirm (dieses Bücherregal), denn er (es) hat abgerundete Ecken (Kanten).
4
votes
1answer
124 views

“Thank you for your consideration” am Ende eines Bewerbungsschreibens

So könnte das Ende eines englischen Bewerbungsschreibens aussehen: Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, John Doe Auf deutsch fällt mir nur ein Mit freundlichen Grüßen, ...
4
votes
2answers
466 views

“Leider, leider, sogt Beschneider”

I walked past a chess game in Munich, where someone had just played a very bad move. An old gentleman exclaimed: Leider, leider, sogt Beschneider. It's probable that I misheard a bit. I suppose ...
4
votes
3answers
683 views

Idiomatic equivalent for “I am afraid, I can't do that”

Is there an idiom which would convey I'm afraid I can't do that Literally translating, It would become Ich fürchte, ich kann das nicht tun Would that make sense?
4
votes
4answers
168 views

'Blau machen' and other phrases for absenteeism

I was watching a video about various idioms that have 'machen' in them. This included the sentence 'Er macht blau', which would formally translate into English as something like 'To be absent from ...
4
votes
2answers
305 views

Does “frech wie Oskar sein” have a negative connotation to it?

Does the following sentence have negative connotation? If it does, is there an equivalent without the negative connotation? „Du bist ja frech wie Oskar!“ As I searched, none of the following ...
4
votes
1answer
92 views

bei jemandem einen Stein im Brett haben

I have been undertaking a beginner's class in German. I have been picking up some idiomatic phrases as I go along and have comes across the following German construction: bei jemandem einen Stein ...
4
votes
3answers
495 views

Translation of the idiom “no harm, no foul” in German

Do similar figure of speech exist in German or should one translate it literally?
4
votes
2answers
170 views

What does it mean when it says “Volle Suppe”?

Is "Volle Suppe" a German idiom? And how would that translate into English?
4
votes
1answer
267 views

“Willst du mich für dumm verkaufen?” Is saying this rude?

I just want to know how to show skepticism towards something that, in my opinion, is obviously false (or a joke). I think that with friends, I would say Na, du willst mich verarschen. ...
4
votes
3answers
423 views

Wie kam es zu der Wendung “jemand hängen lassen”?

Eine sehr gebräuchliche Redewendung ist "jemand hängen lassen" (to let someone down) Unser Lieferant hat uns wieder einmal hängen lassen. Woher kommt dieser Ausdruck?
4
votes
1answer
312 views

Idiom: einen Türken bauen. Etymology?

What is the origin of the strange idiom "einen Türken bauen"? I have already checked wiktionary, and they present a few alternatives. All these alternatices are insufficient IMO, as they all smell ...
4
votes
4answers
236 views

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

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
658 views

“Scheiße ist Bargeld”

I know the title is a bit rude, but that's exactly what my question is about. The title is what Google Translate recommends as the German equivalent of "shit is cash". I've often seen the expression ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

“to make faces” = “Gesichter machen”?

In English we talk about "making faces," "making funny faces," etc. Is this expressed the same way in German? E.g.: Das Baby macht lustige Gesichter, wenn es ein großes Geschäft in die Windel ...
3
votes
2answers
404 views

What does 'put some dust on your face' mean?

The Eisbrecher song Fanatica has the line "let me put some dust on your face". I assume this is a literal translation of a German expression, but I can't figure out what it means.
3
votes
2answers
286 views

What is the children's song “Zehn kleine Zappelfinger” about?

Can anyone explain what the children's song "Zehn kleine Zappelfinger" is about? Zehn kleine Zappelfinger zappeln hin und her. Zehn kleine Zappelfinger finden´s gar nicht schwer. Zehn ...
3
votes
2answers
122 views

Is it “einige vor den Kopf stoßen” or “einigen vor den Kopf stoßen”?

The whole sentence is: Mit dem Glauben an einen hinsichtlich der Präzision und Allmächtigkeit abgeschwächten Laplace'schen Dämon scheint man immer wieder einige(n?) Leuten vor den Kopf zu stoßen ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Wie würde man “easy come, easy go” übersetzen?

Meine Kinder haben mich gestern nach der Bedeutung von "easy come, easy go" im Text der Bohemian Rhapsody von Queen gefragt. Dort heißt es: I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy Because I'm ...
3
votes
1answer
420 views

“Am Boden” or “auf dem Boden”?

I read somewhere that am Boden was the older version of "on the floor". When did it change? Die Toten Hosen have a song that goes: Steh auf, wenn du am Boden bist. So I wonder if this saying is ...
3
votes
1answer
103 views

Nach Hackfleischspieß Art?

Ich war gerade in der Mittagspause und stolperte bei einem Kleinimbiss über folgenden Ausdruck: Döner Kebab (nach Hackfleischspieß Art) Worüber ich mich nun wunderte ist, was dies für eine ...
3
votes
2answers
162 views

Buchstabieren = to spell?

In another question Carsten mentioned that buchstabieren has a somewhat narrower meaning than to spell. I wonder if people would care to elaborate on this? Also, does German have the Yiddish variant ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

Woher kommt “Freunde des schlechten Geschmacks”?

Gibt es irgendeine "Quelle" für die Wendung "(meine lieben) Freunde des schlechten Geschmacks"?r
2
votes
4answers
245 views

How do you say “your heart skips a beat” in German?

Ben walked into the room and her heart skipped a beat. Ben betrat das Schlafzimmer und sie wurde überrascht. How do you say "your heart skips a beat" in German? Can I use "überraschen" in this ...