Questions tagged [expressions]

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

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36
votes
5answers
41k views

Kann man sich entschuldigen oder nur um Entschuldigung bitten?

Achtung: Folgende Frage könnte als Haarspalterei oder Spitzfindigkeit empfunden werden. Ich frage mich, ob der folgende Ausdruck sich entschuldigen eigentlich richtig ist. Man hört ihn sehr ...
31
votes
3answers
6k views

Natural way to deny help from a shopkeeper

This question also has an answer here (in German): Wie kann man im Geschäft einem Verkäufer korrekt sagen, dass man sich zuerst nur umschauen möchte und noch keine Hilfe braucht? ...
29
votes
7answers
260k views

How does a German say “Nice to meet you”?

In English it is common to reply with "Nice to meet you" when you were introduced to somebody. Likewise you say "Was nice to meet you" on leaving. Are there any similar phrases a German would use in ...
25
votes
6answers
6k views

What is the German equivalent of the English “aka”?

In English, the abbreviation aka means "also known as". A literal German translation might be "auch bekannt wie". Is this, in fact, the correct German equivalent? And is the abbreviation ABW (or the ...
23
votes
6answers
19k views

“Toi, toi, toi” – was genau bedeutet dieser Ausdruck?

Ich habe gerade "Toi, toi, toi" gehört, und habe keine Ahnung, wie ich das nehmen sollte! Ist es gut? Schlecht? Wenn man im Englischen "Tut, tut, tut..." hört, es ist nicht so prickelnd. Hat dieser ...
23
votes
4answers
23k views

What is the literal meaning of “Hau ab!”?

If you want to tell somebody to go away you could shout: "Hau ab!" However this is considered as not very polite, much like "Get lost!", or "F*** off!". I am wondering where German "Hau ab" comes ...
22
votes
6answers
7k views

How would you translate “to judge someone” to German?

In English, "to judge someone" often implies a negative opinion, as in "Don't judge me!". Is there a German equivalent for this? How would you translate the example? My dictionary gives "jmdn. ...
20
votes
4answers
4k views

Does German have the “must we not” formation?

If I say, in English, “Must we not speak German?”, I will be understood as asking whether it is true that we must speak German. It’s a strange phrase, as it means the opposite of the literal ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “Ich brauch mal Storno” mean?

Ich war heute bei Kaufland und habe blah blah... ich brauch mal Storno gehört. Bedeutet das so etwas wie "Kaffeepause" oder mehr in Richtung "Pinkelpause"? Oder ist die Bedeutung eine ganz ...
18
votes
7answers
43k views

How should we apologize in German?

The most common phrase in german phrase book for apology would be es tut mir leid or tut mir leid to mean "it does me suffering". From the questions on the difference between "entschuldigen" or "...
17
votes
5answers
15k views

“Das ist kein Thema” - What does it mean?

Recently I moved to the Konstanz area, and what I noticed is people saying "Das ist kein Thema" for everything. So, what exactly does it mean? And when to use it?
15
votes
2answers
236 views

Bei XY unterm Sofa?

Ich hatte in mein Notizbuch diesen Ausdruck geschrieben: "Wie bei Heini Geiger unterm Sofa" (C'est le bazar!, Es ist sehr unordentlich) Es scheint unmöglich zu sein, mithilfe von Google mehr über ...
15
votes
5answers
6k views

Woher stammt das »großes Indianer-Ehrenwort«?

Als ich einmal wieder meine Lieblingskinderserie, den kleinen Vampir geschaut habe, ist mir folgender Dialog in die Ohren gesprungen: Ich möchte das Wort »Vampir« die nächsten Wochen nicht mehr hören!...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen “über etwas diskutieren” und “etwas diskutieren”?

Zum Beispiel Wir haben heute Verschiedenes diskutiert. oder Wir haben heute über Verschiedenes diskutiert.
13
votes
4answers
879 views

Expression for someone with very broad and detailed knowledge

Are there any well-known German expressions for someone who is very board and detailed in knowledge? for example: He is a human database
13
votes
5answers
4k views

What does “auf Habacht” mean?

I saw this in a book as a sort of military order, but can’t find it in dictionaries: auf Habacht What does it mean and why isn’t it mentioned?
12
votes
9answers
4k views

Is there an expression that translates to “building character” in German?

My friend and I were out in the rain, and I was asked why I left my stuffed animal keychain clipped to my backpack if it will get wet. I wanted to reply with an offhand joke about how being out in the ...
12
votes
2answers
7k views

Is there a word for “hey” or “oi”?

I am wondering if there is a word in German that is meant to get attention, like from across the road or even the dining table, like hey or oi and what it would be.
12
votes
2answers
6k views

Was ist das Gegenteil von “hervorheben”?

Beim Schreiben meiner Arbeit bin ich auf folgendes Problem gestoßen: Wie drücke ich (als Verb/Adjektiv) aus, dass etwas nicht mehr hervorgehoben ist oder wird? Es geht dabei z. B. um das Hervorheben ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Expression “running out” in German

I have found the following translations for running out of something. Some verbs that make sense to me to use are ausgehen, ablaufen and enden. Note that I'm not interested in the literal meaning of ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

Online resource which has easy German to read with its English translation

Is there any resource online which has easy German (should use most common words in daily setting) and also has its English translation alongside?
11
votes
7answers
531 views

Is there a non-regional German expression for the Swabian term “Gschmäckle”?

Is this term only well-known in Southern Germany or also in the deep North? Is there short alternatives for modern High German? Does anyone know a similar English short expression?
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Expression of extreme surprise (possibly vulgar, but without being insulting)

Is there a formula or expression that I can use to express these English sentences? What on earth did you just do? What the heck did I just hear? What the hell just happened? or, in ...
11
votes
4answers
375 views

Deutsche Redewendung für „Sit around the campfire and sing Kumbaya“

Ich habe nach einem Äquivalent auf Deutsch gesucht, konnte aber keines finden. Das einzige, das mir einfällt ist Abwarten und Tee trinken, aber ich glaube nicht, dass dies den Sarkasmus und die ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the best way to translate “To do list”?

The closest translation I can find so far is Aufgabenliste which is more literally "Task List". Is there a more commonly used, native way to express the common english phrase "To do list" when using ...
11
votes
1answer
12k views

das ist vs. es ist [closed]

When do you use "das ist" instead of "es ist"? In questions is "das ist" more commonly used? I don't understand when to use "es ist" and when to use "das ist" in sentences and questions.
11
votes
1answer
248 views

Origin of “bis Motzen tutet”

I want to get a cross reference about a figure of speech which is common in the Berlin-based part of my family. They use very commonly the phrase "bis Motzen tutet" to emphasis the circumstance that ...
10
votes
7answers
8k views

German equivalent of “It works”

In English there is an idiom: It works. Or more likely: That/It works for me. I think that the following is wrong, as arbeiten seems rather literal, but would it be a correct translation? ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What does »an der Hacke« mean?

The expression an der Hacke appears in the name of this article from Der Spiegel: “Schulz und die SPD. Richtig was an der Hacke”. It appears again in the following paragraph: "Jetzt haben wir erst ...
10
votes
3answers
20k views

What could be expressed by “Ja, klar” in different situations?

If I say "Ja klar", What are the different meanings expressed by this expression?
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Meaning of schon in “das schaff' ich schon”

Watching Futurama, one of the characters said: "das schaff' ich schon!" What exactly does this mean, and how does "schon" change the meaning? (I don't remember, but I think it was Fry, which ...
10
votes
3answers
297 views

Terms for “Nicht-Verstehen signalisieren”

As I read here: The first two sentences are classified as "Nicht-Verstehen signalisieren". Are there other widely known terms or interjections to signal you didn't understand something?
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you say “he will be on TV”?

I can't figure out how to say “I will be on TV” or “he will be on TV" correctly (in reference to being on a TV show that will be aired). The best I can think of something like »Ich werde am Fernseher ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

How would you translate “you have my vote” into German?

In English, you'd say to candidates that you'll vote for them. How would you say this in German? Something like: Hey Stefano, go for it. You have my vote.
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I render the “that” in “Don’t be like that”?

I said to one of my German friends who was being pessimistic: Sei nicht so es! He answered that I could not use es but that I could add an adjective to it like Sei doch nicht so pessimistisch, ...
9
votes
4answers
469 views

Expression for blindly following rules

Is there any expression which denotes either The act of blindly and dogmatically following rules/instructions without regard for the practicality of doing so (For example, this would be an epithet ...
9
votes
6answers
259 views

Beschreibung extremer Langsamkeit

Gibt es noch andere Worte/Redewendungen als "im Schneckentempo", um extreme Langsamkeit auszudrücken?
9
votes
1answer
236 views

What does “italienisch konstruiert” mean?

I’ve encountered this expression in a book I’m reading. Here’s the whole paragraph: Liebe Emmi, ach, ist das angenehm, wieder einmal so einen richtig bezaubernden Ansatz einer Eifersuchtsszene ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

What is “Hacke, Spitze, eins, zwei, drei”?

I’m currently learning the German language as I’m new to Germany. Learning something new from the public every day is really cool! Yesterday I happened to hear bunch of kids playing across the street ...
9
votes
1answer
688 views

Expression for “little people”

What is an idiomatic way of expressing "little people", not as in people literally of small stature but people who are in reality important while still being "officially" unimportant?-- most notably ...
9
votes
1answer
10k views

Ursprung von “Nicht verzagen, … fragen”

Bei einer Diskussion kamen wir letztens auf den Ausspruch Nicht verzagen, [Name] fragen. zu sprechen. Aus purer Neugierde überlege ich nun, ob das ein Zitat ist oder einfach nur eine aufgrund des ...
8
votes
5answers
477 views

Wie sagt man “to scroll” auf Deutsch?

"I've wasted so much time just scrolling through/on Instagram"... How can I express this in German? To scroll = to move text or other information on a computer screen in order to see a different ...
8
votes
7answers
972 views

How to render “have ideas above his station” into German

In conversation, one of my colleagues said: He's thinking of making advances to the hospital director's daughter. If you ask me, he's got ideas above his station. He's not set up for life or ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

What's the difference between “noch” and “immer noch?”

From what I got, the sentence Sie isst immer noch is translated to She's still eating. I get what each word in the sentence translates to: Sie -> She isst -> eats/is eating immer -> ...
8
votes
5answers
977 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
8k views

“used to [verb]”

How would one say "used to", as in I used to live in Kiev. Previously, I was told you would use früher: Früher lebte ich in Kiew. But upon looking it up just again, dict.cc says you'd use ...
8
votes
3answers
190 views

German equivalent of the French expression “n'avoir rien à envier à personne”

Pourtant, en matière d'écart de langage, elle n'a rien à envier à personne. = Someone made an inappropriate remark, but she’s had more than her fair share of slip-of-the-tongue moments herself. So ...
8
votes
2answers
675 views

Does “aufrollen” have a colloquial meaning?

I'm translating an old German newspaper article and the word "aufrollen" is used in what appears to be a colloquial manner, since the literal meaning "to roll (up)" doesn't quite fit. Here is the ...
8
votes
5answers
316 views

How is the colloquial “I don't miss those days” commonly expressed in German?

In conversation, I just said jokingly: Ja, den schlafmangelerfüllten Assistenzarzt-Tagen weine ich keine Träne nach. Wir waren immer kurz davor, sogar im Dienst stehend einzuschlafen... ...
8
votes
1answer
157 views

Moderne, gehobene Version von “Hof machen”

Wie nennt man im modernen Deutsch den Vorgang, bei dem ein Mann mit originellen und durchdachten Aktionen die Aufmerksamkeit einer Frau auf sich lenkt? Der Ausdruck soll betonen, dass das Ganze mit ...

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