I'm a beginner in German and I'm trying to speak German at my friends and such in order to help my learning journey. I was wondering how does one say "get the joke", as in "finally, you get the joke!"? Thanks for the help.

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    We typically expect some attempt on tackling the question by yourself, which typically results in more precise questions. Here google translate seems pretty close.
    – guidot
    Oct 27, 2021 at 6:15
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    @guidot sorry, it's just that I didn't really trust (and usually don't) the google translate translations for idioms and such. Next time I'll include what google translate says in my question. Oct 27, 2021 at 9:11
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    @Mathsfan123: I support to trust google translate only as far as you know it is right. And I support the claim to include your best attempt(s) by yourself into your question. Even better is to add "what doubts you do have" with this attempt. Or why you don't trust it (in case you read a rule - cite it). Or maybe include real dictionaries - or mention where you did not find anything helpful there. Oct 27, 2021 at 12:13
  • There is a German idiom "Wer zuletzt lacht, lacht am besten." This comes close to the English "He who laughs last, laughs loudest / longest / best." And there is a common modification "Wer zuletzt lacht, hat die längste Leitung" which you can use after having made a joke. In English perhaps "He who laughs last, has the longest wire." Do you get the joke?
    – Paul Frost
    Oct 27, 2021 at 23:31

3 Answers 3


For Finally, you get the joke! you could say: Jetzt hast Du es kapiert!, or Jetzt ist der Groschen gefallen! The latter expression is analogous to the phrase the penny dropped.

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    Except that Finally would suggest Endlich rather than Jetzt. Oct 27, 2021 at 8:37
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    @MichaelKay Strictly speaking yes, but as a native speaker I would say using "jetzt" in that context would have the same connotation that it took the person a while to get there. "Endlich" is certainly a bit stronger, but "jetzt" sounds a bit more natural to me.
    – xLeitix
    Oct 27, 2021 at 10:45
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    @MichaelKay I would say if you use Endlich you are sort of critizing that it took so long, jetzt is more neutral. Depends on what you want to convey.
    – quarague
    Oct 27, 2021 at 12:31
  • Jetzt just sounds like the English "Oh, now you get it"
    – Mawg
    Oct 27, 2021 at 13:11
  • @quarague I wouldn't disagree that endlich feels like it's criticizing that it took so long, but that seems appropriate as finally in the English sentence OP gave does the same thing.
    – Chris H
    Oct 27, 2021 at 13:51

First, you should not expect idioms and other figurative expressions in English to have corresponding expressions in German, and vice versa. The best German translation is the non-idiomatic verstehen or "to understand". So Er versteht den Witz nicht for "He doesn't get the joke.". On the other hand you might say, Er reißt immer Witze, literally "He's always ripping jokes", of someone who is never serious.

  • As an additional remark, it can be noted that translating "to get" as "verstehen" applies in all contexts where "to get" is meant in the sense of "to understand", not just specifically for jokes. "I don't get it." = "Ich verstehe es nicht." Oct 27, 2021 at 1:03
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    I see. I think that in German, you'd use "Ich verstehe ... nicht." in both cases (although "Ich blicke nicht durch bei ..." would work, as well). Oct 27, 2021 at 6:54
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    @RDBury: concerning the subtle difference on get and understand: to me, "get" has the connotation of "grasp intuitively", while "understand" could mean "being able to follow a chain of reasoning conciously". One could be able to perform calculus correctly, while still feeling uncertain and unconnected to the underlying intuition. Once that clicks, "one has gotten calculus".
    – ojdo
    Oct 27, 2021 at 8:09
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    May I propose kapieren as an alternative to verstehen? As a non-native, I still feel it captures the essence of getting as opposed to understanding e.g. a joke. Oct 27, 2021 at 8:16
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    @ojdo so "to grok" > "to get" > "to understand". Oct 27, 2021 at 8:35

My answere is more in a casual (austrian) context:

  • "checkst?"/"verstehst?" - if you ask someone if he got the joke (or the explanation)
  • "Jetzt hab ichs gecheckt"/"jetzt hab ichs verstanden" - now I'm starting to get the joke
  • "Jetzt dämmerts bei mir" - if you stopped being in the dark

I think nearly all synonyms to "verstehen" work - like "kapieren", "überreißen". However I would not use "verstehen" itself in the context of a joke

You could also connect this to the term "Sickerwitz", a jokes that needs time to understand. "ist es jetzt durchgesickert?"

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