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What’s a good translation of slipped in the following context?

I slipped him a twenty.

Which means:

I discreetly handed him twenty dollars

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  • 22
    (OT: Your username makes no sense)
    – deviantfan
    Nov 2, 2016 at 17:29
  • 5
    (OT: Your username is pretty funny :D)
    – Breeze
    Nov 3, 2016 at 7:04
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    @Nzall I doesn't really mean anything. Literally it's "upsh.tted customer", but I have no idea what upsh.tting is supposed to be and how it can be done to/with a customer. (And even if this word has some slang meaning in English (maybe?), it doesn't mean anything in German)
    – deviantfan
    Nov 3, 2016 at 13:39
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    @Nzall Goes along with the icon which shows the Chinese sign for 'customer'
    – elzell
    Nov 3, 2016 at 14:02
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    It would mean "a customer opened by shitting", or "Open-shitted customer". What deviantfan refers to would be "Draufgeschissener Kunde". Nov 3, 2016 at 14:45

3 Answers 3

27

I slipped him a twenty.

would probably be best translated as

Ich habe ihm 'nen Zwanziger zugesteckt.

or

Ich hab' ihm 'nen Zwanziger zugesteckt.

The shortening of "einen Zwanziger" to "'nen Zwanziger" adds to the casual tone. Additionally, one could shorten "ich habe" to "ich hab'".

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    Instead of “Zwanziger” people often colloquially say “Zwanni”. There's also “Fuffi” (Fünfziger) and “Hunni” (Hunderter). But there is nothing (I know of) for “Zehner” and the other bills.
    – PerlDuck
    Nov 2, 2016 at 19:59
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    @PerlDuck You're correct. But in this case, I think, "Zwanni" would overdo the colloquial tone, compared to the English origin. To talk about a "Zwanni" here would probably equal referring to the president that's depicted on the respective dollar bill in English: "You can't go in here!" - "Mister Franklin says I can!" So, "Ich hab' ihm 'nen Zwanni zugesteckt" could be translated as something like "I introduced him to President Jackson". Nov 3, 2016 at 1:07
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    For the record, "Zwanni" makes my toes curl. Never heard of in Austria, hopefully never will.
    – Ingmar
    Nov 3, 2016 at 5:17
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    Note that the apostrophe in hab' is not conventional. You'd usually simply write hab.
    – xehpuk
    Nov 3, 2016 at 10:10
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    Zwanni and also 'nen are only used in some regions of the german language area. Here in Austria you would say "an" (spoken with a stretched "a") for "einen".
    – raznagul
    Nov 3, 2016 at 10:14
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Here (Hameln, close to Hannover) it would be, "Ich hab ihm 'n Zwanziger zugesteckt."

Back then in the days of the D-Mark we would have said, "Ich hab ihm 'ne Geige gegeben." That's because there used to be a violin (Geige) on the 20 DM bill.

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    +1 for Hannover, but I've never heard the Geige part back then.
    – simbabque
    Nov 3, 2016 at 9:29
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    Me neither. Zwanni, ja, aber Geige?!? Nov 3, 2016 at 14:43
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    A violin?
    – Jan
    Nov 3, 2016 at 17:28
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Also somewhere between Hannover and Berlin, my take would be "Ich schob ihm 'nen Zwanni rüber", "Zwanni" being common slang for "Zwanziger", the casual word for "Zwanzig-Euro- (oder Mark-) Schein". I like the similarity in cadence and brevity of "twenty" and "Zwanni".

The image evoked by "rüberschieben", move/slide/push over, may be a table; not sure whether "slip" is exactly compatible. But chances are that the exact physical act in the phrase is coincidental anyway.

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  • Bei "rüberschieben" fehlt meines Erachtens der Aspekt des unauffälligen, nachdem im OP gefragt wird.
    – Burki
    Nov 3, 2016 at 10:55
  • @Burki Hm. Yes, it's not that explicit, true. I see, the OP's sentence could be used when discreetly tipping a bellhop in a hotel (no table involved, so the physical act has some importance). Nov 3, 2016 at 11:03
  • Für mich ist "rüberschieben" das richtige. Hat für mich etwas unauffälliges, wenn auch nicht: geheimes. Nov 3, 2016 at 14:41
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    To me the use of Präteritum here instead of Perfekt clashes violently with the otherwise coloquial tone. But that might be a regional thing.
    – Emil
    Nov 3, 2016 at 16:34
  • @Emil or a context thing. If you tell your wife you have just tipped the bellhop it's perhaps past perfect; if you tell it as part of a story, it may be past tense like the rest of the story. Nov 3, 2016 at 16:39

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