Guest Column: 50 Common German Phrases That Are Hilarious in English

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Author’s Note: This is a guest column coming from another blog that deals with German language and culture, entitled German Culture, created by Rolf von Ohlsdorf. You can click here for more information. I found one of the pieces that combines foreign language and humor together. After receiving the green light, I’m presenting this as a guest column for you to enjoy. The link to the original can be found here

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Although the German language may seem harsh and hard at first, it is filled with humorous expressions (many of them food-related). However funny expressions and phrases are at first, it’s definitely worth learning a few. See for yourself!

German Phrase Literal English Translation Meaning
Jetzt geht’s um die Wurst Now it goes around the sausage All or nothing
Du bist auf dem Holzweg There you are on the woodway You are completely wrong
Mir stehen die Haare zu Berge My hair stands up to the mountain I’ve got goosebumps
Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof I understand only train station I have no idea what you are saying
Tut mir leid, aber mein Englisch ist unter aller Sau Sorry but my English is under all pig Sorry, but my English is just the worst
Ich glaube, ich spinne I think I spider I believe I’m dreaming
Den Teufel werd ich tun! The Devil I will do! I will NOT do that!
Komm schon, spring über deinen Schatten Come on, jump over your shadow Get out of your comfort zone
Du gehst mir tierisch auf den Keks You walk me beastly on the cookie You are getting on my nerves, big time
Holla die Waidfee Holla the wood fairy Well, that’s unexpected
Ich seh schwarz für dich I see black for you I don’t see any good news coming your way
Du bist so ein Angsthase You are such a fear-rabbit You are so easily scared
Sie ticken doch ganz nicht richtig You might tick incorrectly You are stupid
Du hast nicht mehr alle Tassen im Schrank You are missing cups in your cupboard You’re crazy
Du hast doch einen Vogel You have a bird You are crazy
Sie hatte einen Kreislaufzusammenbruch She had a circleruntogetherbreak She fainted
Ich falle aus allen Wolken I fall from all clouds I have not expected this
Niemand kann mir das Wasser reichen No one can pass me the water Nobody is better than me
Du bist das Gelbe vom Ei You are the yellow from the egg You are all I’m looking for
Es läuft mir eiskalt den Rücken runter It runs me ice cold down my back My blood runs cold
Ich bin fuchsteufelswild I’m foxdevilswild I’m super mad
Das macht mir so schnell keiner nach That makes me nobody so quickly after No one will copy that so easily
Nun haben wir den Salat Now we have the salad Well, here we have what we deserve
Ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift I think my pig whistles I believe I’m dreaming
Du kannst mir mal den Buckel runterrutschen You can slide my back down Leave me alone / get out of here
Mein lieber Herr Gesangsverein My dear Mr Singing Club Impressive
Das geht ab wie Schmitz Katze That goes off like Schmitz’ cat That escalated quickly
Ich lach mich kaputt I laugh myself broken You got to be kidding me
Du kommst in Teufelsküche You will come in devil’s kitchen You’re in deep trouble
Das Motiv heiligt die Mittel The motive holies the means The end justifies the means
Ich mach mich aus dem Staub I make myself out of the dust I’m leaving
Du hast einen Sprung in der Schüssel You have a crack in your dish You’re crazy
Nun sitzen wir hier in der Tinte Now we sit here in the ink We’re in trouble
Nun ist der Ofen aus Now the oven is out Game over. Nothing else to expect
Ich hab jetzt echt die Nase voll I have now really my nose full Enough of that bullshit
Du Glückspilz You lucky mushroom You lucky man
Ich kriege die Krise I get the crisis I’m going mad
Du bist ein Erbsenzähler You’re a pea counter You are very nitpicky
Totgesagte leben länger Dead said live longer Don’t write it off too early
Ich stehe auf dem Schlauch I stand on the tube I have no idea what is going on
Alles für die Katz’ Everything for the cat All for nothing
Mir fällt ein Stein vom Herzen A stone falls from my heart I’m relieved
Nun schlägt’s aber dreizehn Now it punches thirteen That’s enough
Das geht auf keine Kuhhaut That fits on no cowskin Your lies are unbelievable
Darauf kannst du Gift nehmen You can take poison on that You can bet on it
Du hast mir keinen Meter weitergeholfen You helped me no meter further Your advice was a waste of time
Da guckst du dumm aus der Wäsche There you are looking stupid out of the laundry You didn’t expect that, no?
Da wird der Hund in der Pfanne verrückt There the dog goes crazy in the pan That’s unbelievable
Leg einen Zahn drauf Put a tooth on it Be quicker
Klapp zu, Affe tot Lid down, dead monkey That’s it

 

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