Just came across that expression used as follows

Das ist totaler Käse aber ist es auch Wurst.

And wonder what does it mean when something is cheese and sausage at the same time.

  • 2
    For a useful answer, please give the context, at least the full sentence where you found this expression. Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 7:49

3 Answers 3


Use one food idiom, get one free!

These are two idioms put together, which in itself forms a pun.

The Cheese

Das ist (totaler) Käse

is colloquial and means

it's (complete) nonsense

This usage dates back to at least 1551. In earlier times, dairy products were virtually everywhere, as such Käse but also Quark (engl. curd) were cheap and as such gained a negative connotation.

The sausage

Das ist Wurst

is colloquial and means

it doesn't matter.

From the same source as above: Since a sausage has two ends, it doesn't matter where you start slicing it.

Combining this together:

That's nonsense, but it doesn't matter (anyway)

  • 1
    There are many possible explanations on "das ist Wurst", yours is just one of them (maybe less likely). Grimm has a number of them.
    – tofro
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 10:07

Das ist totaler Käse.

means: it doesn't make sense 1

Es ist Wurst.
(or Wurscht)

means: it doesn't matter 2

So all together

Das ist totaler Käse aber ist es auch Wurst?

would be something like:

That doesn't make any sense. But does it matter?

1: https://www.dwds.de/wb/Käse#d-1-2
2: https://www.dwds.de/wb/Wurst#d-1-3
  • It isn't (except for the sources). Just saw your answer when I submitted mine.
    – Olafant
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 8:46

There may be a few explanations to what this means, based on context. However it is worded strangely no matter which explanation is correct.

  • 1
    I'd say it's obvious to a native speaker that both "Käse" and "Wurst" aren't used in a literal sense, as the other answers indicated. Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 8:56
  • @HenningKockerbeck: In the current state of the question this can only be assumed (even if confirmed by existence of an accepted answer); therefore I left the comment by RalfKleberhoff in place asking for clarification of the question. For potential downvoters: I don't see a reason to downvote this answer, since the question is to blame for ambiguity.
    – guidot
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 10:52
  • @guidot Just in case of any misunderstandings, I didn't downvote this answer ;) I posted the comment above instead of simply downvoting, so to speak. Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 10:58
  • 1
    @guidot I do not see any ambiguity. What should "Das ist totaler Käse" mean, w.r.t. food? This is a non-fitting adjective to describe food or food items. Of course, a guy with a certain mustache could ask if you want the totalen Käse, but that would really be totaler Käse. Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 12:00
  • 1
    I'd like to point out that the question has been edited since I posted my answer. Now that it reads das ist totaler käse, it is very clear to me that it's an idiom, and not about actual foods
    – kscherrer
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 9:44

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