Questions tagged [expression]

Redewendung – Questions about common expressions used in conversation and colloquial speech.

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That’s life equivalent phrase [closed]

What is a German expression equivalent to the French c’est la vie or English that’s life?
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2 answers
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Using 'nach' for emphasis?

As far as my rather rudimentary knowledge of German tells me, one uses 'zu' to indicate that your are going to somewhere (Ich gehe zur Bibliothek), and 'nach' when this is a specific geographic ...
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1 vote
1 answer
136 views

What is the expression for "being obsessed with one's own issues" used in this video, and what is its origin?

I've encountered this expression in commentary on current world events and I've added as little politics as possible to the question, referencing the video for additional context. I find the ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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"Well, if it isnt ..." in German

I just ran across Sieh an, wenn das kein(e) (jemand/etwas) ist. I interpret this in English as "Well, if it isn't (someone/something)." In English this is an expression of mild or feigned ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Eigene Familie – your own family, parents don't count

Am I right in thinking that "eigene Familie" just includes your spouse and children but not your parents or in-laws because "eigene" here means that it is the family you started (...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Wo kommt der Ausdruck "Im Laufe" her?

Das Verb ist laufen, der Nomen ist der Lauf (die Läufe, Pl.). Also warum schreibt man "Im Laufe des letzten Jahres" anstatt "Im Lauf des letzten Jahres". Wo kommt "Laufe" ...
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2 votes
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117 views

über etwas verfügen

I know "über etwas verfügen" means something like: have got, have sth at your disposal..., as expressed in the following sentence: Der arme Kerl verfügte nicht einmal über ein eigenes ...
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2 votes
1 answer
69 views

ausfallen : ihm fällt die Atmung aus

Sagt man Ihm fällt die Atmung oder Seine Atmung fällt aus Oder sagt man gleichermassen beide?
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ist dazu/dafür gut, damit/dass

Betrachten wir den folgenden Abschnitt: […] die Ferse ist verstärkt und hochgezogen. Das ist dazu gut, dass der Fuß besser gehalten werden kann und das Anbringen von Sporen möglich ist. (Quelle: ...
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3 answers
263 views

Why do the Swiss end common expressions with "Wohl/voll"?

Often you can hear expressions like "Danke [something] wohl", "ja, wohl" or "[other common greetings followed by] wohl" or it might be "voll". What does this ...
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6 votes
2 answers
260 views

What does "Was erlauben Sie sich?" mean?

I heard the question Was erlauben Sie sich? in a German film three times in two minutes. I don't think the literal meaning was intended: "What do you allow yourself?" Is this an expression?...
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1 vote
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Where in German-speaking countries was the phrase, "Ach, du lieber Himmel!" prevalent prior to WW2?

Where would the phrase "Ach, du lieber Himmel!" have been most likely to have originated or become popular prior to WW2? It is something my German grandmother was known to say a lot when she ...
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10 votes
5 answers
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Meaning of expression "Bist du los?"

I remember hearing this expression "Bist du los?", but I don't really remember the context. In my mind, the meaning was something like "Are you crazy?" with the hand-waving in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is this expression "Ich habe den ganzen Tag verbracht Deutsch zu lernen" Correct?

Can anyone tell me please whether this sentence Ich habe den ganzen Tag verbracht Deutsch zu lernen is correct or not, if it's not correct can you tell me the right structure with same meaning
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8 votes
6 answers
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String of sneeze responses after "Gesundheit"?

Something that's just been nagging at the back of my head for the last decade. In high school, I knew someone who spent a year abroad in Austria, and they taught me that if someone sneezes multiple ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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"es gibt es" - what does it mean? [closed]

On the webpage of Tagesschau.de (1) there is this sentence: "Aber es gibt es natürlich auch eine ganze Reihe von Ansätzen, um sich im Vorfeld besser vorzubereiten." I am puzzled by the "...
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1 answer
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Can't exactly understand a statement (Spaß und Freude vermitteln? and etc.)

Dieses Buch wird Ihnen Spaß und Freude am Entwickeln und Aufbauen – dem Basteln – elektronischer Schaltungen vermitteln und Sie animieren, aktiv und kreativ eigene Ideen zu verwirklichen. This ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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Is this sentence still used or is it outdated/archaic?

I found this sentence on Duolingo, the English and German are as follows: "Which name does it bear?" "Welchen Namen trägt es?" Is it still used and if yes, in what context? I ...
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5 votes
4 answers
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How would I say, “a story about the time that...” in German?

I assumed that it would be something like “(ich erzähle) eine Geschichte über das mal, in dem ich...“ but that doesn’t seem right. And the more I look up how to translate this idea, the more it seems ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Meaning of "an der Nase herumziehen" in Faust

Here are the first 11 verses in the "Nacht" scene, from Goethe's Faust I: FAUST Habe nun, ach! Philosophie, Juristerei und Medizin, Und leider auch Teologie Durchaus studiert, mit heißem ...
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3 answers
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How to say: "The film/series came out yesterday"

Specifically, I want to know the correct verb in German for "to come out". It doesn't matter if the movie came out or the pastor is coming out sometime in the future. I guess I can always ...
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

German word/expression meaning something like "breakfast engineer"?

Many years ago someone I worked with who was a German speaker (possibly Swiss or Austrian rather than German) told me there was an expression for what I think he described as a "breakfast ...
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1 vote
2 answers
110 views

Why is dafür needed here?

I've encountered the following sentence: Hier ist erstmals ein Bewusstsein dafür entstanden, dass es sich bei der Erde um ein relativ kleines System handelt. My question is, why is dafür even needed ...
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3 votes
1 answer
107 views

German expression for "learning by ear"?

I saw this expression "learning from ear" on DW, similar to the better know expression "playing by ear". I want to know what the equivalent for this is in German. Both expressions ...
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1 vote
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‘After all’ in connection with quotations

So there are a few ways to translate ‘after all’ into German; ‘schließlich’ meaning ‘finally’, ‘trotz’ meaning ‘in spite of’, ‘immerhin’ meaning ‘at least’ or ‘anyhow’ (among other things). But I’m ...
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6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Räte-Ideen: looking for a translation

Wie würden Sie "Räte-Ideen" verstehen/übersetzen? das konnte nur in den Räte-Ideen erscheinen I understand, something such as, "it could only appear in simplistic classwork essays&...
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5 votes
1 answer
688 views

Expression of woman sinking in the mud and waving

Back in 2016 one of my German friends (who since then passed away) used to say an expression in German that seemed common in North Rhine-Westphalia (at least in that familiar circle they all knew it). ...
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5 votes
1 answer
335 views

Ist doch deide!

"Ist doch deide!", sagte Kali und klang ehrlich begeistert. (Theresa Hannig, Die Optimierer, 2017) I cannot find anywhere the word "deide" is it some dialect? What does "Ist ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Meaning of "stehend inne"

What is the meaning of this sentence: Samson hielt noch in der Tür stehend inne. I translated the words and it is: Samson was holding on the door standing within which does not have any sense.
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3 answers
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How do I say "show someone a good time" in German?

Can I say "jemandem eine gute Zeit zeigen" (They showed me a good time = Sie haben mir eine gute Zeit gezeigt), or is that clearly something borrowed from English? If this expression is odd/...
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0 votes
3 answers
146 views

Gibt es eine beispielhafte Beschreibung der im Bayrischen gebräuchlichen internationalen Lautschrift?

Im Bayrischen gibt es einige gebräuchliche Laute, die in der Verschriftlichung nur schwer abbildbar sind. So zum Beispiel den schon fast klischeehaften Oachkatzlschwoaf, zu dem de.wictionary,org ...
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2 votes
3 answers
977 views

Is there any reason but aesthetics for the use of "dann mit" here?

A very famous song says: Ein kleines Edelweiss, das bringst du mir dann mit I am trying to understand what is the role of dann mit here. For me, if the phrase didn't have these words the meaning would ...
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0 votes
1 answer
164 views

How to translate the expression excited / thrilled to do or say something into German?

Thrilled and excited are adjectives you will hear and see often when someone is talking very positively about something or someone. We are thrilled to present... I am excited to be here in... We ...
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5 votes
1 answer
226 views

What could be the origin of this dialectical expression?

In South Brazil's Hunsrückischer dialect, there is a very known expression (even used by some portuguese speakers) which sounds approximately Das s mu schlimm (There is hardly any examples of written ...
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4 votes
1 answer
638 views

Meaning of "ab damit"

I have heard the following sentence in the TV series "How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)": Ab damit Context: two friends have set up an online drug shop and have just sent the first orders by ...
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3 votes
1 answer
166 views

What does the phrase "[jemanden] auf den baum bringen" mean and where does it come from?

I am translating a Till Eulenspiegel story from German to English, and I encountered the following sentence (source, see section 22]: Eulenspiegels Frechheit brachte den braven Mann vollends auf den ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Sentences to start a presentation

I am trying to prepare a presentation. I need to find some good starting sentences. I will present this to my teachers and they won't know the topic of presentation. I should explain it. I used: ...
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3 votes
2 answers
189 views

Ehrlich(keit) währt am längsten

I'm sure most people here are familiar with the saying Ehrlich währt am längsten, which is roughly equivalent to "Honesty is the best Policy." (The literal, and alliterative, translatation ...
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3 votes
3 answers
131 views

In the "sowohl A als auch B" expression, which of A/B is stressed?

In the sentence below, "Ich bin sowohl in Norwegen als auch in Schweden gewesen." which word is stressed? I mean, in nuance, isn't it that one is regarded obvious and the other is regarded ...
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1 vote
1 answer
58 views

"Es" in a sentence

Manche Menschen lernen es nie. vs Manche Menschen lernen nie. Is "es" required in this case? Are there expressions that must have "es" in their structure?
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3 votes
1 answer
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Meaning of "XXXX halt" [duplicate]

I had the following exchange while chatting: I did not understand the word "Futterpampe", so I asked, and the she answered (i think) that it means "Cat food". But what confused me was the way she ...
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1 vote
3 answers
1k views

Not the brightest light on the christmas tree

I vaguely remember a German expression that means "not the sharpest tool in the shed" that can be literally translated to "not the brightest light on the Christmas tree". Is there actually a saying ...
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7 votes
4 answers
1k views

In the sentence "der hatte doch eine Brille", why do we use 'der' instead of 'er'?

Sie: „Der Mann da, das ist doch Walter.“ Er: „Walter? Nee, der hatte doch eine Brille.“ Sie: „Doch, das ist Walter.“ Can I say "er hatte doch eine Brille" instead of "der hatte doch eine ...
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1 vote
3 answers
213 views

"Kaputt gehen" meaning "to become defect" in a more formal way

The expression "kaputt gehen" for the meaning "to become defect" is somewhat colloquial, and I would like to express it more formal, as in a letter to report a problem. Der Behälter ist gerade ...
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2 votes
2 answers
4k views

"halten VON" vs. "halten FÜR"

Ich habe die Antwort von der Verschiedenheit von "halten von" und "halten für" nicht gefunden... Eigentlich, habe ich manche Erklärungen gelesen, aber sie haben keinen direkten Vergleich darüber ...
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4 votes
1 answer
441 views

Use cases and explainig for "Mahlzeit"

I have seen that people use the expression "Mahlzeit" before eating, but I also have heard them use in another occasions, even though I did not understand at the time why. What are the use cases for ...
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1 vote
1 answer
110 views

Is "als Kind gerne" an idiom?

In the Slow German podcast #185, she has Alexander beschäftigte sich als Kind gerne mit Insekten, Steinen und Pflanzen. I translate "als Kind gerne" as, "as children are want to do". But a more ...
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3 votes
6 answers
316 views

What are the German equivalents of "blow away the cobwebs"?

We were having a conversation in French after a concert, and I was wondering how I'd express the same idea in German. I would have said: Ich habe die letzten Tage damit verbracht, eingepfercht in ...
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8 votes
5 answers
1k views

How is the casino term "a high roller" commonly expressed in German?

We were having a conversation at a casino, and I said: Normalerweise ist es nicht meine Art, um große Einsätze zu spielen. Ich bin vermutlich einfach von Haus aus keine Spielernatur. Aber wenn ich ...
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2 votes
3 answers
125 views

In German, how to say: "when you just saw an awe-inspiring example to follow, which made you want to be just like that person"?

We were having a conversation in French about a certain businessman who visited our hospital, and I said jokingly: Je viens de le croiser dans le couloir et il a tout du homme d’affaires. Un jour, ...
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