"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 admit that the motivation for my question is not really related to the German language. I am trying to confirm a personal theory that the use of the phrase in English is largely based on the movie "The Caine Mutiny" starring Humphrey Bogart. I am posting the question on this site because of the high quality answers I am used to get here.


In a spoken dialog we may also say in the context of a well meant advice

Ach, das bildest Du Dir doch nur/bloß ein

or, more colloquial

Du siehst wohl Gespenster

In a more offensive way we may also put it like this::

Du leidest wohl unter Verfolgungswahn

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  • Nice! Verfolgungswahn is awesome. German truly is the Master Language! I'm still really interested in the Caine Mutiny connection, the expression is so common today, but in the movie it's like they needed a psychiatrist to explain what paranoia even was. Can someone do one of those word frequency charts I sometimes see here, where they show the frequency of usage over time? I wonder if it took off after 1954. – Marty Green Nov 27 '11 at 18:02
  • Interesting. It definitely took off in both languages around 1950, just ahead of either the book or the movie. So I guess Herman Wouk was following the zeitgeist and not the other way around. – Marty Green Nov 27 '11 at 21:55
  • what happened to the link to the word frequency charts???? – Marty Green Nov 19 '13 at 18:38
  • @MartyGreen: Google changes the links a lot. As of today it can be found at: books.google.com/ngrams – Takkat Nov 19 '13 at 18:47
  • Can you comment on my question about "die Oeffentlichkeit?" – Marty Green Nov 19 '13 at 19:08

Du bist doch paranoid!

Sei nicht so paranoid!

Yes, we say that. I don't think I know the movie, so I cannot tell you how it was translated and if this might be the origin, but I doubt it.

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  • Is "sei nicht so paranoid" considered as rude? – user508 Nov 28 '11 at 12:25
  • I wouldn't consider neither of them as polite, @Gigili. Even if the first is just a conclusion, no-one would answer "Thanks for the hint, I go to the doctor." ;) Neither would I say they are rude. But do not mix the second one up with "Sei nicht so dumm." That would be rude. – John Smithers Nov 28 '11 at 12:31
  • @John: double negation failure in the first sentence (of your comment)? :) – 0xC0000022L Nov 28 '11 at 20:30
  • @STATUS_ACCESS_DENIED: Oops, how could that happen? :) – John Smithers Nov 28 '11 at 20:36

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