Literature (2019 | Issue 2)

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The German language is rich in idioms and proverbs. These pearls of wisdom and funny sayings are steeped in local culture. Using them will win you brownie points with any German. What’s Up, Germany? has put together some really cool everyday German expressions that will take your conversation a notch higher. Don’t miss the quirky references to food, animals, and of course, beer! Ready for some swag?!


Was ich nicht weiß, macht mich nicht heiß.

Arbeit ist die beste Jacke.

Klappe zu, Affe tot.

Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund.

Mal nicht den Teufel an die Wand.

Ich kriege so eine Krawatte!

Warum spielst du die beleidigte Leberwurst?

Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof!

Du gehst mir auf den Keks.

Das ist nicht mein Bier.

Tomaten auf den Augen haben

Du nimmst mich auf den Arm!

Sie hat einen Kater.

Ich habe Schwein gehabt!

Eine Extrawurst haben wollen

Hast du einen Vogel?

Die Kirche im Dorf lassen

Das ist mir Wurst!


What I don’t know,
doesn’t make me hot.

Work is the best jacket.

Close the lid,
the monkey is dead.

The morning hour has
gold in its mouth.

Don’t draw the devil on the wall.

I get such a tie!

Why are you playing
the offended liver sausage?

I only understand train station!

You’re walking on my cookie!

That’s not my beer.

To have tomatoes on one’s eyes

You’re taking me on your arm!

She has a tomcat.

I’ve had a pig!

To want an extra sausage

Do you have a bird (in your head)?

Leave the church in the village

It’s sausage to me!


What I don’t know can’t hurt me.

The best way to warm yourself up
is by doing some work.

End of story!

The early bird catches the worm.

Don’t invite trouble by focussing
on negative things.

It makes me really angry!

Why are you getting bent out of shape?

It’s all Greek to me!

You’re getting on my nerves!

That’s not my problem!

To be oblivious to what’s going on
around you

You’re pulling my leg!

She’s got a hangover.

I got lucky!

To want special treatment

Are you crazy?

To not get carried away

I don’t care!