From Der Spiegel:

Auch der alternde Innenminister Friedrich Dickel folgt widerwillig dem neuen Kurs. "Ich würde am liebsten hingehen und diese Halunken zusammenschlagen, dass ihnen keine Jacke mehr passt."

Dickel would like to go to these people and beat them up, so that no jacket fits them anymore.

I don’t understand the image he’s trying to use here. When you hit people, why does no jacket fit them?

  • 5
    Never heard that before :) (native, 33). From context I'd file it as "beat them up intensively" and ignore it. Curious for the answers
    – Emanuel
    Oct 27 '14 at 21:24
  • 1
    In Italian to beat up can be translated (colloquially) as gonfiare, which means to inflate. This is a hint to the answer... Oct 27 '14 at 22:55
  • Perhaps he had "kurz und klein schlagen" in mind!?
    – Em1
    Oct 28 '14 at 8:12

I'd interpret it along the lines of Walter Tross's comment and say it means to beat them up so that the swelling makes them too big to fit in their jackets. Maybe even break their arms - casts and most jacekts don't go together well.

If you google the phrase, you invariably end up with a reference to Dickel's statement, so I guess it is a very regional idiom or he made it up on the spot.

I have never heard it before (Lower Saxony & Saxony-Anhalt).


It’s an uncommon expression for beating somebody up very hard; but I didn’t hear it before, either. (I’m from Bavaria.)

  • 1
    Can you also explain the origin of this phrase? Moreover, do you have anything that backs your interpretation up? I guess, we would all guess that “dass ihnen keine Jacke mehr passt” intensifies “zusammenschlagen”.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Oct 28 '14 at 10:41
  • No I didn't find an explanation; just a definition.
    – bejonwe
    Oct 31 '14 at 14:21

I believe this refers to the cast (Gips) and splints (Schienen) increasing your volume in such a manner that no jacket size can cope with it.

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