Questions tagged [expressions]

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

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8
votes
1answer
362 views

What does 'Nummer' refer to in “Auf Nummer sicher gehen”?

What does 'Nummer' refer to in "Auf Nummer sicher gehen"? I understand that this phrase means something like the english expression "to play it on the safe side" meaning, when faced with a choice, to ...
8
votes
1answer
284 views

What's the meaning of 'Igel fressen'?

In a drama "Extra" episode 8, there is a statement. Sag ihr, ich habe einen Igel gefressen oder dass ich zum Mond gefahren bin. This is what Nick tells his friend to make a woman (Edeltraut) leave....
8
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1answer
1k views

A kind of – German Expressions

Whenever I try to say something like ‘A type of car’, or ‘a type of food’, I end up saying ‘eine Art + nominative singular’ or ‘eine Art von nominative singular’ but I’m not really sure about it. ...
7
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3answers
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Saying “even more” as an adverb in German

I'd waited. And waited. And waited even more. How may one write the above in German? I'm guessing it is something along the lines of : Ich wartete. Und wartete. Und wartete sogar mehr. But none ...
7
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4answers
2k views

Sprichwort über lebenslanges Lernen

Ich brauche ein Sprichwort, welches die Wichtigkeit des lebenslangen Lernens auf eine prägnante Art und Weise ausdrückt. Wenn es sich reimt, ist es noch besser. Im Russischen gibt es eine Redewendung ...
7
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4answers
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 ...
7
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2answers
553 views

Is there a difference between “Schuld haben” and “schuld sein”?

There are two expression which a very similar in German Schuld haben and schuld sein Is there a difference in meaning, maybe a subtle one? Why is the first "Schuld" capitalized and the second ...
7
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3answers
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Can “Es tut mir leid” be used to express empathy rather than remorse?

I have been wondering, reading online and discussing with friends over this German expression for a long time. I want to know if German speakers, Austrian males especially, feel that by saying "Es ...
7
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2answers
206 views

Wie sagt man »to be back to normal«?

Meine Frau und ich hatten einen Streit und jetzt sind wir zur Normalität zurückgekehrt. My wife and I had a fight, but now we are back to normal. Ich weiß nicht, ob dieser Ausdruck zu diesem ...
7
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1answer
2k views

»Das geht leider nicht« vs. »Es geht leider nicht«

In German, there is an expression: Das geht leider nicht. To my knowledge, this means one of the following: Unfortunately, this is not possible. Unfortunately, it won’t go. But what does the ...
7
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4answers
726 views

Warum erstinkt man Lügen?

Am Wochenende haben wir Mäxle gespielt (das wohl in anderen Regionen Deutschlands Meier heißt – warum auch immer), und an einer Stelle habe ich einen Viererpasch zurückgewiesen mit den Worten: Das ...
7
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1answer
4k views

Origin and Usage of “i wo”?

A colloquial way of answering negatively/dismissing an offered statement can be the use of the word(s) "i wo / iwo". The meaning of "i wo", according to Wiktionary, is this: (...
7
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2answers
3k views

Mut, Tapferkeit, Sicherheit, Porzellankiste?

Im Ausdruck: Vorsicht ist die Mutter der Porzellankiste (er könnte indirekt von Shakespeare kommen aber ich finde diesen Artikel nicht schlüssig) Warum hat die Porzellankiste Tapferkeit oder Mut ...
6
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4answers
578 views

Order of locations?

When a location like a town is mentioned in (American) English, the state and country that town is part of is often also stated, e. g. to specify which place exactly it is that is being talked about. ...
6
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3answers
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&...
6
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2answers
172 views

Is »für« or »vor« redundant in this sentence from »Der Spiegel«?

The below paragraph appears in the article “Schlacht um Deir al-Sor. 100.000 Syrer im Würgegriff des IS” from Der Spiegel: Die drohende Einnahme der Stadt stellt damit auch für die US-Armee vor ...
6
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2answers
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 ...
6
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3answers
298 views

German equivalent of the French expression “Mais de là à …”

In conversation, you can say, for instance: Elle était du genre à se jeter sur les horoscopes. Mais de là à se faire refaire les lignes de la main... "She was always one to blindly believe in ...
6
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3answers
3k views

Wie sagt man “according to”?

Recently, I wanted to say something like: According to the national emergency office … but I didn’t find an expression for according to. It seems to me that the translation nach refers to a ...
6
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2answers
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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: ...
6
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4answers
6k views

How to say “to check the mail”?

I did a Google search for this and all of the hits related to checking one's e-mail. Can anyone tell me how to say "to check the mail" correctly in German? I think I've seen prüfen used for "to ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Was bedeutet “wär von Vorteil”?

Ich habe diesen Kommentar ein paar Mal gesehen: Wär von Vorteil. Was bedeutet er?
6
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2answers
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“Die Liebe höret nimmer auf!”

I saw today this picture: This does not seem to be any verbal form from aufhören. What is this expression?
6
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1answer
148 views

Are there any literary refrerences to cloth that is called “Kümmel und Salz”?

In the Grimms Kinder und Hausmärchen text Vom klugen Schneiderlein, 1815 #28 there is a line: Da sprach die Prinzessin: »ich habe zweierlei Haar auf dem Kopf, von was für Farben ist das?« »Wenn’s ...
6
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3answers
482 views

What's a good German translation of “Aurgh!” or “Auuuurrgghhh!”?

The context is in a moment of fright, shocked surprise, or an intensely painful injury (along the lines of the Wilhelm Scream). I could go for phonetics and write „AAAAAHHHHH!!!”, but that’s just too ...
6
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3answers
7k views

How to say “Sorry, not now, I am too busy”

I would like to be able to express Sorry, not now, I am too busy, or simply the idea that I am busy right now. I am not sure what to choose between besetzt and beschäftigt to say busy. I don´t really ...
6
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2answers
987 views

Wieder- oder zurückkommen?

In einem Dialog aus meinem Lehrbuch sagt eine Frau, deren Mann auf Reise fährt: komm heil wieder. Ich hätte komm heil zurück erwartet. Was denkt ihr: Täusche ich mich oder liegt da ein ...
6
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1answer
359 views

Wird das Genitiv-s bei feststehenden Ausdrücken / Codenamen gesetzt?

Ich verfasse einen Text zu einer Aktion mit dem Codenamen Projekt Omen. Es handelt sich also um einen feststehenden Ausdruck aus zwei Wörtern, nicht nur um ein Projekt mit dem Namen Omen. Welche der ...
6
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2answers
8k views

Wie nennt man jemanden, der ständig plant (was auch immer er tut)?

Da gibt es (laut Google) nur eine Frage (auf Gutefrage.de) mit unbefriedigenden Antworten. Ich bin im englischen StackExchange darauf gestoßen und ich weiß nicht einmal, wie man es auf Deutsch ...
6
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1answer
176 views

Has part of the original sentence like “Ich frage mich” been left out in this construction?

Wie es ihm wohl in London ergeht? Can you use the construction “wie/was/wo/ob … wohl …?” to express the idea of “I wonder how/what/where/whether”? I suppose the wohl here has the meaning of ...
6
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1answer
163 views

Precise terms for “Sachebene”, “Implikationsebene” and “Textebene”

To begin with, I just "invented" these three expressions, maybe an example helps: "Er erledigte seinen Auftrag und entsorgte seine Waffe. Dann stieg er in seinen Wagen. Er fuhr davon." So the "...
6
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3answers
189 views

»Business als usual«, »business as usual« or… What's the preferred form?

As it turns out, there are many variations of writing business as usual in German. I’m quoting below four sentences containing the expression, three of them come from German newspapers and one from ...
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6answers
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Asking about the weather using 'was'

The English statement How is the weather today? is translated to Wie ist das Wetter heute?. We can ask the same question using what in English by What is the weather like today? How can we say the ...
5
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4answers
2k views

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 ...
5
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6answers
866 views

Why does “auf der Strecke bleiben” mean “to fall by the wayside”?

What is the literal meaning of "auf der Strecke bleiben"? What is the link between the literal meaning and the meaning "to fall by the wayside"?
5
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2answers
534 views

Chatty expression in German

There are chatty expressions in English, like in the middle of a conversation someone says: [Getting angry] Does it work the same in German? as in [sauer werden] Or such a thing isn't used in ...
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3answers
1k views

What would be an appropriate translation of the expression “strike the iron while it's hot”?

What would be an appropriate translation of the expression "strike the iron while it's hot" in German?
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2answers
2k views

Is “es macht mir Freude” correct and used?

Is this expression equivalent to "it makes me happy"? Does it sound ok or maybe too old style? Would I ever hear a young person saying it? Is this expression used or common?
5
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2answers
1k views

Example with “wegen” (just for clarification)

I want to say "I'm a teacher because my parents told me so" So far my research has led me to the word "wegen" (because of), so I guess the sentence would be "Ich bin Lehrer wegen meinen Eltern" ...
5
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3answers
660 views

Demographics and geographic use of “oder wat” (alternatively “oder Watt”)

I recently visited a major manufacturer of electrical equipment in Berlin. Among engineers and technicians I frequently heard "oder wat?", with 'wat' being pronounced the same as one would pronounce ...
5
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4answers
1k views

Expression “from scratch” in German

I have found the following translations for to start from scratch: (ganz) von vorn(e) anfangen/starten/beginnen bei Null anfangen/starten/beginnen And for to do sth from scratch: von Grund auf ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Meaning and construction of a proverb

I have a couple of questions about the proverb: Den Toren packt die Reisewut, indes im Bett der Weise ruht I couldn't find a translation for die Reisewut. It seems composed by two words, die Reise ...
5
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1answer
668 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). ...
5
votes
3answers
393 views

Meaning for “das ist mir wirklich unangenehm”

On Pons I found that das ist mir wirklich unangenehm means I am really sorry for, while on Dict.cc I found the translation how embarassing (unverified version though). I would like to know what it ...
5
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1answer
202 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 ...
5
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1answer
120 views

How do German speakers idiomatically express the idea of “Ce n’est pas donné à tout le monde de …” in French?

Tu as vraiment de la chance, XXX, c’est pas donné à tout le monde d’être amie avec un joueur de tennis mondialement connu. We were having a conversation in French, and I was wondering how I'd express ...
5
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2answers
203 views

“da … wohl jemand”: Is this a sarcastic set expression with the meaning “a certain someone”?

Hm, da ist wohl jemand ziemlich gereizt. = "Someone ... looks irritated there." Da hat sich wohl jemand zu früh gefreut. = "Someone ... got their hopes up too soon there." I ...
5
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2answers
131 views

Understanding “aber des einen seins war blind”

The question is on the highlighted expression in this passage from Der arme Müllerbursch und das Kätzchen (1857), as collected by the Grimm brothers. In it, three mill hands had each brought a horse ...
5
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1answer
71 views

Which case is “über alle Maßen”?

Über alle Maßen I’m guessing from the form Maßen that it’s in the dative case. But then the adjective declension should be with the suffix -en, right? So … why is it alle instead of allen? Or is ...
5
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2answers
258 views

Can you use “unter der Sonne” to express the idea of “the best there is in the world”?

Felix ist der beste Gitarrist unter der Sonne. I wonder if "unter der Sonne" can be coupled with "der beste ..." as a figurative expression with the meaning of "the best there is in the world"?