List of German idioms

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The list of German idioms primarily lists the wording, meaning and origin of German idioms , the meaning of which is not immediately apparent to the reader or which are no longer used in the original way. Several attempts have been made to interpret some of them, not all of which can be reproduced. Clear or banal expressions such as disappearing from an early age or disappearing into oblivion are not discussed here, nor is faecal and gutter jargon , pure scene language (in prison, drug milieu, schoolyard, etc.) or injuries . Single words like Potzblitz! or power words are undesirable here.

Winged words , literary quotations that have become idioms, are in the list of winged words .

The entries are sorted alphabetically according to the word highlighted in bold (usually it is the first noun). The meaning is explained as briefly as possible.


08/15 : The machine gun type MG 08/15 was the standard machine gun of the Germans in the First World War
  • 08/15 (spoken: zero-eight-fifteen / fifteen ) - mediocre, simple, ordinary, standardized, nothing out of the ordinary.


  • The be- all and end-all - the essentials, the most important, and lasting things. The Greek alphabet starts with alpha (= A) and ends with omega (= O). See also: Alpha and Omega . Became proverbial through the Bible verse "I am the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, says the Lord God ..." ( Rev 1,8  EU )
  • Someone a rebuff give - him in his talk / strike in a dispute, or else: a request refuse him. From the student's language, where the "Paukant" inferior in the measure is led / removed from the hall.
  • Check out something - search everything. During the driven hunt, the game was hunted out of the undergrowth with wooden rattles.
  • Something abkupfern - mimic, copy, plagiarize . The engraving was in the earlier modern times, the leading technology for duplicating images.
  • This is shelf P - something is no longer needed and can be disposed of. From office language, P stands for trash .
Abraham's bosom : Lazarus and the rich man. In the middle right a representation of Abraham's bosom . Echternach Gospels , approx. 1035-1040.
  • Safe as in Abraham's bosom - feel like in paradise. Based on the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke ( Lk 16.22  EU ).
  • You were still in Abraham's sausage cauldron - you were not yet conceived. Probably based on the New Testament in Hebrews . It says that at the time when his great-grandfather Abraham met the high priest Melchizedek , Levi was still “in Abraham's loin” ( Heb 7:10  ESV ).
  • Being able to remove some makeup - having to give up hope. Mostly in response to the utterance of a wish or an intention with the words "You can get rid of that".
  • To fob someone off with something - to give someone less than they hope for . It is said to originate from a custom, which is handled differently in the landscape, to announce the rejection of his wish to the bride-to-be by means of an inferior meal.
  • With Oh and noise - just barely. Shortening of "with groans and croaks".
  • On axis be (eg, he is constantly on the move '.) - be on the road, not tangible. An axle is a (rolling) vehicle.
  • Get out of the field - steal away. In soldiers' jargon , the training area was also called a field. Anyone who left the field dodged and was not infrequently deserted .
  • Someone to wire can - "facilitate" him financially exploit. Bader mastered the art of bloodletting and cupping , which they were well rewarded.
  • Looks like a monkey on a grindstone - unusual or uncomfortable way of getting around, especially in connection with two-wheelers ; strange sitting position. Derived from the trained monkey of a scissors grinder .
  • Playing the monkey for someone - obeying another person, possibly making a fool of yourself for them. In the past, jugglers with animals such as monkeys often performed at fairs and had to perform all sorts of tricks, for which they had sometimes been tortured.
  • Give the monkey sugar - be wildly funny while intoxicated. With Theodor Fontane the phrase occurs several times ( I resigned and gave the carrot to the monkey of my vanity. ).
  • Let go of the monkey - be funny, have a fun day.
  • A charade perform - show an exaggerated behavior.
  • Run a monkey circus - make a lot of fuss about one thing.
  • Get a monkey or have a monkey sitting - get drunk or be drunk. Either derived from the monkeys' alleged drunkenness or from the colloquial term "monkey" for a soldier's knapsack .
  • I think the monkey is happy (scratched) - an expression of deeply unpleasant surprise. The phrase originated in Berlin in the 19th century, where the phrase "I think, the monkey laust mir" was common.
  • Make a monkey - make a fool of yourself. In the Ruhr area too: making yourself a (full) eyrie , identical meaning.
  • Monkey love - excessive love.
  • A monkey disgrace - an open disgrace.
  • Three monkeys - symbolization, see, hear or say nothing (evil).
  • It's as certain as the amen in church - you can count on it. Liturgical prayers end with Amen (loosely translated from Hebrew: this is how it should be), so this word will certainly appear a few times in every worship service.
  • The official gray (neighs) - the bureaucracy is characterized by cumbersome and principled . The corruption of the word “simile” (lat. Similis = similar) for a sample form in Austria, according to which the individual processes were processed. This had to deal with many situations and was therefore correspondingly extensive.
  • Angler Latin - equivalent to hunter's Latin .
  • Compare apples with pears - compare incomparable things.
  • In the sour apple bite - do something unpleasant necessity.
  • Buy something for an apple and an egg - buy something dirt cheap. Apples and eggs cost relatively little.
  • The apple does not fall far from the trunk (from the horse, from the pear tree) - if z. B. Children resemble their parents in character.
  • Apple of discord, apple of contention - the central point of a dispute.
  • That is an indictment for him - it shows how incompetent he is. The legal aid allowed by the certificate of residential community, called indictment, and when duly chance of success provisionally free run of a civil action.
  • To shake something off your sleeve - to invent something, to think of something quickly to get out of a difficult situation. After a possible fraud in the card game: If you have a bad hand, you can help yourself with good cards previously hidden in your sleeve. An even older interpretation says that at times when the robes had wide sleeves, they not only warmed the hands, but also smaller items could be stowed in them, which you then shook out of your sleeve.
  • One should guard it with eagle eyes - one should watch it closely. In Greek mythology, Argos was commissioned by Hera to watch over Io so that it would not come to a shepherdess with her husband Zeus . Some of his 100 eyes stayed awake while the others slept.
  • Working your ass off (vulgar) - trying very hard, trying very hard.
  • In the ass of the world / earth (rough) - away from civilization, remote. Also paraphrased: If the world needed an enema, it would be done there.
  • Somebody / something misses someone's ass - I don't care. Vulgar, emphatic form of indifference.
  • Someone who goes ass on ground ice - in an unpleasant situation to be. Quote: Your ass will still go on ice = you will be scared of heaven.
  • The Arschkarte have - the decisive disadvantage at a disadvantage. In order to avoid accidentally pulling a red card when showing a warning yellow card, usually pulled from the breast pocket, which would result in a removal from the playing area, sports referees usually keep the latter in the back pocket.
  • Ashes on your head - be ashamed! Usually used rather ironically. Often also in the version "sprinkle ashes on your head". Derived from funeral rites described in the Bible ( 1 Makk 3.47  EU ).
  • Still have an ace up your sleeve - withhold something big / a convincing argument in order to bring it up at the right moment to the surprise (of others).
  • The eye of the law - the police. The phrase “the eye of the law watches” can be found in Schiller's Song of the Bell .
  • Keeping an eye on someone / something - to enjoy someone or something. This phrase comes from the story of Susanna in the bath , an apocryphal appendix to the biblical book Daniel . There it says: “And when the two elders saw her walking about in it every day, they became furious with lust for her and became fools about it and cast their eyes on her so much that they could no longer look up to heaven or at righteous judgments thought. "
  • Mucking out an Augean stable - clearing up large amounts of dirt or clutter. Hercules brought it to the Greek legend finished in no time the stables of Augias , where 3,000 cattle were reportedly kept clean of all filth.
  • To have to pay for something - to be punished excessively or unjustifiably for something. Until modern times it was not uncommon for several people to have to use the same bath water one after the other. The last person in the sequence got the coolest and dirtiest bath water and also had to take a bath . H. clean the tub and return it to its place.
  • A paragon be from / to insolence (wickedness, virtue, kindness, erudition) - excel particularly in the said discipline. When goods were still sold in opaque and often unprinted containers, a product sample that was particularly attractive to the eye was often tied to it.
  • A failure to eradicate - do something good, to iron out. In March, sheep that were not suitable for further breeding were sorted out.
  • Someone cut out - surpass him or displace. In the knight tournaments, the winner was whoever pushed the opponent from the horse while piercing the lance with the lance, i.e. H. "Stuck out of the saddle".
  • Standing on the extinction budget - becoming meaningless, being out of date. The necessary budget framework will be dead in the near future, i.e. no longer available.
  • behave like the ax in the forest - do something destructive , tyrannize the people around you.


  • Act like a fried fish - be silly or still immature. For the etymology of the word "Backfisch" for immature girls see there. (Proverb around 1900: “At the age of 14 years and seven weeks, the fish broke out.”).
  • Only understand the station - understand nothing or want to understand. Has its origins in the First World War , where the soldiers, tired from years of trench warfare, only wanted to hear the word “station”, which for them meant a trip home.
  • On ball stay - stay tuned to one thing.
  • Hold the ball flat - hold back, don't take risks, don't attract attention.
  • Fight with hard bandages - fight relentlessly and hard. Before the days of boxing gloves or the Queensberry Rules , boxers used bandages to fight for their fists. Protection was only secondary. The more tightly the bandages were wrapped, the harder the punch hit.
  • It was on the long bench pushed - the processing / handling has been greatly delayed. Probably from the language of the court, based on the duration of the litigation. Bank is here to be equated with the filing cabinet that will later be used for the storage of trial files.
  • Across the board - completely, completely. According to the medieval custom of serving people one after the other on a bench during meals. So when the bank was through, everyone got something.
  • I am not the Bank of England - I cannot fulfill every wish. The Bank of England was the epitome of immeasurable financial reserves for a long time when Britain was still a world power.
  • There the bear is tapping / dancing - something is going on there, something is happening there.
  • Tying someone up with a bear - lying to a person or fooling them. From the old German word bar , which means something like burden or levy. wikt: to tie someone up with a bear
  • To do someone a disservice - to do a bad job that often does the opposite of what it is intended to do. Probably based on an animal fable by the French author Jean de La Fontaine , in which a tamed bear killed its master because he wanted to ward off the annoying flies.
  • To go up (or rise) to the barricades - to become rebellious, to resist, to stand up for something courageously. Goes back to the street entrenchments ("barricades") of the insurgents in the French Revolution in 1789, 1830 and 1848, with which resistance against the regulatory authorities / army was made.
  • It has a beard - its hackneyed e.g. B. with jokes or stories that are boring.
  • Don't grow a (gray) beard - don't worry about it, don't get upset, forget it. As a token of mourning, Jews are still shaved for a certain period of time. B. Menachem Begin on the occasion of the death of his wife.
  • It's about the emperor's beard - it is argued about nothing. Scholars are said to have long argued about whether Charlemagne wore a beard or not. See here "Dispute about the emperor's beard"
  • Someone around the beard go - fawn over him or him flatter. Already in antiquity, e.g. B. Homer's Iliad I 501ff., Expression used where Thetis wants to win over Zeus by stroking his chin.
  • Know where Barthel (also Bartel or Bartl) gets the must - know. Either comes from the crooks language , where "Barzel" is synonymous with "(Stemm-) Eisen" and "Most" is a term for money (hence colloquial "Moos"); so know where rich booty can be made. An ironic allusion to the disciple Bartholomäus (Barthel) as a witness to the wine miracle of the wedding at Cana ( Jn 2 : 1–12  EU ) is also possible: There are no “neutral” witnesses of the transformation, the disciples alone know where the wine really is comes from. Another explanation goes back to the date of the Bartholomäusnacht on August 23, which, depending on the apple variety, is about a month before the harvest and the availability of must required knowledge of particularly suitable locations. In Swiss German they say: show someone where the “Bartli” gets the must : teach a “wrongdoer” mores . The latter meaning is also known in Swabian. A variation from the Ruhr area reads: Show someone where the frog has the curls - also in the sense of: knowing.
  • A pawn bring - from something / someone separate in order to save his own position. From the game of chess, in which pawns are the weakest pieces, which one likes to sacrifice in case of danger in order to save a more important piece.
  • In Bausch and bow - total, outright, without going into detail; something is thrown away - it is rejected outright.
  • I am served - feel badly treated or have enough of something.
  • The swaying mountain gives birth to a mouse - something previously announced in a grand manner turns out to be completely unspectacular. Loosely based on Horace : De arte poetica, verse 139, “ Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus ”.
  • To be over the mountain - to have overcome the worst phase of something (e.g. an illness). Derived from the fact that climbing a hill to reach the summit is more difficult than descending.
  • Fight like a berserk - behave impetuously and rather unreasonably. Derived from the Nordic legends, where the "bear skins" struck off without a shield or reason.
  • Now we have the mess - mostly resigned comment on an unpleasant surprise, sometimes humorous. The gifts lying under the Christmas tree are meant by giving presents. Compare also "now we have the salad."
  • Well shod be something - be knowledgeable in one thing. “Shoeing” refers to the adjustment of the horseshoes on horses by a farrier.
  • I eat a broom (often added: including the cleaning lady) - find something absurd or consider it extremely improbable.
  • The bees must! (even when it comes to / about life) - one thing must be done under all circumstances; one is forced to do it even if it is absurd. The phrase goes back to a caricature by Wilhelm Camphausen from 1850.
  • Tip behind the bandage - drink alcohol that runs through the throat and thus also through the tied tie. Alternatives: pour on the lamp, oil the throat, smack one, take one to your chest .
  • To go in the rushes (also to go through the rushes) - to get lost. From the hunter's language, when wild fowl fled into the saving reeds where the hunting dog could not follow.
  • That is a truism (also truism) - even the dumbest will understand that. The Roman comedy writers Terenz and Plautus spoke of “looking for knots in the rushes”, that is, for difficulties that do not even exist.
  • The Blanke Hans - the North Sea ; the dangers of storm surges in the North Sea.
  • Don't mince your words - be clear about an opinion or read someone's riot act . From the theatrical language, where in antiquity in the times before the theater mask a fig leaf hid the actor's face so that he could not be held accountable for his words. wikt: do not mince your words
  • Bluing up - skipping truant , not showing up to work / school for no good reason. Probably derived from Blue Monday , the original liturgically justified name for the work-free fasting of the craftsmen. wikt: turn blue
  • To be blue - to be drunk.
Bluestock : Satirical drawing by Thomas Rowlandson (1756–1827), Collapse of the Bluestock Club (1815)
  • Bluestock - a mock name for a learned (intellectual, “emancipated”) woman who puts her (biological) “feminine qualities” in the background. The blue stockings were a 19th century women's movement that laid the foundations for the suffragettes , an organization in the United States and Britain that campaigned for women's suffrage.
  • Oh holy tin ! - Swabian exclamation of (mostly happy) surprise. Begging was once forbidden in Württemberg, unless you could show a corresponding metal stamp as a sign of official permission. Today the Swabian often means his car when he speaks of Heilig's Blechle .
  • He goes like Blücher at the Katzbach - offensive, brave, impetuous. Following the example of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher , Prussian field marshal, who decided the battle of the Katzbach in his favor due to his willingness to take the offensive .
Flower coffee
  • Blümchenkaffee - coffee that has turned out thin, where you can still see the bottom of the coffee cup, just like with "Bodensehkaffee". Joking elevations are the "Schwerterkaffee" (refers to the sign of the Meißen porcelain factory on the underside of the cup) and the "Doppelschwerterkaffee" (alludes to the swords on the underside of the saucer, which supposedly shine through).
  • To say something through the flower - to make something known only vaguely, indirectly or cryptically . In the baroque era it was improper to approach the lady of your heart openly. For this purpose there were separate sofas with two seats back to back. If you wanted to talk undisturbed, you talked about it whispering behind the fan. So no chaperone could fault anything. There were often flower arrangements on the backrest, so the Tuschler spoke through the flower.
  • Sweating blood and water - being very afraid of the uncertain outcome of something. In allusion to the agony of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane on the evening before his crucifixion ( Luke 22.44  EU ).
  • Shoot a buck - make a mistake, do something stupid. From the shooting language, where a miss is referred to as a "buck".
  • Make the buck to the gardener - choose the most unsuitable for a task. Billy goats are not exactly squeamish about eating the most beautiful plants.
  • To chase someone into the fenugreek - corner them, intimidate them, unsettle them or lure them on the wrong track . It has been traceable since the 16th century, but the origin is unclear.
  • These are Bohemian villages for me - something unknown or incomprehensible. When Bohemia still belonged to the Danube Monarchy , many children of the country did not understand the Czech spoken there or the Czech place names.
  • Stupid as bean straw - refers to cheap bean straw used to furnish bed places for poor people in the Middle Ages.
  • Receiving incendiary letters from all sides - being asked for urgent help from many quarters. Until the 19th century, fire letters were handed out by authorities to people who had lost their belongings in a fire, for example. They thus had the official permission to approach third parties for donations or building materials. In some areas, however, it is also synonymous with extortion letters, threatening material damage in the event of non-compliance. Mostly used today to emphasize the urgency of a request.
  • Smell the roast - be suspicious or attentive in good time. Goes back to a fable in which a farmer invites an animal to eat, but it turns around on the threshold because it smells the smell of a roasted conspecific from the kitchen
  • A Bratkartoffelverhältnis with someone who - together in sin. An expression supposedly created during the First World War, which was supposed to indicate a short-term love affair, in which the associated food played no insignificant role. Occasionally used nowadays to express an illegitimate cohabitation for a while.
  • Be wide - be drunk; Are under the influence of alcohol or drugs to such an extent that you stagger and bump into obstacles on the side.
  • Jump into the breach - intervene to help protect someone. When assaulting a besieged city, it was necessary to shoot holes - gaps - in the city walls in order to be able to penetrate. Such breaches could only be closed again with the greatest danger to one's own life.
  • Having a board in front of your head - not understanding something obvious or being dumbfounded. Comes from the Middle Ages, when people hung boards in front of the heads of the stupid ox so that they would not be frightened or distracted.
  • Drilling thick boards (having to) - make great efforts to achieve a goal. A thin board drill , on the other hand, describes someone who gives up quickly or who thinks superficially with shortness of breath.
  • Don't put the letter behind the mirror - write someone an unpleasant letter. Letters with pleasant content used to be kept half-covered behind the inclined mirror so that others could also take a look.
  • Put a letter and a seal on it - assure someone. Derived from the Latin word "breve" = "short". A letter in court was not an official document if it did not have a seal.
  • He now has to bake small (re) rolls - deteriorate or get in a worse position.
  • In the breaks go - come to an end break. Mostly used today in connection with marriage and friendship. “Break” here means “swamp” or “moor”, in which one could easily drown. If the game that was shot fled into the cracks, it was mostly lost for the hunter. Another interpretation: In the Middle Ages, a pair of pants was called a break or break (mhd.). So if something breaks , it goes in the pants . Possibly this saying originated from it is about the bruech , so the fight over who wears the pants (see story of Sire Hain and his wife Anieuse).
  • Building golden bridges for someone - offering someone the opportunity to escape unscathed from an awkward situation.
  • All bridges break behind him - permanently break all connections just by looking at the way back deliberately installed itself.
  • Talking like a book - talking non-stop, like reading from a book all the time.
  • As it is in the book - exemplary, exemplary. Refers to the Bible in which much wisdom is gathered.
  • Slide down my hump ! - expresses contempt and rejection; "Hump" stands for the back. The saying goes back to the hump of the knightly shield. Its hemispherical shape was transferred to the curvature of the spine and from there to the entire back. The meaning corresponds to the Swabian greeting "kiss my ass".
  • Knock someone on the bush - try to fathom something carefully. From the hunter's language, where the beaters scare away the game by hitting the bushes and try to drive the hunter to the gun.
  • Everything in butter - everything is fine. Probably due to the margarine, which is rated pejoratively in contrast to butter. Valuable goods, such as porcelain, used to be poured into boxes with liquid butter. After the butter had solidified, it was protected from breaking during transport. wikt: everything in butter
  • Don't let the butter be taken off your bread - be self-confident, don't be put off or let yourself be overreached ( under buttered ).
  • Butter with the fish - please speak plain text, get down to business, etc.
  • To put something on someone's bread and butter - to give a person (in public) their opinion. Probably synonymous with the regional Rhenish version: telling someone what the butter is for.
  • How buttered run - as lubricated run.


  • Take a trip to Canossa - apologize under humiliating conditions. In 1077 King Henry IV had to travel to Canossa , Italy , to ask Pope Gregory VII to lift the ban on the church .
  • The chemistry is right - the relationship is harmonious, two people go well together.
  • Don't have everyone on the Christmas tree - be out of your mind.
  • The chutzpah have - have the audacity to do something. From the Yiddish word chutzpah , which u. a. also means "cheek".


  • You can hold it like the one on the roof (also: “like a roofer”) - do what you want; I do not care. The explanation of the phrase is often added: “Go up on the right, fall down on the left; go up on the left, fall down on the right. "
  • Get on someone's roof - scold them or punish them. If someone was expelled from the community in the Middle Ages or should be exposed, their roof was covered.
  • Having a damaged roof - not being completely normal mentally.
  • Under roof bring and technical - finish the essentials. The roof and compartment were originally the essential parts of a (half-timbered) house.
  • Do something out of Daffke - do something out of defiance or willfulness . In this Berlin saying, the German word spite was replaced by the Yiddish davko "safe".
  • A long-running hit - a long-term success. The term is derived from stoves with long-burning heating material such as briquettes.
Thumb screw
  • Tighten or insert the thumbscrews on someone - give them a hard time. Up until modern times, it was customary to extort a confession by squeezing fingers during a highly embarrassing interrogation. Only the Enlightenment put an end to these interrogation methods in the western states.
  • Egg the dhows ! - Expression of amazement, anger or amazement. The Daus is the ace in the German card game , i.e. the highest playing card. The expression probably has nothing to do with it, but rather with the Low German “Dus” for a thousand. Daus could also come from the Middle Latin word “dusius” = demon and come close to an exclamation like Oh, my God .
  • Under a blanket stuck - work together in secret with someone. From the Germanic marriage law, according to which the marriage was considered closed if the newlyweds went under a blanket in the presence of witnesses.
  • A lesson to be missed - a lesson grant.
  • Going through thick and thin with someone - stick with them in good times and bad. However, the phrase is incompatible with:
  • When things get thick - when things get bad.
  • The air here is thick - the mood is bad or depressing. Also used as a synonym for smog (meaning stuffy and filled with particles). In terms of mood, thick is used in the sense of dense , because dense, compressed air can escape explosively. Thick air also means barrage in Landser jargon.
  • Be on the ball - be attentive, watchful. Recognize an advantage quickly. Derived from the telephone / telegraph language.
High-wire act - Adi Holzer : curriculum vitae (1997)
  • Carrying out a tightrope act - a dangerous or difficult undertaking in which the performer has to keep the balance between two opposites.
  • A mastermind - someone who controls everything in secret. The mastermind here is a person who - invisibly - moves a puppet on threads or wires.
  • Filthy stuff - guilt (loaded on yourself), not having a flawless past.
  • An old man is not an express train ! - I can't keep up, please a little slower! Express trains had a reputation for being particularly fast and punctual.
  • He is with the D-train smash through the nursery - he has no morals, no consideration, has enjoyed a bad education.
  • The drop has not yet been sucked - nothing has been decided yet, anything can still happen.
  • The thin board drill - someone who works with a minimum of effort and effort, also little content, but a lot of packaging


  • Put someone in the corner - embarrass them, punish them. Didactic means until the middle of the 20th century to embarrass students for insubordination or being late in front of the whole class by having to stand in the corner for some time with his back to the class.
  • Something from the inside out something can perfectly - mastered. There are two possible explanations: f stood in the Italian commercial language as an abbreviation for fino, ff for finissimo, ie "very fine". Others suspect ff as the incorrect spelling of the Greek letter "Π" (Pi), which was used when quoting ancient Roman legal principles.
  • A horned husband - a betrayed husband, that is, his wife is cheating.
  • The egg of Columbus - simple solution to a vexing problem appearing. After no one was able to put an egg on its tip, Columbus did so by knocking it lightly.
Père Joseph, the Gray Eminence
Carrying owls to Athens : owl on an ancient drachm
  • Put all your eggs in one basket - don't spread the risk. How: Put everything on one card. From the American proverb.
  • Have eggs (in your pants) - be brave. From the vulgar name for testicles .
  • The one do and the other can not be - you should do both, because both are equally important ( Luke 11,42  NIV ).
  • It's in the bucket - it's broken, gone wrong, messed up. It ended up in the trash can (also in a figurative sense).
  • Act like an elephant in a china shop - be inconsiderate, imprudent or tactless.
  • A gray eminence - person who pulls the strings in the background.
  • To the bitter end - a thing with the risk of failure, to get through.
  • The end of the flagpole has not yet been reached - we have not yet reached our destination (often with the implicit warning that this will still take a lot of effort). Derived from the flag ceremony
  • End (in) terrain - something is over or no longer possible.
  • To be a duck stick - be very stingy. The duck clap is ready to squeeze the rump of ducks so that the egg is laid faster.
  • Build a donkey bridge - complex processes or topics are more easily memorized through mental detours.
  • Etepetete - squeamish, graceful, deliberate.
  • To be full like an owl - to be dead drunk. Owl is here the corruption of Aule = Steinkrug.
  • Carrying owls to Athens - doing something nonsensical, unnecessary.
  • Commit an Eulenspiegel egg - do a prank like Till Eulenspiegel


  • Losing the thread - (in speech) not knowing what to do next. This saying probably has its origins in Greek mythology. With the help of the thread that Ariadne gave him , Theseus found his way out of the labyrinth of Daidalos, in which he had just hunted down the Minotaur. If Theseus had lost the thread, he would not have known what to do next. More likely, however, is the origin of the weaver's language, where a lost thread meant a loss of time until the thread could be taken up again.
  • It runs like a red thread through it - the whole thing is interrelated, interwoven. From the Elective Affinities (Part 2, Chapter 2) by Goethe , who himself explains that in the British Navy there is a thread spun into all ropes that cannot be detached without destroying the whole. The thread marks the ropes as the property of the crown. wikt: common thread
  • It hangs by a thin thread - the situation is threatening or cannot be assessed. There are several versions, such as those of the Greek goddesses of fate or the Germanic Norns , who can cut the thread of life at any time. The derivation from the sword of Damocles , which according to legend was attached to a horsehair , is less likely .
  • Shoot a ticket - miss the target. From the shooter language, where bullets outside the designated area (the target, but no target ring hit) are so called, based on the ticket that was punched / snapped by the conductor during the inspection. Another explanation is the hit display on the shooting range, which was similar to a military ticket.
  • His troop after the winds turn - behave opportunistically. From the windmill language, where the wind turbine was always placed in the wind in order to achieve the greatest possible effect.
  • Show your colors - speak your mind honestly. In many card games , the color of the card on display has to be replayed (“color compulsion”).
  • That beats the drum to the floor - a final additional circumstance brings one thing to escalation. Occasionally, jokingly, corrupted: that hits the barrel the crown in the face.
  • That fits like a fist in the eye - (originally :) two things absolutely do not go together. Today mostly with the opposite meaning that two things go perfectly together.
  • Decorate yourself with someone else's feathers - pass someone else's success as your own. Particularly brave Indians were allowed to wear a spring hood made especially for them .
  • Throwing the gauntlet on someone - starting an argument with them, challenging them. Contrary to popular belief, the term does not come from the Middle Ages. At that time the custom of throwing down and picking up a chain glove to announce and accept a feud is known in circles of knighthood, but far more was necessary for the legality of such a feud. The expression as a combination of the words “feud” and “glove” did not come into being until the 18th century, when it was customary to hit an opponent in the face with a glove made of cloth in order to challenge him to a duel of honor.
Fig leaf :
Adam and Eve with fig leaf
(Albrecht Dürer 1507)
  • A fig leaf - a disguise of the facts. According to the Bible ( 1 Mos 3.7  EU ), Adam and Eve's first makeshift clothing after their expulsion from Paradise consisted of a fig leaf.
  • Pulling the fur over someone's ears - cheating or taking advantage of them. An image transferred from animals to humans: I take someone, actually a fur animal , their (expensive) fur in the trade and he / it dies in the process. Leaving it round “over the ears”, starting from the back to the head, valuable skins are removed so as not to damage them when they are removed.
  • His skins are swimming away - he can no longer master the matter. Borrowed from the furrier who rinsed his trimmed (tanned) skins in flowing waters.
  • A rock in the surf - he stands like a rock d. H. someone who stands steadfast, undeterred. wikt: rock
  • Be away from the window - have nothing more to say, miss something or be dead. Probably from the mining industry: buddies who worked underground enjoyed the last rays of sunshine at the window at the end of the day . If someone could no longer be seen at the window, he was sick or dead. Other sources see the origin of the phrase as being in the windows in which the powerful showed themselves to the people. To be “away from the window” means to no longer be in the limelight .
  • Give heel - get away, flee. As early as 1250 attested expression from the legal language, where one had to pay "heel money" for leaving the spouse of the authorities. Even deserters could receive absolution in this way.
  • His fat get away - get his complaint or punishment. In popular parlance, you got “a slap”, that is, a slap in the face. Originally, however, each helper received a piece of fat as a reward (s) at a slaughter.
  • The blunders occur - embarrass themselves, do accidentally something embarrassing. In farmhouse parlors, there used to be a grease bowl between the door and the oven, which was used to grease wet boots. One shouldn't accidentally step inside. wikt: step into the faux pas
  • How fire and water are - do not go together at all, do not harmonize.
  • The baptism of fire received - the first time pulling into battle. Due to the lack of experience, it was often the last stand. In all likelihood, refers to the baptism with the fire of the Holy Spirit from the Pentecost story.
  • Then the film tore - from that point on I can't remember anything. (Usually happens under the influence of alcohol - or other drugs.) If the film broke in the cinema, nothing happened for a while.
  • To be in the wrong movie - to be in a completely unexpected, crazy, or bad situation.
  • Neither fish nor meat - nothing half and nothing whole. Originated during the Reformation , when one wanted to expose fickle-minded people who didn't really know whether they wanted to remain Catholic or become Protestant.
  • The fish (always) stinks from the head - the responsibility for the problems (always) lies with the decision-makers.
  • Make fisimatents - make excuses or vain objections. There are several possible origins for this: The frequently mentioned derivation of “Visitez ma tente”, which French soldiers used to encourage local women to come to their tents, is unproven, as is the alleged excuse “J'ai visité ma tante” (Eng .: I visited my aunt). The origin of “visae patentes”, i. i. Examined patents, as there was a long time between application and confirmation of the patents. wikt: Fisimatenten
  • One bottle - one failure, total and obvious failure. Adopted from the Italian word fiasco = bottle. Singers and actors had a bottle hung around their necks in mockery after unsuccessful performances.
  • Fix be completely exhausted - and be ready.
  • Sailing under a false flag - faking a false identity.
  • Flausen / fluff in their heads - have unrealistic plans. Lousies are actually flakes of wool or fibers from the cotton plant flying around. Unreal plans, mostly by young people, are rated accordingly high.
  • The fly do - go away. Flies often change their place in order not to be killed.
  • Killing two birds with one stone - solving two problems at once.
  • The honeymoon spending - the (also transfer) the first week after a wedding be together. "Vlittern" in Middle High German meant giggling, whispering, caressing.
  • The shotgun Say Die - give up, resign. When soldiers get rid of their rifles, they no longer feel like fighting; see also: shotgun # idioms and musket # idioms .
  • The fleas hear cough - have forebodings that are mostly incomprehensible; but also: feel very smart.
  • To put a flea in someone's ear - to make them uneasy for a long time with a message or an idea
  • Talking Fraktur - speaking unequivocally, expressing an uncomfortable opinion unadorned. Fraktur is an angular font that is difficult to read for some.
  • Cheating - having extra -marital intercourse , sexually cheating on the partner.
  • Having a frog in your throat - being able to speak only with discomfort. The apparently nonsensical expression comes from the medical term ranula , the frog tumor in the human throat, which, when swelling, resembles a frog.
  • The Führer dreams of! - something beyond the imagination. Allusion to Hitler's projects in the Third Reich that could hardly be implemented or only with enormous effort .
  • Let five (or: five ) be straight - let a problem rest, don't let yourself be disturbed by a lack.
  • One can say that with justification - one can say that with every right. A twin formula that was already known in the Middle Ages and reinforced the word law . Fugue , which apart from its opposite “nonsense” only occurs in this phrase, means something like propriety or appropriateness (cf. docility ).
  • Getting up on the wrong foot - being in a bad mood or not concentrating.
  • To catch someone on the wrong foot - contact / meet them at a very inconvenient or very uncomfortable time.
  • With someone on a good foot stand - with him on good terms be
  • On large feet live - by his standards a lot of effort to operate / living beyond its means. A phrase passed down from France, according to which the oversized shoe size meant a particularly high reputation.
  • Get cold feet - wait a long time, hesitate, get scared, give up on a project, regionally also: die. If you wait longer or in vain, you often get cold feet.
  • To follow in someone's footsteps - to follow him (in office, at work, in a function or role).
  • It is five to twelve - it is high time; there is little time to fix something.


  • He's bile overflowing - he's angry, angry. When excited, the liver increases its bile production.
  • The same with for like repay - punish someone with an equally sized punishment.
  • A gear shift down - calm down.
  • In inverted commas put - in quotation marks. Wording popular by Jean Paul .
  • You don't look in the mouth of a given horse - you shouldn't criticize gifts. The background is that you can read off the age of a horse from the condition of the teeth, i.e. you can see that you have received an old horse as a gift. Also joking: you don't look a gift perch in the gills.
  • For better or for worse - at any cost. Coming from the Low German legal language of the Middle Ages.
  • Do something, not (so terrible) fuss - do not make a big fuss / a fuss about one thing. Gedöns is of Low German origin, 'gedense' means 'to pull back and forth'.
  • The thread of patience breaks someone - he loses patience.
  • " You go over there , if you doing here does not fit" - stereotypical West German response to critical questions to the conditions in their own country at the time of the German division. The East German go over colloquially referred to the departure to the west, regardless of whether officially or through an escape.
  • Playing first fiddle - the guiding force / the center of a circle / setting the tone. From the music scene, where the first violinist sets the pace.
  • That gets on my mind - it bothers me, it annoys me, I am allergic to it.
  • Going to court with someone - seeking a detailed (non-violent) argument with someone, similar to a detailed process in the courtroom.
  • Stand by your rifle - be ready to take action at any time. From the command language in the military
  • You have to touch it with ice cream gloves - treat it very carefully and tactfully, but also: touch it with pointed fingers. While the former means the necessary tact when dealing with hypersensitive people, with the latter one does not want to get your own fingers dirty.
  • Look too deep into the glass - drink too much. With glass, the drinking vessel is meant.
  • Something about the large bell hanging - trumpeting something (which is often because private matter, does not belong to the public), / make a great theater a scandal of it.
  • That gave him the coup de grace - he completely lost his composure. Executions were once deliberately brutally painful (crucifixion, wheels). With a targeted thrust in the heart, the suffering could be put to an early end. Also, after battles, enemy soldiers and their own soldiers who were caught in wound fever were specifically killed in order to shorten their suffering.
  • Put something on the gold scales - take something (especially words) very precisely or overly precisely, take something too seriously. The gold scales were one of the most accurate measuring devices that hit even the smallest amounts.
  • Dear God can be a good man - little worry about something or thing blithely take its course where intervention would be required.
  • Biting someone / something on granite - encountering vehement resistance with a suggestion / request. Granite is one of the hardest types of rock.
  • The grass bite - die. From the language of the soldiers. Seriously wounded people literally bit the grass in pain.
  • The grass listening to grow - forebodings have, can not understand the other.
  • The straddle make - break (such as chair legs that bend outward and then offer no support).
  • The crucial question put - the question of the decisive set. Originally in Goethe's Faust Gretchen's question to Heinrich: "How about religion?"
  • The penny has fallen - he / she has finally understood. At the vending machine, the coin had to have fallen into the slot before he started to work.
  • The two are not green - they don't like each other, they have something against each other.
  • Again the same thing in green - the same again or almost the same. Opel produced after the First World War in 1924 as the first German automotive group the Opel tree frog in the expected green. It was actually a plagiarism of the Citroën 5 CV from 1921, which was originally painted in yellow .
  • Have grits or brains in your head - have brains. The origin is the word kritz ,used in the 16th century, which meant understanding.
  • That goes below the belt , that is below the belt - that is unfair or immoral. In church Latin, sub cingulo meant the genitals, the naming of which was rather taboo. In boxing, punches below the navel are considered grossly unsportsmanlike.
  • Where the fox and the rabbit say good night , it is mostly very lonely and barren, figuratively speaking, there are at most foxes and rabbits around.


  • The hair in the soup Search / find - look for something Miss Mature or notice; seeing only the bad or negative; have something to complain about; have a pessimistic attitude.
  • Having hair on your teeth - being dominant and domineering. Used both negatively and rather appreciatively. wikt: Have hair on your teeth
  • Short hair is soon combed - a simple matter is quickly dealt with.
  • Something is on the hair contrived - it is illogical, inappropriate, absurd. It is emphasized that logic is done to violence with ultimately untenable arguments.
  • The oats probably sting you - you're cocky. Depending on the tone of voice, subtle to threatening rebuke to withdraw. Horses should change their temperament and become cocky when they enjoy plenty of oats.
  • No cock crows there - nobody cares.
  • He's the rooster in the basket - being the only man in a group of women. In a group of chickens there is always only one rooster, otherwise several roosters would compete for the reproductive partner.
The red rooster as a symbol of fire (in front of the fire station of the Aumühle fire department )
  • They had the red rooster on the roof - their house was on fire. The blazing flames are reminiscent of the red crest of a rooster . This phrase is also found in the song about Florian Geyer , We are the Geyer black pile : "Set on the monastery roof the red rooster" means there as elsewhere (such as in Bundesständischen War to 1553) "Burn down the monastery!"
  • There is a catch - something creates an awkward circumstance.
  • Now halfway ! - don't be so hasty, don't be so stormy, think about it.
  • The neck is not fully get - be insatiable, always want more.
  • Broken neck and leg ! - Hopefully nothing will happen to you (you)! From Yiddish hatslokhe un brokhe , which means "happiness and blessings".
  • Something neck do over heels - quickly do something without thinking, rushed.
  • Something in the wrong neck get - misunderstand something mistakenly interpreted negatively. Anyone who accidentally gets something into the windpipe (the "wrong throat") instead of the esophagus while ingesting food is at risk of choking.
  • Pulling someone's mutton legs - attacking them sharply or bullying them. (From the language of the soldiers since the First World War ).
  • One hand washes the other - reasonable consideration is expected. A phrase adopted from the Roman “manus manum lavat”.
  • Washing your hands in innocence - declaring yourself innocent. From the Bible ( Mt 27,24  EU ), where Pilate had Jesus crucified against his inner conviction, and in a psalm of David ( Ps 26,6  EU ).
  • To put your hand in the fire for someone - to vouch for someone with confidence; probably based on the acid test , in which one's own innocence should be proven. According to the legend, Gaius Mucius Scaevola saved Rome by burning his hand over an open fire and impressing the enemy with his courage.
  • Always a hand's breadth of water under the keel - in seafaring the desire not to run aground.
  • It has neither hand nor foot - it is unsuitable, half-baked. On the other hand, the version “That has a lot to offer” expresses that something seems well thought out and plausible.
  • The towel toss - up. From the boxing borrowed.
  • In the blink of an eye - complete the task in the shortest possible time (alluding to the hand movements of magicians )
  • Bungling into the handicraft - performing an activity without authorization or skill (In the Middle Ages, a “bungling” was someone who did work in secret that was reserved for a craftsman recognized by the guild.)
  • Someone's craft place - the pursuit of activities prevent / prohibit it. Only members of the guild were allowed to do certain jobs, but they too could be forbidden from doing any further work in the event of misconduct.
  • To do something with hanging and choking (the exam, the exam) - to achieve something with great difficulty. (Presumably from the hanging execution, which was previously carried out without a pitfall and therefore rarely led to the victim's immediate death.)
  • He is a jack of all trades - he is very active in a wide variety of areas (meaning rather negative).
  • Show someone what a rake is - show someone your own superiority or bring them back down to earth (refers to a popular parable in which a farmer's son who has learned some Latin then pretends to use the name for a rake in the But when he steps on a rake and hurts himself, he immediately screams: “Cursed rake!” Nikolai Gogol's preface to his collection of stories evenings on the farm near Dikanjka .)
  • Put someone in armor - make them angry. Whoever puts on the armor is ready to fight.
  • There the rabbit is in the pepper - that's exactly the problem ( rabbit pepper is a dish. A cooked rabbit can no longer be helped.) Wikt: there the rabbit is in the pepper
  • My name is rabbit , I don't know anything! - Goes back to the lawyer Victor von Hase , who, once accused himself, initiated his own interrogation with the sentence "My name is Hase, I answer the general questions in the negative, I don't know anything." In the German dubbed version of the cartoon series Bugs Bunny quotes the Title character, however, often a twisted version of this saying: "My name is Rabbit - I know!"
  • Know how the rabbit runs - be familiar with as good a situation or the circumstances that actually unforeseen developments and tricks not blind us to the essentials.
  • Get under the hood - get married (The hallmark of married women used to be a hood.)
  • Gambling away your house and yard - losing all of your property in a game of chance. In a game of chance, the only thing you can do as a last resort, if you already run out of cash or other valuables, is to place your stake in your house. Then if you lose, you have lost all of your possessions.
  • Lie on the lazy skin - relax, relax, laze around, let work rest.
  • The pike be in carp - playing an invigorating or distracting role in a little active community. As a predatory fish, the pike ensures that the carp do not get too fat. wikt: the pike in the carp pond
A boy lights up a group of costumed people. Probable origin of the phrase. Engraving ( monthly picture ) by Matthäus Merian
  • It pulls like pike soup - a cold wind is blowing through the room. Origin not clear. Some experts suspect a corruption of Yiddish "hech supha" = strong storm
    → See also: List of German words from Hebrew; Words from Yiddish , term "pike soup"
  • The booklet in hand have or keep or relinquish - have power or lose. (The handle here means the handle of the sword.)
  • Illuminate someone at home - reject them or their ideas. (In the past, the good guests were provided with a servant with a lantern on their way home at night. The previously positive attention later turned into mockery.)
  • No Heller be worth - be of very low value. The " Light ", originally in Schwäbisch Hall beaten copper coin was only a fraction of a Batzens or guilder worth.
  • The shirt is closer to me than the skirt - although your arguments are recognized, my personal advantage is more important to me in this case.
  • The last shirt has no pockets - you can't take anything with you to the grave.
  • To give your last shirt for someone - to sacrifice yourself for someone.
  • Put yourself in your shirt - to be afraid of avoiding a decision for fear. Fear occasionally leads to sphincter failure in children.
  • It looks like at Hempels under the sofa / caravan - there is absolute disorder / uncleanliness. Origin uncertain. One version says: A showman by the name of Hempel is said to have not been particularly strict about cleanliness around 1900 and was therefore expelled from the place.
  • The executioner's meal - jokingly for the farewell dinner. In the past, those condemned to death could ask for a meal to be served to them personally by the executioner before their execution. This is still practiced today (e.g. in the USA ), but not by the executioner, but in prison , on death row .
  • To the executioner : Part of numerous idioms or curses, for example: "Who the hell has come up with that again?" - "Executioner" is a substitute word for "devil" in such idioms, because "devil" was not or was not allowed to be used .
  • Drive in someone's hens (Swabian) - give them your opinion loudly. Driving poultry into the barn usually does not go off silently.
  • His heart slipped into his pants - he got really scared (and let go of his plan).
  • From his heart make no bones about it - find frank words, do not keep his opinions to himself behind the mountain. From the Bible ( Mt 21,13  EU ).
  • His heart is broken - joyless, he wanders through life without interest, nothing can cheer or stimulate him anymore. He goes to displeasure. The energy and the hopes are gone.
  • Blind Hesse - swear word for a short-sighted or mentally handicapped person. There are several versions circulating about its creation, each of which dates back to the 13th century. See the legend of Blind Hessen .
  • Howling and chattering teeth - description of misfortune, from the Bible ( Mt 8,12  EU ).
  • This is not rocket science . - It's not particularly complicated, but actually quite simple.
  • Float in seventh heaven - be overjoyed. In Seventh Heaven met after the Islamic legend Muhammad to Abraham / Ibrahim, who is highly revered in Islam.
  • exulting heavenly - sad to death. There are strong mood swings between pure euphoria and depression. After the drama "Egmont" III, 2 by Johann Wolfgang v. Goethe.
  • Falling behind - losing influence in a dispute among fellow campaigners. From the soldier's language, where in the old tactics the front meeting came first when fighting the enemy.
  • You can blow my planer ! - less vulgar language for the Götz quote .
  • Dancing at two weddings - wanting to do two mutually exclusive things at the same time.
  • A woman's yard make - they are courting. Adopted from the French "faire la cour" from the times of the minstrels .
  • Hell is more likely to freeze over ! - something is considered extremely unlikely
  • Holland in need - something is in great danger, someone is in great distress and sees no way of solving the problem. The saying may have its origin in the permanent danger that the Netherlands was in because of dyke breaches.
Ball notch with movable "wooden eye"
  • Knock on wood - should be a lucky charm. In both mining and shipping, “knocking on wood” was supposed to bring good luck, because you could use it to check whether the wood of the tunnel or the ship was still in order or already rotten.
  • Wooden eyes be vigilant! - watch out! City walls had battlements. Several circular holes in the wall, clothed with wood, wooden eye , called the allowable duty soldiers a searching look outside to be spotted without even from there.
  • She has a lot of wood in front of the hut - she has big breasts. South German, especially in areas where traditional costume is / was common. Alludes to the well-known firewood storage facilities in the Alpine region that are piled up to dry in front of the house.
  • Get from stick to stick - get lost more and more in the trivialities.
  • On the wrong track be - be wrong, be wrong. Chopped down logs cut deep furrows in the forest floor. These wooden paths , which suddenly end in the forest, lead hikers astray. wikt: be on the wrong track
  • With him, hops and malt are lost - nothing will come of him (anymore). From the brewer's language, where these two ingredients were considered the most important in beer production. If the brewing result was modest, then hops and malt were lost.
City fountains by Hugo Knittel in Hornberg , Landsknecht and Narr point to the Hornberg shooting .
  • It ends like the Hornberger Schießen - a big announced company comes to an end without a sound. After an episode in which the citizens of Hornberg were expecting high-profile visitors, but had already shot all the powder when they arrived.
  • To put horns on the husband - make an affair, that is, cheat on the husband. A phrase that the Greeks already knew in principle. If he doesn't notice the deception, he's stupid as a horned ox.
  • She has her pants on - she is in charge of the marriage or the family, her husband has nothing to say. (see also He stands under the slipper )
  • That goes (mostly) in the pants - it (usually) goes wrong and does not lead to the intended goal.
  • She pulls on her trousers with a pair of pliers - she is dominant, does not avoid an argument, is a man-woman. Partly appreciative, but the tenor is quite negative and proven as a warning.
  • Just don't play ! (Swabian: No net hudle!) - do not act hastily (rather thoroughly)! A popular expression in the southern German-speaking area. In Upper German, “Hudel” was used to refer to a (damp) mopping cloth with which the heated oven was cleaned of ashes before the loaves of bread were inserted. It had to be done very quickly so as not to lose any heat.
  • Today , tomorrow Hott (say) - you often have a fluctuating opinion / received contradicting instructions. From the carter's language , wo hu (st)! for left and hott! can be used for clockwise.
  • I still have a chicken to pick with him - I still have an argument with him or I'll give him my opinion. In the Middle Ages, the person to be blamed was "plucked" directly.
  • The chicken saddle - set off. Funny modification of "saddle the horses".
  • You have to finally get going - you have to start seriously, otherwise .... Energetic call to finally get active. The hooves are symbolic of the horse's nimble legs. Comparable to getting into the slippers .
  • He's got bumblebees up his butt - can't sit still, keep moving. Already used by Martin Luther .
  • The dog in the pan is going crazy! - Exclamation of great astonishment that something is unbelievable. Derived from Till Eulenspiegel's prank, after which he threw a brewmaster's dog "Hopf" into the brewing pan.
  • Come on the dog - fail, impoverish. There have been many attempts to explain this, all of which could be true. See interpretation .
  • The dog lies there or is buried here - that is the cause or that is the important thing. “Dogs” meant prey or treasure in Middle High German. The association with the house dog is out of place. wikt: the dog is buried there
  • That's a big dog - a cheek, a bad rule violation, a tough piece.
  • Chased with all dogs - synonymous: washed with all waters, so clever or clever. Wild, with the appropriate experience, can escape many other dangers with the acquired ruse.
  • You don't lure a dog out of the stove or from behind the stove with it - that's no good, nothing can be won with it. Self-explanatory.
  • No dog takes a piece of bread from him - he is avoided and despised by everyone. Self-explanatory.
  • They are like cats and dogs - they don't get along, they argue all the time. Cats and dogs mostly misinterpret each other's (body) language.
  • Go to the dogs - degenerate, depraved. Sick or weak animals quickly become prey for hunting dogs.
  • He would like to pee with the big dogs (mostly added: but can't get his leg up) - want to mix with higher-ups without having the necessary prerequisites. Male dogs demonstratively raise one leg to pee.
  • Gnaw on the hunger cloth - starve, starve, live poorly. Corruption of the religious custom of sewing an altar cloth for the church during Lent .
  • Suck on the hungry paws - starve, starve, run out of it. Stems from the old and false belief that hibernating bears suckle their paws to keep themselves alive.
  • Putting something on your hat - a clear rejection of a wish. Coming unsure, it is assumed that the retired soldiers have the custom of decorating their reservist hats with all kinds of ornaments / paper flowers
  • The hat ish - something conduct / to be responsible for something.
  • His hat into the ring toss - his candidacy for a (controversial) Item announce
  • That goes over the hat string - that goes too far. According to a document from Eger from 1356 , the jet from a tap should not be thicker than a hat string in order to prevent water from being wasted.


  • Belong to the Ibo tribe - to those who always say “I and the others”. This phrase is derived from the English phrase I b efore o thers ("I in front of the others") and denotes pronounced egoists.
  • My second self - a close friend who knows me well. This phrase derives in its Latin form alter ego from the ancient philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras of Samos .
  • Someone red-handed catch - caught in the act. Abbreviated from the Latin "in flagranti crimine", literally "in flaming crime".
  • Someone embarrasses the guild - he embarrasses his colleagues by bad work or bad behavior. The guild is an association of craftsmen.
  • Something inside them have - have something in the stomach or in the brain, get it or have memorized. The Latin word intus means 'inside'. Adapted from the student language. To have an intus , often: to have an intus too much, on the other hand, means 'being drunk'.
  • In the truest sense of the word - stands for the literal meaning and not the metaphorical meaning (e.g. if a barbecue evening was canceled due to rain, the barbecue evening literally fell into the water)


  • It's jacket like pants - it doesn't matter, makes no difference, doesn't matter. Probably based on the fabric used for both the jacket and the pants.
  • That's hunter's Latin (also: angler's Latin) - it's made up or exaggerated. Some hunters boasted of things that were untrue or grossly exaggerated.
  • This is the real Jacob - this is the right man or the right agent. The dispute about where the apostle James is really buried has long divided Christianity.
  • Go across the Jordan - die. Biblical: The people of Israel move into the promised land after the desert route over the river Jordan ( Jos 3,14 ff.  EU ), Christian interpreted as entry into the kingdom of heaven (similar to the river Styx in antiquity).
  • It only happens every year of jubilee - quite a rare occurrence. From the Hebrew word jobel = ram's horn. In Israel, land was redistributed among the settlers only about every 50 years. In addition, according to the Bible, all debtors were forgiven their debts in the Jubilee year. These "Jubilee Years" were heralded by the blowing of this instrument.
  • I came to it like a virgin to a child - I came into this matter without any involvement / clueless. Where education is still a taboo , some Virgos recognize the connection between sexual intercourse and pregnancy too late.


Representation of parables A camel is more likely to go through the eye of the needle. Bonifatiuskirche, Dortmund
  • Kabolz (= Goblin) shoot - somersault
  • Perform cadaver obedience - perform unrestricted obedience, "like a cadaver " that can be moved without resistance by someone else's will without its own will. Disparaging critical term, as a word and with this negative meaning, originated in the German anti- Jesuit literature of the 19th century, there with recourse to a formulation in the Latin statutes of Ignatius of Loyola ( si cadaver essent , in the original Spanish version cuerpo muerto ), who for his part took up a comparison in the tradition of Francis of Assisi and demanded this kind of obedience from the order members.
  • Open the coffee - have no more patience with something, have enough of one thing (Westphalia, rather unknown in other German-speaking countries)
  • This is cold coffee - superfluous dispute that does not produce any result. Stale coffee no longer has an aroma.
  • And I am the emperor of China . - Counterattack to a statement that was considered unreliable.
  • Dragging someone through the cocoa - making fun of someone (usually in their absence). ( Cocoa is probably a euphemistic description of poop. Example: Erich Kästner , What also happens! )
  • A camel is more likely to go through the eye of the needle - an impossible undertaking. According to a parable in the Bible (including Mk 10.25  EU ), according to which a camel is more likely to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man enters the kingdom of God. For the various declarations of origin, cf. the main article Rather a camel goes through the eye of a needle .
  • Where would we go if ... - Rejection of unusual or new ideas and methods - Refers to them, etc. a. Kurt Marti's poem Where would we go .
  • About a comb scissors - After a uniform procedure to proceed without taking differences into account. It is believed that it is derived from Germanic law, where shaving the hair on the head meant dishonor. In Bavarian the term "Gscherten" is still used disparagingly.
  • To hold someone by the curb - to force them to obey (want to). The curb is part of the bridle on horses. With their help, an animal can be brought to discipline in a painful way.
  • Under all cannon - miserable result. Has nothing to do with the cannon commonly used in the military. The grading scale (today from 1 to 6) in Latin schools was "Canon". Totally spanked works were simply rated "sub omni canone" (= below the standard), deliberately spoiled by the students.
  • Shooting at sparrows with cannons - completely overreacting, not maintaining proportionality.
  • Put something on the high edge - save something, put it aside for bad times. High edge denotes a place in the canopy of a bed where wealthy people used to hide their savings. Often there was a special secret compartment in a beam of the canopy for this purpose.
  • Show a sharp (also: clear) edge - take a clear, straightforward opinion, do not shy away from expected disputes about it. Possibly a phrase based on the focus setting when taking photos, which is often used by politicians who want to distinguish themselves against their opponents.
  • He is an insecure cantonist - he cannot be relied on, he cannot be trusted. Prussia was divided into cantons with regard to the recruitment of soldiers. Those who wanted to evade arms service did so best through emigration.
  • Standing next to the cap (s) - being absent-minded, confused or helpless. Colloquially from Hessen.
  • I take my cap - I take responsibility for it, stand for it straight.
  • A Käpsele be - be smart, to be tricky (sometimes within the meaning of sly). A phrase that is mainly used in Swabia and comes from the Latin caput (head).
  • The rabbit has started - being the scapegoat. According to a verse Berlin anecdote according to which a cobbler boy offered to give a testimony acceptable to the party against payment in court.
  • See someone else's cards - try to use unfair means to fathom the other's secret intentions. From the card game, where knowledge of the opponent's cards brings great advantages, but can only be obtained through ingenuity or illegally.
  • Play with open cards - don't hide anything. With a zero envelope , one player places the cards face up on the table, which can make the tactics of both opponents much easier.
  • The cards are being reshuffled (now) - a new game begins, there is now equal opportunities again, with the prospect of making up for previous losses.
  • Playing with marked cards - cheating, playing the wrong game. Tines are the inconspicuous marking of cards, the back of which is otherwise absolutely uniform. With the help of the smallest notches, the fraudster can then recognize which card is hidden behind it.
  • Put everything on one card - run the risk of losing everything (“hopp or top”).
  • Like a house of cards collapse - a building of lies or an illusion is exposed in one fell swoop. A little carelessness or a gust of wind can bring a laboriously built house of cards to collapse in seconds.
  • Rin in the potatoes , out of the potatoes - annoyance at constantly changing, contradicting instructions, comparable to "sometimes hü, sometimes hott". Allegedly from the military language, where "Acker" was the training area through which the recruit was chased.
  • Off to Kassel ! - get out of here or don't care! The Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel rented country children to the British Crown who were used as mercenaries in the American War of Independence. The collecting station was Kassel. According to another version or perhaps a deliberately created additional interpretation, the saying refers to the French Emperor Napoléon III. who was arrested in Kassel for some time after being captured by Sédan in 1870.
  • The chestnut (or potatoes pick) out of the fire - Take another unpleasant things. Based on a fable by Jean de La Fontaine in which a monkey asked a tomcat to get the roasted chestnuts out of the fire for him.
  • Sitting at the cat table - standing apart, not being involved (cat tables are assigned to those who are not considered equal. The cat table was a separate table for the children or late guests.)
  • The cat the collar cape - the only one a dangerous task is performed, since no one is willing is to reassign a bell the cat. The origin is an old fable , according to which the mice, on the advice of a rat, decided within a meeting to put a bell around the cat so that they would be warned of it in good time. But it is significant that not a single mouse was found for this dangerous task.
  • The cat out of the bag can be - reveal that (often bad) intentions had been, before we aired the secret (Who lets the cat out of the bag, can convince anyone anymore that a rabbit in the bag is.)
  • Then the cat bites its tail - things go round in circles and start all over again. Young cats like to bite their tails and then spin around in circles
  • The cat in the bag for sale - carelessly or unaudited take a risk. This saying goes back to a fable in which a pig in a poke was sold to the devil as a three-legged rabbit on New Year's Eve.
  • A cat has seven / nine lives - the cat is long-lived and tough.
  • The cat does not let mousing - there is a certain characteristic in his blood, he cannot let it go.
  • Be for the cat - be in vain. (based on a fable by Burkard Waldis )
  • Having a hangover - feeling miserable, usually after a bad night of drinking followed by a "hangover". The hangover breakfast that often follows should make the headache go away.
  • Playing cat and mouse with someone - showing them their powerlessness by creating new situations.
  • To be like a dog and a cat - not getting along.
  • Having a hangover - feeling unwell when sobering up after drinking alcohol.
  • Talking gibberish - uttering something incomprehensible. Luther is said to have used this expression and could have meant 'Chur-welsch' by it, for example the Romansh spoken around Chur , which he does not understand .
  • Something in purchase take - accept unpleasant because at the same time benefits arise, or because you do not want to reveal his principles.
    Throw out the baby with the bathwater
  • Go for the biscuit - be a nuisance.
  • In the same notch cut - someone at a project support. When the chainsaw was still unknown, lumberjacks achieved optimal results when ax cut after ax cut landed in the same notch.
  • Something on the tally sticks have - some have committed a crime or been up to. In times of illiteracy, debts were often documented by notches in a wooden stick (like the drinks on the beer mat in restaurants today). Mostly the language is used for offenders.
  • Getting something on the chain - creating / doing something. : Even as the negation is not something on the chain get - do not manage to get anything done properly. Borrowed from the Krieewelsch technical language of the weavers and silk weavers.
  • The child with the bathwater - do something in haste, without the possible negative consequences or benefits enough to consider.
  • Now the child has fallen into the well - now the feared thing has happened or it is too late to prevent it.
  • He was bathed too hot as a child - he is not normal, his roof is damaged.
  • We'll rock the child - we'll solve the difficult problem.
  • With kids - with great company. The illegitimate children were called "cones".
  • A child's head be - have childish ideas or preferences.
  • For someone who plays child maid - have to relieve him of all small or dirty work. The nursemaid had to supervise the children and clean up everything that was left behind while they were playing.
  • To a Kipparsch work / run / search - lengthy, often useless or inconclusive activity of getting a sore butt obtained from the one
  • Go around the village / cross with the church / carry the church around the cross - be awkward, make an unnecessary detour. “The church” used to refer to the parish or procession that walked an unnecessary or even a long way. The length of the processional path mostly depended on the importance of the event, stayed within the village, but sometimes led out into the fields, cf. Procession .
  • (One should / shall we) leave the church in the village! - do not do (demand) anything in excess of a fee.
  • Come to the parish fair ! - Subtle paraphrase of the famous Götz quote . In order to avoid an unwanted visit on this feast day, in the thrifty Upper Swabia was often added "but bring your own food".
  • It is not good to eat cherries with him - warning of an incompatible person. As early as 1350, the Dominican Father Ulrich Boner from Bern wrote : "If you eat cherries with gentlemen, they throw the stems in your eyes afterwards".
  • Shut door ! - be quiet! The origin is disputed.
  • To be powdered with the clip bag - to be crazy. What is meant here is the bag in the flour bin of a mill , which is shaken by a clamp-like device to separate the bran from the flour. If the flour box is opened while grinding, the flour will dust the miller. This is not only uncomfortable, but also increases the risk of a dust explosion . This expression became known nationwide through Björn Engholm , Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein.
  • Praise someone over the green clover - praise him beyond measure. While today's gardeners try to avoid the clover in the bed, in the Middle Ages the minstrels regarded the clover flower as an extremely noble flower and was accordingly praised by Wolfram von Eschenbach or Walther von der Vogelweide . wikt: praise the green clover . Originally it only meant, in the actual sense of the word, that a greater life force was ascribed to the promised one.
  • Making someone jump over the blade - bring them down, topple them, or kill them off. The term “blade” meant the executioner's sword that separated the head from the torso.
  • As clear as dumpling broth - ironic remark if something is not entirely clear.
  • Bang and drop - suddenly, without notice. Probably coming from the hunter's language, where the game is fired at the same time as the shot.
  • Having a blast - being out of your mind, having lost your mind.
  • Have not heard the bang - have not noticed or ignored an obvious signal, usually due to a lack of attention. In running , the bang of the starting gun signals the start of the race.
  • Breaking one thing over the knee - doing something rashly and too little thoughtfully. The knee is used spontaneously, but the result is not very professional.
  • Put a button on it - finish it, lock it. Sewing on buttons is the last handwork in the production of suits.
  • Burst knot - understood something
  • Leaving a suitcase standing - discharge a foul-smelling gas.
  • It's about head and collar (1) or He talks about head and collar (2) - it's about life and death. It's about the whole (1) or he loses all chances of a mild judgment with his statement (2). Here, collar means something like neck.
  • Pull your head out of the loop - escape an impending danger (with cunning or skill).
  • You can't bury your head in the sand - you can't just negate the matter and hope that it will pass us by. Allegedly, but not really, ostriches stick their heads in the sand when in danger.
  • To wash someone's head - to rebuke them, to clearly state their opinions.
  • Getting your head done - getting your way, insisting on your opinion, being stubborn.
  • Your head is not going to be ripped off - you made a mistake, but there are worse things.
  • Hang the basket , including bread basket , higher - make it a little more difficult, make access more difficult. See Bread Basket Act .
  • Receiving a basket - being rejected, a request not being fulfilled. Troubadours hoped to be heard by their loved ones. But when a bottomless basket was let down from the castle, hope turned to disappointment.
  • Something or someone up grain company - are aimed at someone or something. In the rifle, the front sight and the rear sight form the aiming device.
  • I'm bursting my collar ! - someone is so angry that swelling of the carotid artery threatens to burst the shirt collar.
  • It is his collar - it will be very dangerous for him (see also "Head and Collar" above). Here, collar is synonymous with “neck”, a kind of reminiscence of the execution.
  • It looks like cabbage and beets here - there is a wild mess / a utter disorder. From the kitchen language, where cabbage and beets are mixed together in a pot.
  • Shoot wild into the herb - run wild , irrational, uncoordinated. Often used, especially in connection with speculation and rumor.
  • On riot brushed - latent ready to take disputes into account. Possible allusion to punk hairstyles reminiscent of brushes .
  • In the case of someone chalk stand - in debt. Landlords and shopkeepers used to write demands on a blackboard in chalk until they were met. see. "Kerbholz".
  • Eating chalk - pretending to be peaceful against one's own intention or conviction. Probably from the fairy tale The Wolf and the Seven Young Goats , which describes how the wolf eats chalk to soften its voice.
  • Like Krethi and Plethi - a wildly mixed team. According to the Bible ( 2 Sam 8,18  EU ), quasi a "foreign legion" of King David from Cretans and Philistines .
  • Make three crosses - have survived something. The crucifixion of Christians symbolizes the survival of a task or test. In addition there is the symbol of the Trinity .
  • Someone up cross lay - to subdue it, even unfair way. From the wrestling language, where the fight is decided when the opponent is on the ground with both shoulder blades.
  • Someone something from the Cross drone - penetrating someone for so long (and politely) until the desired commitment makes. Often related to discounts or free gifts.
  • Crawling to the cross in front of someone - seeking forgiveness or submissively asking for forgiveness. From the ecclesiastical practice of the Middle Ages to kneel near the cross on Good Friday in penance.
  • Getting something out of the cross - having done a (mostly ungrateful) task or being loose.
  • Getting caught in the crossfire or standing in the crossfire (of criticism) - being approached / criticized from several sides at the same time. Probably derived from the military language, when the fire comes from several directions.
  • Crying crocodile tears - shedding fake tears of emotion, pain or sadness. In ancient mythology, harpies are said to cry like children to attract people. In the Middle Ages this ability was transferred to crocodiles . wikt: crocodile tears
  • To have a (point) in the crown - to be drunk.
  • That crowns one thing - that is the height / the summit. Occasionally also played outrage about a cheek, but also used appreciatively for an extraordinary achievement.
  • It's as superfluous as a goiter - you can do without it with a light heart. The goiter is a disease to which you put no value.
  • Not being Croesus - not being rich, not having enough money. After a Greek king Croesus , who is said to have been incredibly rich at times.
  • Having to swallow a toad - having to accept something unpleasant.
  • When the cake is talking, the crumbs have a break - ordinary people have to listen to speeches or announcements by superiors or other, hierarchically higher-ranking people.
  • The cuckoo is to get you! (also: "To the cuckoo (again)!", "To the cuckoo with it!") - go to hell! Evil curse. Cuckoo was once a synonym for devil.
  • Push a calm ball - do not make yourself noticeable by great activity or diligence.
  • It's a ball load - it's very difficult to do . The expression is already attested in Middle High German times as ›gogelvuore‹ in the sense of wanton hustle and bustle, noisy merrymaking, fool's antics, whereby the meaning of ›gogel‹ = joke, farce and ›gugel‹ = fool's cap, actually an upper garment with a hood, which is in Latin ›Cuculla‹ goes back, have been mixed.
  • The cow get the ice - free themselves or something out of a tricky situation; avert an imminent danger.
  • This is not a cowhide - an exaggerated expression ( hyperbole ) of indignation, which means that there is so much outrage to be reported about a certain thing or person that even a cowhide would not be enough to write it down. Parchment is made from the hides of sheep, so "cow skin" is a description material that is not really common but can be presented as particularly large. Another explanation is that the saying goes back to the founding of the city of Carthage , when Queen Dido asked for as much land as she could enclose with a cowhide. After she was accepted, she cut the skin into thin strips that, when placed next to each other, encompassed a huge area.
  • The short straw draw - losing subject. Already with the Greeks common form of drawing lots, according to which the drawing of the shorter stalk meant that one received nothing.


  • Break a lance for someone - defend them, stand by them. From the knightly language, where in duels, the second intervened in a threatening situation and risked breaking his lance, if not more.
  • Go through the rags - escape, disappear. In order to keep game in the hunting area, colored cloths were stretched between the trees. In its agony, the game did not care about it and "went through the rags".
  • I am with my Latin at the end - here I do not know anymore that I know too little.
  • He likes to take a bath - he has no guts, he shies away from conflict. Herbert Wehner made this phrase popular when he accused Willy Brandt of not having a point of view of his own. A more modern version of “mild bathing” is “warm showering”.
  • Dismiss someone - fire them or break up with them. Soldiers received a passport when they were released in the 18th century. H. a piece of paper that should help them apply for work.
  • A louse ran down his liver - he's upset. The liver, once seen as the seat of passionate sensations, the louse as a symbol of the little annoyance that it can trigger, make the sense of this phrase.
  • Put a louse in one's fur - cause him trouble or trouble, but also arouse his suspicion.
  • Being / playing the insulted liver sausage - show that one is insulted . Originally only the “liver” was mentioned, which was considered the seat of feeling and temperament. The "sausage" was added later.
  • Free away from the liver ; also: Fresh from the liver - speak frankly, without hesitation. Liver and bile have long been considered the seat of anger and anger .
  • Pull (fresh) off the leather - express yourself inconsiderately, do not mince your words. The leather here means the formerly leather sword scabbard .
  • What the suffering of Jesus looks like - look terminally ill. He commemorates the crucified Jesus in paintings (also great masters).
  • The old lyre - always the same topic. With the hurdy-gurdy , a musical instrument from the Middle Ages, you always played the same music.
  • Someone on the glue go - tricked by him / are cheated. Bird catchers worked with limesticks that the birds got caught on.
  • Pull the leash - clear the field, disappear. Presumably from inland shipping, when ships were pulled upstream from the towpaths with horse-drawn carts. “Pull the line!” Was the order to set the ship in motion.
  • Someone leash let - give him more freedom, less control it. Dogs can be kept on a short leash, but also on a long leash if this does not pose a risk.
  • Beat everything on one bar - make no difference, process everything according to the same scheme. From the shoemaker's language.
  • I'm not going to do the Leo for you - I won't let myself be harnessed for it. Refers to the character "Leo" on Bavarian (advertising) television, who was used for everything.
  • Read someone the riot act - severely reprimand them. From the church language, where the clergy of the diocese of Metz were once instructed by their bishop to listen to parts of Leviticus and other lessons daily to improve their behavior .
  • His light under the bushel - sell under value. From the Bible ( Sermon on the Mount , Mt 5 : 13-16  EU ).
  • Whistle from the last hole (also: whistle on the last hole) - to be at the end, no longer being able to. Opening all the vocal holes results in the highest attainable tone of a wind instrument, which only sounds weak and impure.
  • Give up the spoon - die. See Delivering the Spoon .
  • Someone on the spoon shave - it cheating or disadvantage. When shaving, barbers would sometimes put a spoon in the customer's mouth to tighten their sagging cheeks. During this time the customer was hardly able to resist.
  • To be in balance - to be right or in order. From the language of masons, where the lead solder shows whether the wall is really vertical.
  • Put someone in the (fresh) air - fire them or expel them.
  • Playing the stopgap - being used in the absence of alternatives. “Penance” in this context means “mend, mend”, so it is a question of a person who should repair a gap that has arisen (in a wall).
  • Lies like printed (newspapers are printed, fairy tales, novels are fictional stories)
  • The fuse smell - suspicious. The fuse, that is, the fuse , could often be smelled from a long way off and one could get to safety in good time before the shot; see also: musket # speech .


  • Talking about waste - giving up nonsense. Waste is unusable printing paper that can only be used for inferior purposes.
  • Someone in the lack of take - ask him forcefully or interrogate. A mangle is a machine that consists of two parallel rollers closely spaced. A material can be stretched with the help of a mangle.
  • Go under with man and mouse - sink with everything in the floods. The mouse is the corruption of the Dutch "Meisje" = girl or woman.
  • To have cuffs in front of someone - to be afraid or respectful. In the 18th century, the nobler gentlemen wore lace cuffs, but cuffs were also called handcuffs in prison.
  • Put the cloak of silence over something - do not reveal anything, hide something. Make something invisible symbolically.
  • He's got a quirk - he's strange, weird. Marotte, French, was an image of saints derived from the word Maria or a hand puppet, later a fool's scepter with a doll's head, which the court fooled among others wore.
  • Blow the march on someone - bring others, mostly lazy, indolent or unruly people to their point of view or chase them away with mostly violent verbal means.
  • Mast and sheet break! - a modified version of the broken neck and leg for seafarers ! ; Here, too, good luck and good luck are wished.
  • He's on my mat - he wants something from me. The mat here is the carpet or the mat in front of the front door.
  • Get back on the mat - be healthy again, do work again (after a long absence). From the wrestling language.
  • With him, Matthai is at the last - he is close to death (literally or figuratively). Alludes to the Bible ( Mt 28.20  EU ): “until the end of the world”.
  • She is a wallflower (coll.) - a wallflower is a girl who is hardly noticed by men and rarely asked to dance at a disco; analogous to a flower that grows inconspicuously on a wall.
  • The mouse wo n't bite off a thread - that can't be changed. Based on an animal fable in which a grateful mouse saves the trapped lion by gnawing the net. Another version leads to St. Gertrud von Nivelles , who was invoked in the Middle Ages to protect against mice and rat plagues. After that, spinning was no longer allowed from their name day (March 17th), because otherwise the mice would bite off the thread.
  • Seeing white mice - having delusions , especially when intoxicated .
  • It’s enough to milk a mouse - it’s absurd, insane, unbelievable, also: to despair
  • Then he runs into my sharpened knife - I'm waiting for the opportunity to settle accounts with him
  • The knife opens in my pants - my indignation can no longer be beaten.
  • Run into the open knife - get ruined by carelessness or inattention.
  • A Methuselah - a very old person. Methuselah lived to be 969 years old according to the Bible ( Gen 5: 21-27  EU ) and is therefore the oldest person ever mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. The age information should have very little in common with our counting method.
  • Going on a butcher's walk - doing something unsuccessful. Butchers used to go from farm to farm in search of work. If they returned in the evening without an assignment, they had made a “butcher's walk”.
  • The milk of the pious way of thinking - the rather simple way of thinking resulting from a pious upbringing. Friedrich Schiller memorialized this phrase in his work Wilhelm Tell (fourth act, third scene).
  • It didn't grow on my crap - not mine, I have nothing to do with it.
  • The last of the Mohicans - the last euro that remained for me, the last school friend still alive. Based on the novel of the same name by James Fenimore Cooper .
  • Live behind the moon - be unreal. From the earthly viewer, someone who lives behind the moon is on its back. But if you live there, you have the moon between you and the earth and therefore no view of what is happening there.
  • Look at the moon - lose sight of it, lose out. "Mondgucker" was a dirty word for stupid people, comparable to a "Hansguckindieluft".
  • Shooting someone to the moon - rudely parting with someone
  • You can meet me in the moonlight ! - Weakening of the Götz quote with the prospect that there could be a painful encounter one day under cover of night.
  • I'll Mores teach - teach Mores represents the remark decency to teach manners. It has its origins in Latin, the word mos (plur .: mores) means "custom, decency" or "morality". The expression arose around the time of humanism (approx. 15th century) as part of the student and scholarly language of that time.
  • The moths get - be stunned or annoyed. Moth colloquially also means tuberculosis .
  • It tastes like Muckefuck - this is low quality coffee, usually substitute coffee . Verballhorn from the French term “Mocca faux” = false mocha for a coffee that contains no or hardly any coffee beans. See also "Blümchenkaffee".
  • He likes to turn a mosquito into an elephant - an insignificant thing is hugely exaggerated / exaggerated.
  • To take something at face value - to take something seriously, even though it's only joking.
  • Burn your mouth - say the wrong thing, say uncomfortable or embarrassing things openly
  • Don't fall on your mouth - be eloquent or quick-witted.
  • His Mütchen cool (to someone) - vent his anger (to someone). Mütchen is a diminutive of the word courage .


  • ... then good night ! - that would be bad.
  • A night owl - someone who is particularly active at night and who comes home late. Owls are night birds and can hardly be seen during the day.
  • Nightingale ick hear you trap - I can see what's going on. Berlin saying, first published in 1878, is probably derived from a song from Des Knaben Wunderhorn .
  • In a night-and-fog operation - secretly, hidden from the public. In December 1941 the Wehrmacht made resistance fighters and anti-Nazis disappear from the occupied territories in Germany without a trace.
  • something goes on someone's neck - someone pays for something they don't enjoy alone. Often used in invitations to drink .
  • The needle in the haystack - must try the impossible. It is practically impossible that the search will be successful.
  • Hit the nail on the head - say or guess the right thing. From the jargon where the nail meant the center of the target to be hit.
  • Something about the nail hanging (like the profession) - to stop something. Tailors hung up the unfinished suit until work could continue.
  • Tear something under the nail - to acquire something (also illegally). Predators tend to take their prey under their claws, hence also "claw something".
  • Something is burning under (more rarely: on) my nails - paraphrasing an inner situation of impatience, when one wants to get an urgent matter over with or to get rid of a question. The origin is uncertain, see Burning under the nails .
  • The acid test made - made a crucial test. A nail test is generally a test with the fingernail and in the oldest known meaning specifically a ritual to test an empty drinking vessel by turning it so that any remaining contents trickle onto the thumbnail: it contains more than can fit on the nail, the vessel is deemed to have not been sufficiently empty and the sample is not passed.
"Touch your own nose". Detail of a splendid baroque sleigh
  • A close-knit chat - say something that is not intended for the public. With Effi Briest , after many years of marriage, captivating letters are discovered in the sewing box that would have been better left undetected.
  • He enjoys freedom from fools - he can do what he wants, but also: he is no longer taken seriously. Specially committed court jesters were allowed to say things at the royal courts that an ordinary mortal would not have gotten away with with impunity.
  • Turning a long nose on someone - tricking them or ignoring their instructions. Popular gesture among children, showing their playmates their disregard or ridicule.
  • Touch your own nose - in Austria and Switzerland too: take yourself by the nose. Also: take hold of your own cap (Allgäu). Find a fault in yourself rather than others. Possibly goes back to a legal practice of touching one's nose when retracting an insult in public.
  • Oh you green nine ! - Expression of a mostly unpleasant surprise. Presumably due to the 9 of spades in the deck of cards, which promised mischief when laying cards .
  • This is a stopgap nail - a stopgap solution. The emergency nail was part of the equipment of the fire fighters until the 1960s and was used for self-rescue in dangerous situations.
  • Zero-eight-fifteen / fifteen - see 08/15 .
  • A zero number - a project that, contrary to expectations, was unsuccessful, or - in football: a derogatory expression for a game that ended 0-0.
  • Reaching zero - this means that something has reached a low point.


  • Headwater have or get - his win and the upper hand in the advantage. From the miller's language. The water accumulated in the mill pond drove the mill wheel as the upper water, the underwater flowing from it was much less powerful.
  • His mite pay - pay a small contribution (The phrase goes back to the ancient Greek coin mite back, which one the dead as Fährlohn for the ferryman Charon put in his mouth.)
  • Make yourself the fruit of the week - get noticed to get attention. The "fruit of the week" is connoted as a special offer in supermarkets, which is highlighted in order to attract the attention of customers and the resulting increase in sales.
  • Like the ox in front of the mountain (or: like the ox in front of the barn door, in front of the pharmacy) - stupid or not knowing how to proceed.
  • To poke an ox in the horn - unsuccessfully talk to someone or try to explain something to them
  • An odyssey - a very long odyssey . Odysseus , the hero of Troy , only returned to his homeland after many years and after overcoming many dangers.
  • Not without being - have noticeable positive qualities (in humans), e.g. B. be intelligent and smart, or have negative traits, e.g. B. be unpredictable. When referring to situations or other things, also in the sense of remarkable circumstances or characteristics.
  • Write something behind your ears - remember something well. Our ancestors called their children over to witness important events and gave them a pat behind the ears so that they could better remember the event and pass the knowledge on to future generations. wikt: write behind the ears
  • Have a fist behind your ears - be sly or clever. According to popular opinion, the cunning had its seat behind the ears.
  • Being green behind the ears - still young, inexperienced. Related idioms using the color green can be found in various languages, such as English in greenhorn .
  • Down on the ear cut - to lie down to sleep or to rest
  • Someone over the ear cut - cheat someone unfairly manner or trick. The term comes from fencing. A blow over the ears requires a certain skill, but was forbidden according to the fencing rules.
  • Pour oil on the waves - have a soothing effect. It was already known in ancient times that oil can smooth the stormy sea.
  • Pouring oil on the fire - inciting, adding to an evil.
  • Stand there like oil idols - stand around mute or dumb. The stakes erected in pagan times were called oil idols, and later the wooden animal shapes on which the oil lamps were hung to illuminate the property. Martin Luther seems to have popularized the term as a swear word.
  • Since Olim's time - joking expression that does not refer to an actual person with such a name, but was formed in the 17th century from the personification of the Latin word olim (once).
  • Sitting on Olympus - feeling above all others, being arrogant. The Olympus was after the Greek legend seat of the gods.
  • Slide optics - are under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, have visual hallucination (see Slide Optics at Wiktionary ).
  • Cheeky like Oskar - be bold, daring, fearless or insolent. Commonly used as an expression of rejection to high recognition, depending on the modulation. Comparable is the phrase "proud like Oskar". The time of origin and author is controversial.


  • These are two pairs of boots - they are completely different, they are two different things.
  • Drive into couples - flee, corner. Couple is derived from "Barn" = feeding station to which one drove back runaway herds.
  • Pack struggles, Pack gets on - "Uneducated people, for example spouses from the lower class, quarrel and beat up and make up again and the chastised wife in the end sees the blows received as proof of her husband's love."
  • Which brings me to the palm tree - because I get angry because I go to the air. An increase in the phrase, going up the walls.
  • He's under the slipper , he's a slipper - he's under his wife's regiment, he has little or nothing to say. Slippers have long been a symbol of a female piece of clothing. Wooden clogs or the rolling pin could painfully bring some husbands to reason.
  • To be stubborn as a tank - to be unreasonable, not to be dissuaded from your convictions even by good arguments. The armor made the knight invulnerable, but also immobile.
  • I know my Pappenheimers - I know these people (and their weaknesses), I know how to assess them. Quoted in the drama Wallenstein's death by Friedrich Schiller . The Pappenheimers were a heavy cavalry unit under the command of Count von Pappenheim, who were loyal to the emperor and were supposedly always in the right place at the right time.
  • It's not a stick of cardboard or buying something for a stick of cardboard - that's no small thing or it's dirt cheap. In Low German, the dandelion is also called papenblume, Latin “pappus”, which is not taken seriously because of its frequent occurrence. Also: this is not child's play.
  • There the Pope is boxing in chain mail - something is going on there, there is a lot going on there. Deliberately exaggerated corruption of there the bear is tapping .
  • Not to be more papal than the Pope - to let someone get away with something, analogous to five
  • Drive someone into the parade - thwart or block their plans. Derived from the fencing language.
  • A paragraph rider - someone who hides behind the wording of regulations, who is unwilling to be liberal or reasonable in interpretation.
  • Someone Paroli offer - show him that you are equal / against holding. Derived from an originally Italian / French card (luck) game Pharo , where paroli meant a doubling of the stake, perhaps comparable to the contra in the game of Skat.
  • Among us pastors 'daughters , among us (Catholic) pastors' daughters - in confidence, between us (men), to put it bluntly.
  • Hit the drum - make yourself heard by force, play yourself loudly. Also: be left out. The timpani is the loudest and most impressive percussion instrument in the orchestra , but it is rarely used.
  • Throw pearls in front of the swine - senseless waste. The phrase comes from the Bible ( Mt 7,6  EU ): “You are not to give what is holy to the dogs, and you are not to throw your pearls in front of swine.” Latin: margaritas ante porcos .
  • Have / received a clean bill of health - extensive permission to pursue a lucrative business or a previously morally or legally questioned interest. Military recruits used to have to bring an empty box with them to return their civilian clothes to the barracks. Containers with the Persil detergent printed on them were often used.
  • Like the plague - to an abominable degree. Often in "hate something like the plague".
  • The choice between plague and cholera - a choice where both or all of the options mean something bad; i.e. that you don't want to meet. The plague and cholera are serious diseases, the majority of which are fatal, and which have killed more people than most other diseases.
  • Black Peter get pushed fed - unjustified blame for something assigned. In the Black Peter card game , the last one to hold this card in hand loses.
  • That hit him with the parsley - it thwarted his plans, probably an ironic modification of the phrase "it made his soup too salty".
  • Pi times thumb - about. The circle number ( Pi ) is a mathematical constant for calculating circles and cannot be counted on the hands.
  • Have (still) something on the pan - in relation to the not yet fired shot of a musket: the ignition herb was still unburned in the ignition pan and the weapon was still loaded; see also: musket # speech .
  • Pound someone into the pan - betray someone, gossip about them.
  • You can go where the pepper grows - go away and don't come back! (in use since the late Middle Ages, see below Thomas Murner )
  • Whistling in the forest - to meet a fear.
  • The horse put the cart before - working out of order (and fail it). Horses are first harnessed to the head.
  • His horses ran away - he acted uncontrollably, lost his nerve. It is difficult to calm down horses that have become shy.
  • To tell someone about the horse - to deceive someone. When horses were still the main means of transport, horse dealers often praised the productivity of their animals, which, however, did not always show up in the advertised manner after the purchase.
  • (You have already seen) horses throw up (in front of the pharmacy) - see or experience something that you consider impossible and impossible. In fact, horses can throw up, for example if the food has a very high fluid content. But this happens - as the phrase suggests - extremely rarely.
  • The thing is horseshoe - there is one downside, it won't work. They say that the devil is behind the matter, who according to earlier beliefs has a horse's foot. In Goethe's Faust the witch says to Mephisto: “O Lord, forgive the raw greeting! I don't see a horse's foot. "
Rinasce piu gloriosa ("It arises again in greater splendor")
  • He rises like a phoenix from the ashes - something that has already been written off as lost appears in new splendor. According to Greek mythology , the phoenix bird was able to burn and rise again from its ashes.
  • Having someone on the pike - having a grudge against someone (from French la pique )
  • Learned from scratch - very thoroughly trained. From the soldier's language, where pike stands for the lowest rank of soldier.
  • Like mushrooms springing up from the ground - multiply suddenly, take over. Above all, things that are perceived negatively are characterized in this way, e.g. B. Hotel complexes in regions worthy of protection.
  • be flat - be amazed, be pleasantly surprised.
  • The plate making - live on the street, to be homeless. Not to be confused with “get off the record”, in other words: evaporate.
  • Go broke - go bankrupt. Bankruptcy comes from the Hebrew word “peletah” = escape. The vulture in the bankrupt vulture comes from the Yiddish word for walker, so a bankrupt vulture is a person who is on the run.
  • Getting into the pots , often in the form of “we finally have to get into the pots” - hurry up, tackle a project or bring it to an end. From the North German: get on the boat to drive off, but also: put on your boots and go to work. Comparable: coming to Potte.
  • Then Poland is open - a situation that has gotten out of hand. From the time of the Polish partition .
  • Running from pillar to post - running (mostly unsuccessfully) from one place / authority to another. From the Bible, where Jesus was sent several times by King Herod to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and from there again before his death sentence was confirmed.
  • Smashed a lot of porcelain - very unpleasant to see. Broken porcelain can usually no longer be repaired.
  • To be pilloried / denounced - to be humiliated in public. Lighter offenses were punished until modern times with the fact that one had to stand in the pillory for a long time , mocked, insulted and pelted by fellow citizens.
  • Serve as a whipping boy - be punished for a third party. As much as they deserved it, nobles were not allowed to be beaten. Instead, children were available who then had to endure the painful procedure in the presence of the person actually to be punished.
  • The whole point - the essentials, the main thing. Aristotle believed that the origin of life resides in the blood stain that is located in the albumen and moves there. wikt: the whole point
  • Without point talking and point - talking incessantly, do not let the others have their say.
  • Up to the dolls - excessively long or far. Made in Berlin, where the long way from the center to the zoo was lined with statues, which in the Berlin mother joke were called dolls. wikt: down to the dolls
  • Let the (or all) puppets dance - provoke a mostly loud argument. Probably originating from the puppet theater, where many puppets in action at the same time create a stir.
  • Get into the push - (finally) get active or move forward. Puschen = North German for slippers. Those who put on shoes will (hopefully) soon start walking. Often understood as a reminder to finally get started.
  • Yes Nope - very clear rejection, therefore, possibly from "I blow on cake" derive, or expressing that is out of it "nothing" or was (see "I blow out.").
  • Hit the plaster - scold loudly or complain, but also brag / show off or spend a lot of money.
  • Cleaning up - looking for an argument or starting. In 1968 Joschka Fischer was a member of a “cleaning force” in Frankfurt, which fought almost legendary street battles with police officers.
  • Fight a Pyrrhic victory - win a sham victory. Pyrrhos I , king of the Molossians, defeated a Roman army in front of Rome in 279, but with such high losses of his own that he himself gave up hope of further success.


  • The squaring of the circle looking - trying to solve a task which is actually unsolvable.
  • The spoiled for choice - have to make a difficult decision.
  • Be a quarter drinker - rarely, but then drink a lot of alcohol.
  • Have mercury in your bum - be extremely lively.
  • Sit at the source - have easy access to things that others would also like to have.
  • Have a good source - know where to get something.
  • Know something from a reliable source - have knowledge of a good informant.
  • To be even with someone - to clear up all unresolved matters with someone.
  • The acknowledgment received - must bear the consequences for certain behavior.


  • One wheel off - talk nonsense, be crazy. If a vehicle is missing a wheel, operation is only possible to a very limited extent.
  • The radishes from below source - are in the grave, have died. Depending on the region, there is also talk of potatoes or other plants.
  • To be in the spotlight - to have public attention.
  • With a bit to the edge come - be ready with something or can handle. Originally reaching the shore.
  • The bill without the host make - be fooled, do not consider the consequences. The host's bill is often higher than expected.
  • Right and bad - as best as possible or with great effort. The word bad originally meant "simple".
  • From the rain come to worse - incurring an even worse situation. The rain from the entire roof collects in the eaves.
  • Leaving someone out in the rain - leaving them alone with their problems and worries.
  • All registers pull - use all possibilities / unturned set. Organ players use registers to achieve specific timbres . Many registers mean more volume / volume.
  • Make (a) friction - make a profit. The Yiddish word "rewach" means interest.
  • From the series of dance - go their own way, not subordinate itself, violate rules. Especially with round dances it is important to adhere to the established dance rules.
  • Scold like a reed sparrow - scold very loudly and angrily. From the twittering sound of the pipe sparrow, which is very loud and screeching.
  • Look through the tube - lose sight of it, lose out. With tube is meant the telescope with which one looks at the moon.
  • Look into the tube - go empty-handed, be disadvantaged; (disparagingly) watching TV, sitting in front of the telly (and not being there live).
  • Of the role to be - distracted, confused or exhausted, to have worse performance than usual. The term comes from cycling, where an exhausted stalker loses contact with the distance role of the stalker machine in front.
  • The red lantern - the last place in a sporting competition or in any other ranking. One says, for example: to have (or to carry ) the red lantern ; hand over the red lantern (or pass it on ) or take over the red lantern . This linguistic usage is used in particular in the Tour de France (see Lanterne Rouge ), but also, for example, in the Bundesliga. Derived from the red taillights on the last wagon of a train, which used to be emitted by lanterns and served as the end of the train signal .
  • Jiffy - fast (Etymologically, the term comes from jerking in the sense of something dislocate and batting within the meaning of yank .)
  • (The main thing) the ruble is rolling - a lot of money is spent and earned. The phrase comes from the vernacular and goes back to efforts to secure circulation money .
  • With the backs are to the wall - in distress be located only defend tedious. In (saber) skirmishes, backing off at the right time is important for survival. A wall in the back means the loss of the possibility of retreat.


  • Go in sackcloth and ashes - appear repentant or mourn. Derived from the Bible ( Est 4.1  EU ), where an Israelite custom of mourning is described.
  • A sack of rice fell over in China - an expression of personal disinterest.
  • Throw in the bag - say goodbye, temporarily or forever. When you set out, you used to throw (crude: "hit") your things, e.g. B. Tools, in a bag to take with you. Often meant in a professional context.
  • There we have the salad - now the mishap has happened. Salad here probably as a symbol of confusion.
  • The salt in the soup - the decisive, most important ingredient that promises considerable enhancement. Soup without salt usually tastes very bland.
  • to handle someone with kid gloves - to treat someone gently so as not to cause him greater (emotional) damage than he has already suffered.
  • One has him sand scattered in the eye. He was deceived or misled. Already used in ancient times, probably from the fencing language, according to which the opponent was virtually defenseless by throwing sand in the face.
  • Putting something in the sand - failing with a task or a project. From the tournament language, where the opponent, lifted from the saddle, landed rudely on the floor of the tournament ground.
  • Something on the Sankt -day -Nimmerleins move - constantly put off with the goal to make it never happen. In the past, dates were often set on the name day of a saint, Martini, New Year's Eve, Joseph's Day. However, this did not include “Sankt Nimmerlein”, as this does not exist.
  • The pig let out - a long-kept secret to reveal, but conspicuous by coarseness or indecency.
  • Driving another pig through the village - distracting yourself from something (usually unpleasant) by coming up with a new topic.
  • Under all sow - The word "sow" in the proverb originally had nothing to do with a pig. It is much more derived from the Yiddish word seo for yardstick.
  • Going from Saul to Paul - changing a wrong attitude 180 degrees, becoming sensible. According to the Bible ( 1 Cor 15.9  EU ), Saul was a vehement persecutor of Christians before he became a zealous disciple of Jesus after the Damascus experience and later appeared as Paul ( Acts 13.4ff  EU ) (the other name in the Bible not being Consequence of conversion is described). Occasionally a Paul becomes a Saul.
  • Give him a treat - make him suffer. Use of the word pair “sweet and sour” for “good and bad”. Bad times were correspondingly “sour times”. Another possible derivation would be the corruption of Yiddish Zores ('anger, anger').
  • To hold something or someone in check - to have something or someone under control, to hold on to or to press. From the game of chess : If the king's piece is kept in check, i.e. if he threatens to be defeated and the game is over, the player's options for action are severely limited.
  • His sheep in the dry who - backed up be sure. Sheep may be Schepken, i.e. ships. Another explanation says that these are sheep that can contract serious diseases in permanent areas (e.g. the mustard leg ), which is why they are kept away from there as far as possible.
  • The black sheep - the outsider in a family or group who falls out of place with bad qualities.
  • Names are sound and smoke - A name must not be named because it is not necessary to accomplish a task.
  • The Schalk in the neck have - latent willingness to behave mischievously. The word Schalk for insidious person, rogue, cunning jester comes from the old high German scalc of the 8th century and stood for unfree, servant, servant, subject . From this develops in Middle High German the meaning of malicious, evil, sneaky people , which in the 18th century turned into mockers, rascals, jesters .
  • A shadow of himself - just a pale reflection of his former personality. In his epic about the civil war with Caesar, the Roman poet Lukan named the defeated Pompejus magni nominis umbra, the “shadow of his great name”.
  • That dwarfs everything that has gone before - this is a new record (also negative). Things that are in the shade are considered secondary to those in the sun.
  • Jump over his shadow - (actually have to) do something impossible (for him actually), change previous behavior in favor of better things
  • Standing at a crossroads - facing an important decision, having to make a decision. According to the famous legend of Heracles .
  • Honey slices , glue slices - a glossing over expression for shit .
  • Praise someone about the Bell King - praise them thoroughly. After the bells or diamonds king in the card game . From which game this derives its special meaning is unclear (in Skat , for example, it would only be a small trump card in the lowest rated color game - but among these the highest).
  • After scheme F process - work off some after a written structure. In the Prussian army, F was the abbreviation for "front report", with which from 1861 the important data regarding the level of equipment and crew strength of the units had to be reported to the war ministry at regular intervals.
  • Open like a barn door - means particularly wide open or open, accessible without obstacles. Can refer to the lack of or inadequate defense at team sports events as well as to other areas such as B. (open) national borders or other open barriers, such as B. refer to (missing) immune defense.
  • To be wounded crookedly - to have wrong ideas, to be wrongly oriented. Midwives and wet nurses understood the art of diapering small children correctly in order to avoid postural damage later on.
  • The evil shields lead - have bad intentions. The enemy knights could usually only be identified by the coats of arms on their shields, as the face was hidden by the lowered visor .
  • Someone on the plate lift - elect him leader. It was an old Germanic custom to carry the newly elected prince around in a circle three times on a shield in front of the assembled people.
  • Doing something with a mess - dealing with something irresponsibly. Sick / dead cattle were brought to the skinner to be used there or to rot on the Schindanger .
  • Add a shovel - increase your performance even more. Possibly from the time of the steam locomotive, when the stoker had to provide the necessary propulsion with additional coal.
  • Someone to shovel take - him mocking / teasing or driving with him a joke.
  • Jumping off the shovel - just escaping impending danger. Small animals that jump off the shovel are not removed with the material on it, which would be fatal for the animals.
  • I don't have that on my screen - I don't know it or I don't care at the moment . Presumably from the radar screen, which is used to monitor flying objects.
  • Grab someone by the sleeper - grab them by the collar, prevent them from running away, confront them.
  • Standing on the hose - not understanding something at the moment. If someone steps on the garden hose or, at the time, on the fire hose, the flow of water is stopped for the time being.
  • To step on someone's tie - to attack someone's dignity. A tie or tie symbolizes dignity only when it is in perfect condition.
  • Sledging with someone - treating someone inconsiderately or roughly reprimanding them. The origin of this idiom has not been proven. Küpper assumes that the passenger on a sled is subject to the will of the pilot. The origin is also derived from the threshing slide .
  • (cooked) rascal - cunning, sly person. The assumption that the name goes back to the custom of punishing unguild behavior by tearing off the earring worn as a guild mark is unfounded. The earring has only been detectable in craftsmen since the late 19th century.
  • A final stroke draw (among some) - finish one thing, bring to a conclusion.
  • Going out like Schmidt's cat - colloquially: being particularly fast / good.
  • Stand dope - support the culprit with a timely warning in the event of a reprehensible act. From the Hebrew word “Shemirah” = guarding.
  • The snout (deleted) have fully - vulgar term for "no desire to have something" "be annoyed by something" or.
  • Falling on your face - coarse for: failure / failure.
  • To be happy like a snow king - to be very (even excessively) happy. The wren is sometimes called the snow king because he starts a song even in the dead of winter.
  • Snow yesterday : is the past, no longer applies.
  • He's off the hook - averting worse things about himself. In Skat you need 31 eyes to be off the hook, but that is still a long way from winning.
Sculpture by Schneider Wibbel , Düsseldorf, who is clearly sitting on the table.
  • Freeze like a tailor - freeze bitterly. Those who sat comparatively quietly on the table, as they once did, were more likely to freeze at work.
  • Come in if it's not a tailor - originally: “Come in if it's not a reaper ”. The reaper (mower) is figuratively death.
  • Make a blunder - make a mistake. Derived from the profession of the artisan, who can permanently damage a work of art with a single wrong movement.
  • Hit the cord - misbehave. From the carpenter's language, where a taut string indicated which parts of the wooden beam were to be cut off.
  • My dear Scholli! (actually Scholi) - exclamation of indulgent astonishment. It is said to go back to a student Ferdinand Joly, who was expelled from the University of Salzburg in 1783 and then struggled through life as a vagant .
  • Have a screw loose - spin, be crazy. The fact that a machine with a screw loose or missing will not work properly.
  • This is still from real / old shot and grain - that is authentic, unadulterated. The term has nothing to do with grain, but grist means the rough weight, grain the precious metal content of a coin. A coin was correctly made if it was of the correct weight ( shot ) and was made of the correct alloy ( grain ).
  • For the drawer - create a work that cannot be published.
  • Put your shoe on - to relate something to yourself, mostly for a person who feels wrongly guilty ie who gives an admission of guilt (apparently voluntarily) for something he has not done. Subform for this:
    • I have to put the shoe on - I take responsibility for that / turn my head. (Contrast: the shoe should be put on by others)
  • It is the other way round a shoe - cause and effect are exactly the opposite of what is shown. From the shoemaker's language. Some seams must first be sewn inside out, i.e. H. the leather pieces are turned inside out and do not initially look like a shoe. Subform for this:
    • This is how a shoe is made from it - that is consistent, that fits, that is the solution to the problem.
  • These are two pairs of shoes - they are two completely different things.
  • Something to someone in the shoes slide - for some accuse him of deliberately what he has not done.
  • Nobody but me knows where the problem is - only we ourselves know about the cause of our suffering. Can be traced back to a quote handed down by Plutarch ( Nemo scit praeter me, ubi me soccus premat .) By the writer Paulus Aemilius , who, after the reason asked for the divorce from his beautiful wife, only points to his shoe and replies: “He too is beautiful, new and precious, but nobody knows where he's holding me. "
  • To have debts like stalking - to be heavily in debt. Allgäu. Firewood stores are piled up to dry.
  • You probably didn't hear the shot ! - I guess you missed something. Anyone who does not hear the starting signal or does not notice it immediately in a race is just running afterwards.
  • Firing a shot in the dark - expressing a suspicion on the basis of pure guesswork without being able to prove it. Popular and mostly deliberately used method to get on the trail of the triggered echo, but also to put opponents into the twilight.
  • A shot in the oven - a failure. Is explained as an abbreviation from "one shot in the cold oven", whereby "shot" means the insertion of baked goods that do not get into the cold oven; Also as a printout from the die-casting foundry, where a failed piece (called a shot) was melted down again in the furnace. Can also be understood figuratively.
  • In shot put / hold / be - something / keep in order to bring in a good, clean condition or already be
  • No excess powder are worth things that not even so much importance should be attached, such as the criminal who may claim, after all, by a shot and not be executed the rope.
  • Cobbler, stick to your last - stick to what you know something about. A craftsman should only do what he has learned. The last is a molding that is needed to build a shoe.
  • On shoemaker's pony - on foot. An allusion to the black shoes = black shoes that the shoemaker makes.
  • Coming into the Swabian age - to be 40 years old. In Swabian there is the saying: “A Swabian is smart at forty, the others not forever”.
Reinier van Persijn, Singing Swan, Allegory
  • Making a swallow ( football term ) - faking a fall caused by another player to get the referee to punish the opposing team.
  • My dear swan ! - Exclamation of astonishment and appreciation. According to Lohengrin 1st act “Thank you, my dear swan!” And 3rd act “My dear swan! Oh, this last, sad journey, how I would have loved to save you! "
  • Mark the dying swan - grab attention loudly and with gestures; suggest an emergency that is actually not at all; see. the ballet The Dying Swan
  • Swan song - the last “work of a writer, speaker, poet. From the opinion of the ancients that the swans, shortly before their death, made truly admirable tones to be heard. ”Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wander (Ed.): Deutsches Sprichwort-Lexikon. A treasure trove for the German people. F. A. Brockhaus, Leipzig 1867.
  • The tail wags the dog - twisting or exchanging proven or expected circumstances. See also Wag the Dog - When the tail wags the dog .
  • See black, see black too - have a pessimistic attitude towards something; assume that something will not work or will not turn out well.
  • The Black make - are just right with a guess or statement. From the language of archery, where the center of the target is a black circle that has to be hit.
  • You can wait until you go black - it takes a long time or it never happens. In the past, the hanged people were sometimes left hanging on the gallows in the trees as a deterrent until they turned black.
  • Allow someone (not even) the black under the fingernails - allow nothing or be jealous of everything. Self-explanatory.
  • Old Swede ! - Expression of astonishment or recognition. After the end of the Thirty Years' War , Friedrich Wilhelm had tried and tested Swedish soldiers recruited as instructors for his army. Because they got along particularly well with the drill , they were mostly used as NCOs . In the language of the soldiers these corporals were then called simply "the old Swedes".
  • Anyone who is behind Swedish curtains is in jail. Swedish steel has long been considered particularly robust and was therefore often used for bars.
  • Slaughtered the wrong pig - made an unforgivable mistake. (The phrase is said to have been coined by Winston Churchill with reference to the Soviet Union.)
  • No pig can read that - illegible (Allegedly after the family of scholars Swyn, who were presented with difficult-to-read documents. If even they couldn't read that, it was said: Dat ca n't read Swyn! )
  • The inner bastard overcome - overcome internal resistance (from General Kurt von Schleicher's inaugural speech as Chancellor, later by Hermann Goering accepted.)
  • I think my pig whistles - expression of outrage and surprise (pigs cannot whistle. But if a pig actually whistles, then something impossible has happened.)
  • Someone is a poor pig - pity for a pitiable person.
  • Have a pig - luck without doing anything on your own or against expectation (The origin of the phrase is uncertain. Probably from the card game, where the ace is also calleda pigin many places. In competitions, there wasoften a pigas a consolation prize . but he had also received something valuable. The saying therefore means something like being lucky in misfortune.)
  • Sweating like a pig - sweating a lot (Wrong comparison, because pigs hardly sweat, but they smell unpleasant.)
  • If pigs had wings ... - Wishes only come true when pigs can fly.
  • We didn't herd pigs together - strong rejection of clumsy confidentiality (based on an anecdote from Schilda , where a swineherd became mayor of the city and a former partner forbade being led with these words.)
  • Swing a double-edged sword - criticize someone for something that you have to record yourself.
  • Spinning sailor's yarn - fantastic, fictional or untrue stories. From the sailor's language, where many quirks were played during the repair work on the Reep
  • Sparkling wine or seltzer - all or nothing. Selters is a deonym for mineral water.
  • I have to add my mustard - I have to give my (not necessarily welcome) comment (usually without asking). wikt: add your mustard
  • Someone on the laces go - falling to his charge, to disturb him. Origin unclear. Laces here possibly means the (trouser) belt, i.e. H. the whole person in it feels annoyed. But also conceivable based on the laces of shoes. Getting close enough to someone else's shoelace.
  • Put someone in the lace - scold or reprimand them. "To put in the lace " or "to lower" here means something like to raise someone vertically ('vertically'), because one is of the opinion that actions or statements of the criticized person are not right (= 'perpendicular, upright'), but wrong (= 'Crooked, insincere') and therefore not tenable.
  • I have a scythe now - I get out, break up. The scythe means the death of many plants. Also an allegory on the " Grim Reaper ", the pictorial representation of death.
  • In the harness die - "while working die, be taken out of a fulfilling, active life; without allowing yourself a break in old age, working until death. "
  • This is Sisyphean work - despite great efforts, it never comes to an end. According to the Greek legend, King Sisyphus had to roll a heavy stone up the mountain as punishment for his guilt, which always fell back to the valley shortly before reaching the summit.
  • Ski and toboggan good! - There are good external conditions. A well-groomed snow slope is great for skiing or sledding. Not only used in winter.
  • Having a sock shot - not being quite right in your head.
  • To the socks do - quickly disappear / verduften. Socks were once light shoes that were quick enough.
  • Of the socks be amazed be surprised - be. It's like suddenly having your shoes off.
  • That will knock you off your socks - you will not believe that, you will be amazed.
  • Sodom and Gomorrah rule there - everything goes haywire / chaos. Based on the Bible ( 1 Mos 18.1 ff.  EU ).
  • That sounds Spanish to me - that's strange. Some of the customs introduced to Germany from Spain under Emperor Charles V caused a stir and confusion.
  • Then all the sparrows have been caught - then all questions have been clarified or all conditions have been created
  • That's what the sparrows whistle from the rooftops - everyone knows it.
  • Let's turn the tables ! - Let's switch roles for once! Anyone who was able to snatch the deadly spear from his opponent suddenly slipped from the role of the attacked into that of the attacker.
  • Running the gauntlet - being exposed to critical or scornful reactions from other people. Until the Second World War, crimes against comradeship such as theft were punished by chasing the delinquent through the middle of two rows of soldiers who beat him with sharp rods
  • It's pointed on a button - it's on a knife edge
  • Something on the tip drive - let it come to extremes
  • He / it is (lonely) peak - he / it is excellent / super
  • It is important to separate the wheat from the chaff - separate or differentiate between the important and the unimportant. With a blower, the much lighter chaff was blown further away than the grain it had previously surrounded.
  • To help someone on the jumps - to give them crucial pointers, help them to understand.
  • Breaking the baton over someone - judging someone or talking harshly on them. Until modern times, a stick was broken over the condemned man, symbolizing that he had forfeited his life.
  • Against the sting man leap - disobey give talk back. from: ( Acts 26,14  LUT ) Oxen were driven with a stick in which a metal tip ensured compliance. "Lick" was a common word for knocking out .
  • Be taken from the tribe - always wanting something and reluctant to give something. Probably an allusion to the twelve tribes of Israel .
  • Someone hold the rod - stand by him, help him. From the time of the medieval duels, when the second could step in with a pole if his protégé was threatened with hardship.
  • Raise dust - cause excitement / unrest, cause a stir.
  • To throw yourself in the dust in front of someone - being humble / submissive. Already mentioned in antiquity as a sign of submission.
  • From the dust make - to slip away, disappear. A lot of dust was thrown up in the fray and it was more likely that friends and foe could bring it to safety without being noticed
  • From the impromptu - spontaneously, without preparation. Royal couriers read their master's messages without getting off the horse, but to get even more attention, they rose from the saddle, they stood in the palm of their hand.
  • Stone of stumbling , trigger a dispute or offense; from: ( Isa 8,14  LUT ), quoted in ( Rom 9,32  LUT ) or ( 1 Petr 2,8  LUT ).
  • Swear stone and leg , particularly confirm an oath; is often attributed to medieval oath rituals on altar stone and relic ("leg" in the sense of bone ), but it is more likely that reference is simply made to the particular hardness of the things mentioned
  • Having a stone in someone - being preferred by them, enjoying their sympathy. In the game of Wurfzabel , it is important to place your stones well. Whoever succeeded in doing this had the prospect of profit and success.
  • Leaving someone in the lurch - leaving them in danger, not helping them. Possibly from the knightly language, where a wounded fighter was left without help, but also conceivably based on a bee that loses its life because of its sting.
  • Put stumbling blocks in someone's way. - Build or organize obstacles to someone's plans or activities in order to complicate, delay or prevent the project entirely.
  • Somebody's roasting a stork for me ! - Exclamation when something that is considered not possible occurs anyway
  • She was bitten in the leg by the stork - she is pregnant. When sex education was taboo, children were led to believe that babies were brought by storks.
  • Someone to haul bring - defeat him, destroy, kill. From the hunter's language, where hunted game is laid out stretched out in rows. This place is called the route.
  • This is an argument about the emperor's beard - it is a useless discussion about irrelevant things. Different explanations for the origin of the phrase are given. For example, scholars argued seriously about whether or not Charlemagne had a beard.
  • Start an argument - start an argument suddenly / without warning. Tramps tore a stick out of the fence when something didn't suit them.
  • Someone a line go through the bill - thwart his intentions. Probably by the teacher, who crossed out the student's arithmetic solution as wrong.
  • I'm against the grain - I have something against it. Cats react irritably when they are stroked against the direction in which their hair is growing (against the grain).
  • XY goes on the line - XY advertises and serves customers as a prostitute. From the hunter's language, according to which the male woodcock roams the forest at tree height during courtship time ( snipe stroke )
  • After stroke and thread cheating - or systematically deceived for a long time. From the craft of weavers, where good goods are knitted from line and thread.
  • Twist a rope (of something) for someone - to make him fall because of a statement / an act. Should mean a reference to the rope with which criminals died.
  • If all else fails ... - In the worst case, or if all other protections fail. Usually followed by a final plan that will (should) work in any case.
  • He played the front man for someone - to look after the interests of a third party who does not reveal himself, ostensibly on his own or as a trustee . Straw man is also synonymous with scarecrow .
  • A straw widower - a man who is separated from his wife (usually for a short time). “Straw bride” used to be the name of a woman who had sexual intercourse before the wedding and was therefore only allowed to wear a straw wreath instead of the myrtle wreath .
  • Get on your stockings - leave in a hurry. There is no longer any time to put on shoes in peace.
  • Holding on to somebody big - value them highly, trust them fully. Large pieces were the more valuable coins that were needed to acquire a coveted commodity.
  • Playing the scapegoat - being punished for misconduct by third parties. On Yom Kippur , a scapegoat was chased into the desert after the high priest inflicted the sins of the people on him.
  • The soup spoon up that another has brewed - be punished for the acts of a third party (with).
  • Spit in someone's soup or make the soup too salty - thwart their plans, thwart their plans.
  • Grating licorice - flattering in a clumsy way. Licorice is a perennial whose roots contain sugar sap, which is used, among other things, for the production of licorice.


  • Talking to someone smoothly - addressing or discussing something openly and straightforwardly. From Yiddish , derived from the Hebrew word tachlit תכלית (Eng. Goal, purpose ).
  • Something on Tapet bring - to address something to contribute to the discussion. Taken from the French, where "tapis" meant the tablecloth on the conference table.
  • In the bag lying - something deceive, cheat yourself.
  • Not having all the cups in the cupboard - not being mentally normal. Cup is a corruption of Yiddish toschia "understanding". Regionally too: Not all slats have on the fence .
  • This is a Tatar message - this is a lie, duck, hoax. According to a story from Russia that the Sevastopol fortress was reported as conquered a year before its final fall.
  • Having one in tea - being alcoholized, originally from drinking tea with rum .
  • Staying on the carpet - sticking to the facts, not chasing dreams. Origin uncertain.
  • (Want to) sweep something under the rug - remove it from the agenda / not want to discuss a contentious topic / hide it. Perhaps from the picture of a cleaning lady making rubbish disappear under the carpet
  • Roll out the red carpet for someone - welcome them. In the case of state visits, the protocol provides that the guest enters the house via a red carpet specially laid out for him
  • Cast out the devil by (the) Beelzebub - replace one evil with an even greater one. From the Bible ( Mt 12.27  EU ).
  • Paint the devil on the wall - conjure disaster by talking about it. It was believed that when you say his name or paint a picture of him, the devil appears.
  • On the devil (regionally also: Deibel ) come out - with all your might, to the extreme. Hold on to a project until the devil steps in.
  • To be an incredulous Thomas - not believing something, doubting everything. According to the Bible ( John 20 : 24-29  EU ), the apostle Thomas did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus until he was asked to put his hand on his side. Jesus' comment: Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe.
Foreboding of the future - The Tiger Clemenceau : "Terrible dream: I saw myself as a bedside rug at Hindenburg ..." (1918)
  • In the ink - in trouble, in a mess, in a tight spot.
  • Started as a tiger and landed as a bedside rug - nowhere near what was announced.
  • Pull someone over the table - defeat him (rather tricky), play him off. Derived from the Bavarian popular sport of finger hooking , where not only strength but above all technology can make the difference. (Image)
  • That was decided at the green table - it was decided bureaucratically and without expertise. The phrase supposedly goes back to the Perpetual Reichstag in Regensburg, where there was a green table in the electoral room of the old town hall.
  • The tablecloth cut - terminate the friendship. In the Middle Ages, the tablecloth held by the two partners was cut in the middle when they got divorced. See also Ludwig Uhland's poem “The Battle of Reutlingen”.
  • Having tomatoes on your eyes - not seeing / recognizing something.
  • A faithless tomato his - his word fragile or unreliable; Not keeping appointments.
  • Staircase joke (often "staircase joke of history") - excellent answer, but occurred too late (on the stairs, when leaving) to get rid of it.
  • Get on the funnel - find the solution to the problem / understand a thing. The saying goes back to the Nuremberg funnel , which was supposed to help a lack of intelligence.
  • Trick 17 - an immediate solution to an unusual problem. Derived from an English card game where 17 was the highest score.
  • the drop that brings the barrel to overflow - the repetition of a behavior that leads to the end of one's patience.
  • Like to fish in troubled waters - use unfair tricks.
  • Have something in dry towels / something secured / done: the birth is over when the child is wrapped in dry towels.
  • The icing on the cake is still missing - it is not yet round or complete. The icing on the cake is not an i. According to the Bible ( Mt 5,18  EU ).
  • Fall in the door - get down to business immediately and without further ado.
  • Building a Turk / Turkish something - fooling something, fooling yourself. When the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal opened in Kiel in 1895, a parade of warships from many nations took place. Each was greeted with its national anthem. Unfortunately, the Kapellmeister did not have a score for the Ottoman hymn and instead intoned “Good moon, you walk so quietly”. The phrase may also refer to the " Turk ", the machine built by Wolfgang von Kempelen in the form of a chess-playing Turk with a turban who supposedly could actually play (instead, a chess player was hidden in the machine)
  • That does not come into my bag - that tolerate or I do not accept. Presumably dealer language, where the customer rejects certain goods.
  • From tooting of a certain extent - and bubbles have no idea superlative of have no idea . The idiom has its origins in the night watchman , which in the Middle Ages and early modern times was viewed as undemanding , whose work - blowing a horn at the full hour - was badly paid.


  • No offense - meant in a weakening way: a previous, possibly too harsh statement, partially taking back.
  • What one sin Uhl is another sin Nachtigall (What's the one his owl, the other his nightingale) - about taste can be (not) fight.
  • The clock has run out - someone is about to die or has just died. The phrase refers to an hourglass and comes from Goethe's epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther : "My clock has not run out yet, I can feel it."
  • Unshaven and far from home - without the usual comfort far from home. Allusion to August Graf von Platen's ballad Das Grab im Busento , which describes how the Gothic king Alaric I had to be buried “too early and far from home”.
  • They also ran - far back in the field, without any significance for the outcome of a competition. The phrase comes from the field of horse betting . Only the first three horses of a race are relevant there - you bet on “victory” or “place” (first to third place), for example, or you predict the order in which the first three horses will cross the finish line. The result of a race was therefore previously published in four columns: the first three horses were noted in one column each, and there was also a column called also ran , in which all other participating horses were listed from fourth place.
  • Merry Urständ celebrate - celebrate joyful resurrection (usually meant negatively). Urstand is an outdated word for original condition.
  • Thinking outside the box - certain behavior of a person


  • To be dogged by something - to commit (mostly incorrectly) to something. The expression comes from the hunter language.
  • Cursed (also: Verflixt) and sewn up! - Increase from damn it again . Quotation from a student song: "When my darling confessed the consequences of our love to me, I cursed my pants and sewed them up." The less harsh versions such as "darned / damned and sewn up" are also common.
  • Not being able to crush someone or something (northern German) - not being able to stand a person or not being able to accept an incident or a statement. Knusen in Low German means “chew, digest”.
  • Then they left him - his strength ran out, he was overwhelmed, he didn't know what to do next. According to the Bible ( Mt 26,56  EU ), where it says: “All his disciples left him”.
  • Screw something up - failing to cope with a task, spoiling something. The Yiddish word "Masel" means "luck".
  • Under severe conditions - under more difficult conditions than usual
  • Somebody fucked up - having an irreconcilable argument with someone.
  • In someone fired his - to be someone in love / crush. In the student language, it was alluded to the arrows of the love god Cupid .
  • About perishing - vulgar for "by all means", under all circumstances, more subtle: "come on the devil". But mostly used in the negative form “not to die”, = coarse for “not at all”. Perish = vulgar to die.
  • Those who make something worse have the well-intentioned intention to improve something, but instead make the situation worse by doing something.
  • Don't know any relatives - relentlessly pursue your goals
  • There is nepotism there ! - a vices lamented since time immemorial, to favor relatives and friends.
  • He / she has a bird (or a tit, etc.) - out of her mind, comfort, or mad. Equated with phrases like 'it beeps on him', which allude to the fact that the brain is not intact.
  • He shot the bird - he showed - positively as well as negatively - an extraordinary achievement / stupidity. From shooting sports, where a bird is often the target (e.g. eagle shooting)
  • Bring something into shape - improve something, fix something. The term originally comes from the military, where you have to align yourself with the man in front of you when stepping and aligning. So if the row was crooked, it was "whipped up".


  • Have someone at the waffle - hardly understandable speaking or acting; here, usually not taken very seriously, mental illness is assumed.
  • This is the choice between plague and cholera - no matter which one you choose, it will end badly.
  • Don't see the forest for the trees - get tangled or get bogged down, let yourself be distracted from the essentials by many trivialities.
  • I think I'm in the woods - that can't be true at all / that doesn't exist; based on a US comedy film from 1982 set in a teenage milieu.
  • Be on the roll - be on the move. Journeymen went (and go) after their teaching in several years wandering where they could acquire more skills in their profession before Master could be.
  • Put someone against the wall - execute them. During a shooting , the convict stands in front of a wall. The idiom is rarely used. Mostly in the form “It should be put up against the wall!” This means that a certain behavior must result in a penalty.
  • House like the vandals - destroy senselessly, leave a lot of disorder. The Germanic tribe of the Vandals conquered and sacked the city of Rome in AD 455. There are reasonable doubts that he was more cruel than other armies.
  • Dress warmly ! - be prepared for something unpleasant! A threat, but it is also used jokingly.
  • Still waters run deep - how one can be wrong about someone! Formerly in Silesia it is said to have been called "still water, deep hole".
  • The water is up to his neck (since the 17th century). - he is in a very threatening position.
  • The water runs in his mouth. - he has a great appetite; he is very happy.
  • It brings water to his eyes. - he cries (translated: he suffers).
  • To have water under the keel (to be in good fairway) - to move forward
  • It is built close to the water - it is very emotional and tends to cry (also called "crybaby").
  • This is water on his mill - this suits him. Often involuntary help to third parties. From the miller's language, where mill wheels were dependent on water.
  • Digging the water off someone. - thwart a person's plans or severely reduce their chances; see above.
  • Pour water into the wine - dampen the enthusiasm, spoil the joy. The reality is rather sobering.
  • With all waters be washed - be smart and fearless and cunning. Probably from the sailor's language, according to which someone who has already crossed all the world's oceans has a lot of courage, cold-bloodedness and experience.
  • Into the cold water being thrown - are made without adequate preparation with a difficult task.
  • There is still a lot of water flowing down the Rhine - that will take a long time.
  • Water always flows downhill - that's how things go.
  • All waters run into the sea. (Bible, Ecclesiastes 1: 7) - it all comes together at some point.
  • He also only cooks with water - he has no magic drugs either, he will not do it better either.
  • Someone's water may not be enough (since the 16th century) - him to be far inferior. In the Middle Ages, when people were still eating with their fingers, servants, bowing deeply, gave guests water to wash their hands after dinner. Was this humiliating, how low was someone who was not even allowed to take on this task anymore.
  • No water can - Do not be dignified; be unreal.
  • Not being able to cloud a little water - be a harmless person; or pretend to be harmless
  • Preaching water and drinking wine - telling others how to behave, but not doing it yourself.
  • That is water carried into the creek - it is superfluous, nonsensical. See “ Carrying Owls to Athens ”.
  • His Waterloo experience - suffered a crushing defeat. In 1815 the French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte suffered a decisive defeat near the Belgian town of Waterloo, after which he had to abdicate for good and was sent into exile on the island of St. Helena
  • Wat mutt, dat mutt - indicates a practical obligation .
  • That's me on the alarm - that bothers me. Alarm clock disturbs in the morning hour.
  • All roads lead to Rome - every destination can be reached in different ways. The paved roads in the Roman Empire , unique at the time, were mostly geared towards being able to reach the capital.
  • This is old wine in new bottles. - Only the surface is changed and spruced up, nothing changes on the internal structures.
  • The wisdom ate with spoons - to appear smart, but basically a fool to be. Wisdom cannot be supplied through food.
  • It's not that far away - he's not good for much. Apparently, down-to-earth food was not valued very much in the past.
  • This is far fetched - it is inappropriate, absurd, illogical, unfounded.
  • Reaching / stabbing a wasp's nest - picking up a dangerous thing that will cause quite a stir in the future. Self-explanatory for people who have ever wanted to destroy a wasp's nest.
  • Keeping a clean slate - being innocent / not being aware of any guilt. On the contrary: having stains on the vest. After the Second World War, the so-called 'clean bill of health' was an official confirmation that there had been no dark stains on the vest in the previous years.
  • That was for him a mowed Wiesle - that seemed very zupass, after he has just been waiting for. Wiesle, Swabian for meadow, Bavarian also called Wiesn . When it was mowed, most of the work was done.
  • Getting Wind Of This - Getting knowledge of something that others wanted to keep a secret.
  • The wind has been taken from his sails - important arguments have been torn to pieces and his position has been weakened. From shipping, where clever sailors disadvantage their opponents by ensuring that they get less wind on their sails.
  • He's hatching a diaper - the thing is half-baked, there's nothing behind it. A diaper egg is an egg that is unsuitable for brooding and without a lime shell.
  • He is fighting against windmills - his fight is hopeless, but actually: he is fighting against merely imaginary opponents. Miguel de Cervantes lets his hero Don Quixote , also known as the "knight of the sad figure", recognize an alleged giant in a windmill, against whom he begins a battle that does not end well for him despite the warning from his squire.
  • Driving a new sow through the village every week - the diversionary and deception maneuver, covering up the lack of substance of an idea or measure with actionism and a sequence of new, also little or no thought or immature ideas or measures (= sows) more quickly , surprising episode just as verbose and brilliant.
  • A wolf be in sheep's clothing - evil intentions, but present themselves as kind to the outside. Compare with Matthew 7:15 the warning false prophets, "who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inside they are ravening wolves".
  • Howling with wolves - doing something reprehensible for the sake of advantage or to avoid disadvantages. Already known by the Romans.
  • On cloud seven float - in love, in high spirits, be raptured off, but also: be naive. Probably based on the Seventh Heaven in Islamic legend, where Muhammad met Abraham .
  • In Wolkenkuckucksheim life - the wrong idea, have lost in fantasies. In his comedy “The Birds”, the Greek poet Aristophanes described a bird state above the clouds, for which the German translator Ludwig Seeger created this word.
  • Dyed in the wool - through and through (having a quality or belief). A pessimist dyed in the wool is a hundred percent pessimist. If the wool is dyed before processing, the color will last much longer than if the finished fabric is dyed first. The expression has been attested since 1517.
  • Getting at odds with someone - quarreling with someone. Here, wool refers to the hair on the head that the opponents pull on.
  • Go shooting Wolpertinger - be gullible or feel like adventures. Wolpertingers are Bavarian mythical creatures that are said to be easy to catch and that can be expected to make a big profit. Foreigners in particular are encouraged to take this adventure, which at best leads to ridicule, but occasionally also to embarrassing situations.
  • Have the last word - always say something last in a discussion, add something at the end even though it is irrelevant.
  • Go over the Wupper - die or go bankrupt. Between the prison in Elberfeld (now part of Wuppertal) and the place of execution was the bridge over the Wupper River. Further, less probable interpretations are in the pipeline.
  • The dice have been cast - the decision has been made and is irreversible (see Point of no Return ). Julius Caesar is said to have crossed the Rubicon River with the words " Alea iacta est " and thus provoked a civil war, which the Roman army then won.
  • You have to pull the worms out of his nose (one at a time) - elicit his secrets through clever questions. In the Middle Ages it was believed that a worm could be assigned to every disease. Quacks even promised to draw mental illness through the nose in the form of brainworms .
  • Throwing the sausage on the bacon side - wanting to create a big advantage with a small favor. The bacon side was rated much higher than the sausage. If you could pull down the ham, which was mostly unreachable high, with a sausage, you had achieved a lot for little effort.
  • It's about the sausage - the state shortly before the end of a competition that has not yet been decided
  • Everything has an end, only the sausage has two - an ironic statement about the transience of the earthly (cf. Vanitas ); 1986 Title and refrain of a hit ( everything has an end, only the sausage has two (Krause & Ruth) - there is more information about the origin of the phrase)
  • (Häselein) disappear like the sausage in the locker! - Request to move quickly from a German children's song or children's game
  • This is me sausage ( damn ) - I do not care
  • In the desert Send - fired or relieve an office. Goes back to the Bible ( Lev 16.1 ff.  EU ), according to which the sins of the people of Israel were transferred to a scapegoat by the laying on of hands and they were then driven into the desert


  • To fool someone an X for a U - want to cheat someone. The Roman number V (which also stood for U in Latin) could easily be manipulated by extending it to X.
  • You won't see a point from the crown - don't stand in line! A damaged crown damages the reputation of the wearer.
  • Someone's tooth feel - quickly and thoroughly check its knowledge and ability. A horse dealer quickly recognized the true age of the horse offered to him by a grip in the mouth (see tooth age estimate ).
  • A tooth set - go faster, faster. Some sources attribute the phrase to the functionality of mechanical transmissions in the early days of the automobile. Other authors see the origin in the households of the Middle Ages , where large kettles were hung on a rack over an open hearth. In order to increase the temperature in the pot, it was hung one tooth lower - "a tooth was added". wikt: step up a gear
  • We pulled his tooth - we dissuaded him from this (strange) idea or freed him from his worries. Teeth used to be pulled when they hurt too much.
  • Playing the great zampano - supposedly or in fact pulling the strings according to which the dolls have to dance. Based on a main character in the Italian film La Strada , played by actor Anthony Quinn .
Anton Raphael Mengs : Judgment of Paris . Hermitage , St. Petersburg
  • The apple of contention - the subject of a dispute. According to Greek mythology, the Trojan War was triggered by a dispute between the goddesses Hera, Aphrodite and Athene over which of them is the most beautiful. Paris should hand the winner an apple.
  • Then it's tattoo ! - Now is the night's rest / the end of the event! From the military language, where the serving of soldiers had to be stopped at a certain time - the tap was therefore deleted from this point in time .
  • Weiden under the fence - cultivate extramarital relations (Allgäu). Grazing animals find the grass on the neighbour's meadow particularly tasty.
  • Wink with the fence post - a clear indication of an issue (this is based on the idea that a fence post is so big that the waving cannot be overlooked.)
  • The time is up - goes back to measuring the time with (running off) water. In ancient Greece, such water clocks limited speaking time in court. Likewise: the passage of time.
  • Hue and cry scream - make conscious much ado about a (usually small) thing. In medieval court sessions, the charge was introduced with the word "ze aehte her" ("here for persecution"); the caller obliged his fellow citizens to help. This was followed by the plea, with "mordio" standing for murder and manslaughter.
  • Put yourself (mightily) into your work - exert yourself mightily to achieve a goal. Unterzeug here is the harness of draft animals to understand
  • Mend someone's stuff - criticize him, harm him. Actually repairing a damaged area.
  • The stuff to have - have enough skills for a task.
  • Drink target water - usually doing something internally to improve actual precision and accuracy, for example when shooting or playing ball games. The term target water comes from the language of soldiers .
  • Like Zieten from the bush - all of a sudden, surprising. General Hans Joachim von Zieten became famous for his tactics of attacking the enemy abruptly from an ambush with his cavalry and thus winning the battle.
  • Missed a cigar - scolded, chided. In the imperial navy , the person to be censured was often ordered to the ship's mess , where the superior offered him a cigar before he pronounced the rebuke. This was usually not hidden from the team.
  • Show you where the carpenter left a hole - put him in front of the door. The bricklayer actually left a hole there and the carpenter later put in a door
  • I traded in lemons - I made a loss and suffered an (economic) failure. In the Bergisches Land it was custom until the middle of the 19th century to give coffin-bearers or corpse-bearers a lemon,
  • That's an old braid / you should cut off old braids - that is no longer up-to-date / long outdated. Several explanations are given for this, including the fact that the Prussian army held on to a hairstyle for a long time, although it was rather a hindrance to the service.
Small beam balance (a so-called seed balance, southern Germany, 1st third of the 19th century) with the
tip pointing upwards in the middle
  • In the predicament stuck (South German / alemannisch also Fickmühle) - in a difficult or hopeless situation to be. Derived from the mill game , where a player can close a mill with each of his turns, which always costs the opponent a stone.
  • Not getting on a green branch - not having achieved anything. Comes from the Middle Ages: Someone who had bought land received a green branch planted in a clump of earth on the property. Conversely, it was about someone who had not been able to own their own land.
  • Between the years - the period between Christmas and three kings . Probably comes from the time when the Gregorian calendar was usedin Catholic regions, but still the Julian calendar in Protestantregions. See own article.

Web links

Wiktionary: Directory: German / phrases  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

See also

Literature (selection)



  • Wilhelm Körte: The proverbs and proverbial sayings of the Germans. Olms, Hildesheim 1974, ISBN 3-487-05220-2 (= reprint from Leipzig 1837).
  • Carl Dirksen: East Frisian proverbs and proverbial sayings. With historical and linguistic notes. Sendet Reprint, Vaduz 1984, ISBN 3-253-02747-3 (= reprint by Ruhrort 1891).
  • Rudolf Eckart : Low German proverbs and popular sayings. Olms, Hildesheim 1975, ISBN 3-487-05475-2 (= reprint from Braunschweig 1893).
  • Elisabeth Piirainen : Lexicon of the West Munsterland idioms. (Phraseology of the West Munsterland dialect, Volume 2). Schneider, Hohengehren 2000, ISBN 3-89676-196-X .
  • Kurt Krüger-Lorenzen: "That doesn't go on cowhide ...". Econ, Düsseldorf 1960.
  • Werner Richey: Seafaring is no easy feat. Proverbs and sayings about seafaring, sailor, ship and sea. Hinstorff, Rostock 1990; New edition 2007, ISBN 978-3-356-01202-6 .
  • Robert Sedlaczek : Leet & Leiwand - The lexicon of youth language. More than 250 expressions and phrases - what they mean, where they come from. echomedia, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-901761-49-7 .
  • Gunter Bergmann (Ed.): As it comes, it will be eaten. Saxon proverbs and sayings. Lehmstedt , Leipzig 2006, ISBN 3-937146-39-3 .
  • Biblical sayings and proverbs. German Bible Society, 2004, ISBN 3-438-04821-3 .
  • Abraham Tendlau : Jewish Proverbs and Sayings. Parkland, Cologne 1998, ISBN 3-88059-942-4 .
  • Annette Pohlke, Reinhard Pohlke: All roads lead to Rome. German idioms from Latin. Patmos, Düsseldorf 2006, ISBN 3-491-96184-X .


  • Gerda Grober-Glück: Motives and motivations in sayings and opinions. Superstition, folk characterology, colloquial formulas, professional ridicule in widespread use, etc. Life forms (= Atlas of German Folklore. N. F., Beih. 3). Elwert, Marburg 1974, ISBN 3-7708-0029-X .
  • Wolfgang Mieder: German idioms, proverbs and quotations. Studies on their origin, tradition and use. Praesens, Vienna 1995, ISBN 3-901126-41-4 .
  • Lothar Bluhm , Heinz Rölleke : "Popular sayings that I always listen to". The saying in the children's and house tales of the Brothers Grimm. Hirzel, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-7776-0733-9 .


  • Stephan Knieschek: 10,000 quotes, sayings & sayings ( CD-ROM for PC ). Humboldt, Baden-Baden 2nd edition 2004, ISBN 3-89994-999-4 .
  • Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of proverbial sayings. Directmedia, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89853-442-1 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Stefan Gottschling : Lexicon of the worlds of words. The How-To Book for Illustrative Writing. 2nd Edition. SGV-Verlag, Augsburg 2008, p. 56 f.
  2. Berliner Zeitung : neighs red tape , April 19 1995th
  3. From: How the German speaks. Phraseology of Popular Language. Expressions, sayings, proverbs and quotations from the vernacular and the works of folk writers. Collected and explained by S. Hetzel, 1896. See also wikt: somebody's ass gets fucked up
  4. Luther 1984: Pieces on the Book of Daniel 1 : 8–9 , cf. Daniel 13.8-9  EU
  5. Niklaus Meienberg: "Save Switzerland - coûte que coûte!" For the 700th birthday: Manifesto against the federal abolitionists and for a Latin national consciousness. (No longer available online.) In: World Week , January 10, 1991, archived from the original on December 10, 2015 ; accessed on December 23, 2018 . - extinction budget. In:, accessed on December 23, 2018.
  6. ^ David Ehrenpreis: The Figure of the Backfisch: Representing Puberty in Wilhelmine Germany. In: Journal for Art History . Volume 67, Issue 4, 2004, pp. 479-508, JSTOR 20474266 , doi: 10.2307 / 20474266 .
  7. ^ Stefan Gottschling: Lexicon of the worlds of words. The How-To Book for Illustrative Writing. 2nd Edition. SGV-Verlag, Augsburg 2008, p. 87.
  8. L'Ours et l'Amateur des jardins. (French)
  9. a b c d e f Lutz Röhrich : Lexicon of the proverbial sayings.
  10. Sayings. Know where Barthel gets the must ( Memento from February 14, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). BR-Online, February 10, 2006.
  11. Christa Pöppelmann: I think my pig whistles! The most famous idioms and what's behind them. Compact-Verlag, Munich 2009, p. 109.
  12. Gerhard Wagner: That doesn't go on a cow skin. Idioms from the Middle Ages , 3rd edition Darmstadt 2012, p. 154 ISBN 978-3-534-25484-2 .
  13. Matthias Pape: "Canossa" - an obsession? Myth and Reality . In: Journal of History. 54, 2006, pp. 550-572.
  15. Duden 7, Bibliografisches Institut 1963, ISBN 3-411-00907-1 , p. 108.
  16. Literature example
  17. ^ Alfred Söllner : Introduction to Roman Legal History . 4th edition. Beck, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-406-34269-8 , p. 140.
  18. ^ Entry in the German Dictionary of Law (DRW) of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences.
  20. cf. Wolfgang Mieder: "You shouldn't change horses in the middle of the river". On the history of a German-American proverb ["Don't swap horses in the middle of the stream". History of a German-American Proverb] . In: Journal for German Linguistics. Volume 33, Issue 1, pp. 106-124.
  21. Meaning No. 6;
    A. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 3 : E – research - (III). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1862, Sp. 76-77 ( ). “Egg sometimes stands for testicle, z. B. widderei, widderaier (Schm. 1, 40) “;
    Joachim Heinrich Campe (Hrsg.): Dictionary of the German language. Second part F – K. Braunschweig 1808, p. 756 : "Hode [...] in the low speech the eggs, the dumplings"
  22. Bastian Sick : Questions to the onion fish: In or in Iraq? In: Spiegel Online . December 17, 2003, accessed May 19, 2009 .
  23. Dr. Know: Where does the saying get away from the window come from? In: Internet presence of kabel eins . Retrieved January 26, 2009 .
  24. Olga Ejikhine: Taken literally: the language guide through the world of idioms . Digitalis Books, 2006.
  25. Peter Honnen: Everything cocoa? - Words and word stories from the Rhineland. Greven, Cologne 2008, ISBN 978-3-7743-0418-5 , p. 10.
  26. br-online- Radio Knowledge Archive ( Memento from December 31, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  27. ^ Knaur, The German Dictionary, Lexicographical Institute Munich, 1985, p. 395.
  28. Gelino idioms accessed August 16, 2019.
  29. Gelino idioms accessed August 16, 2019.
  30. a b contribution from br-online that is no longer available
  31. Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of the proverbial sayings
  32. Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of the proverbial sayings. 3. Edition. TB, Herder, Freiburg 1994, p. 584.
  33. Christa Pöppelmann: I think my pig whistles !: The most famous idioms and what's behind them . Compact-Verlag, Munich 2009, p. 108.
  34. Duden - The dictionary of origin. 3rd edition (2001), p. 308: Assumes the idea that thick hair is a sign of great masculinity, strength and courage. The even earlier expression was having hair on the tongue .
  35. ^ Max Döllner : History of the development of the city of Neustadt an der Aisch up to 1933. Ph. C. W. Schmidt, Neustadt a. d. Aisch 1950, OCLC 42823280 ; New edition to mark the 150th anniversary of the Ph. C. W. Schmidt publishing house, Neustadt an der Aisch 1828–1978. Ibid 1978, ISBN 3-87707-013-2 , p. 155.
  36. ^ Rolf-Bernhard Essig : My dear Scholli ... Deutschlandradio Kultur . March 7, 2008, accessed November 16, 2018.
  37. ^ Stefan Gottschling: Lexicon of the worlds of words. The How-To Book for Illustrative Writing. 2nd Edition. SGV-Verlag, Augsburg 2008, p. 87.
  38. Nikolai Wassiljewitsch Gogol: Evenings on the Vorwerk at Dikanjka and other stories - Chapter 1. ( ).
  39. Hans-Jürgen Wolf: History of the witch trials. Nikol Verlagsgesellschaft, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-88776-078-6 , p. 733.
  40. Duden - The dictionary of origin. Dudenverlag, Mannheim 2001. Volume 7. Dates for "home lights" p. 330. Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of the proverbial sayings. Herder Verlag, Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 1994, here: Volume 2, p. 691, and Volume 4, p. 1354.
  41. ^ Lutz Röhrich: Executioner. In: ders., Dictionary of proverbial idioms. Volume 2 (Easy - Holzweg). 4th edition. Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 1999, p. 698.
  42. Ludwig Bechstein : Where do the "blind Hessians" and the "Mühlhauser pegs" come from. in the Gutenberg-DE project
  43. The Duden. 12 vol., Vol. 11: Duden idioms and proverbial idioms: 11 - idioms and proverbial idioms, words and phrases. Mannheim 1992, z. St; Dictionary for German usage. Leipzig 1977, z. St.
  44. What idioms mean: Why is Holland in need if you can't get out of the quark? In:, February 2, 2012, accessed on November 16, 2018.
  45. Origin of wooden eye be vigilant
  46. See someone in the Wiktionary
  47. Grimm: German Dictionary. Volume 10, column 1875: from the plucking of the slaughtered chicken, the picture is a chicken with a plucking, picking, one thing, a dispute with one thing: the tory leaves, which do not allow the opportunity to pick a chicken with the admiralty. Weimar. newspaper 1864, no.277.
  48. ^ Johann Georg Krünitz: Economic Encyclopedia . 1773 to 1858, hunger paw
  49. Codex Iustinianus 9,13,1 online resource
  50. ^ Lutz Röhrich: Act. In: Lexicon of the proverbial sayings. Herder, Freiburg i. Br., New edition 1991, vol. 5, p. 1602.
  51. ^ Rüdiger F. Wieland: Jägerlatein , English publisher, Wiesbaden 1980, ISBN 3-88140-061-3 .
  52. ^ Edwin Wilke: Deutsche Wortkunde . An auxiliary book for teachers and friends of the mother tongue. 5th increased edition. F. Brandstetter, Leipzig 1913, DNB  364049820 , p. 239 ( Snippet view in Google Book Search [accessed June 19, 2019]).
  53. Leprechaun. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 11 : K - (V). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1873, Sp. 1551 ( ).
  54. Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wander 's lexicon of proverbs is the first dictionary to be listed in the additions to the fifth volume Cadaveroborsam published by Joseph Bergmann in 1880 with evidence from a speech of May 8, 1875: “As far as the obedience of the cadaver that is held up to us is concerned, this expression is based on a prescription of St. Francis, who used the parable: «Take a corpse, place it wherever you want, it will never grumble, reluctance and refuse to obey; that is true Christian obedience. »" (Sp. 1094)
  55. Whatever happens!

    Whatever happens, you should
    never sink so deeply
    from the cocoa through which you are drawn

    Erich Kästner: Singing between the chairs . German publishing house, Stuttgart / Berlin 1932.

  56. Winged words. The treasure trove of quotations of the German people, collected and explained by Georg Büchmann, continued by Walter Robert-Tornow et al., 32nd edition. completely reworked by Gunther Haupt and Winfried Hofmann, Berlin 1972, p. 305.
  57. Explanation of the saying on the website of the city of Kassel.
  58. ^ Friedrich Kluge, Elmar Seebold: Etymological dictionary of the German language. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-11-017473-1 , p. 479.
  59. Regina Hessky, Stefan Ettinger: German speeches: A dictionary and exercise book for advanced learners. Gunter Narr Verlag, Tübingen 1997, ISBN 3-8233-4960-0 , p. 51; see. also ship of fools .
  60. Christine Palm: Phraseology: An Introduction. Gunter Narr Verlag, Tübingen 1995, ISBN 3-8233-4953-8 , p. 7 f.
  61. Rodolfo Caro: Mens sana in corpore sano !: Or a healthy mind in a healthy body. 2005, ISBN 3-8334-2045-6 , p. 67; see also buying the pig in a poke. In: Wiktionary .
  62. ^ Karl Knortz: American superstition of the present: A contribution to folklore , Leipzig: T. Gerstenberg 1913, p. 64; Gerhart Waeger: The cat has nine lives. Foolish expressions, idioms and proverbs noted and commented on. Bern 1976.
  63. Kurt Ranke, Lotte Baumann: Encyclopedia of Fairy Tales. Concise dictionary for historical and comparative narrative research. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-11-015453-6 , p. 603.
  64. ^ Br-online Radio Knowledge Archive ( Memento from October 11, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
  65. ^ A b Heinrich Raab: German speeches. Let it fire from flash to reins. Wancura, Vienna a. a. 1964, p. 88.
  66. Robert R. Anderson, Ulrich Goebel, Oskar Reichmann: Early New High German Dictionary. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-11-014887-0 , p. 95.
  67. Klaus Dieter Pilz: Phraseology: Attempt at an interdisciplinary demarcation. A. Kümmerle, Göppingen 1978, ISBN 3-87452-397-7 , p. 608; Michael Vogt: Literature reception and historical crisis experience. The reception of the dramas Chr. D. Grabbes 1827–1945. P. Lang Verlag, Berlin a. a. 1983, ISBN 3-8204-6282-1 , p. 205.
  68. ^ Lutz Mackensen: Quotes, sayings, proverbs. Verlag Werner Dausien, Hanau 1981, p. 181; Explanation: Moving the church out of the village would be as pointless as it would be laborious work.
  69. There are many variations on this proverb, and it has changed slightly over time. Proverbs of the Germanic and Romance languages compiled by Ida von Düringsfeld and Otto Freiherrn von Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Verlag H. Fries, Leipzig 1872, provides a list on p. 493 (Ref. No. 908) .
  70. Duden. Idioms. 3. Edition. P. 419.
  71. Hans Biedermann: Knauer's Lexicon of Symbols. Knauer, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-426-26400-5 , p. 237.
  72. Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of the proverbial sayings. 6th edition. 2, Herder, Freiburg 2003, ISBN 3-451-05400-0 , p. 852 f.
  73. ↑ Hanging the basket higher in The Oxford-Duden German Dictionary , at Google Books
  74. ^ Stefan Gottschling: Lexicon of the worlds of words. The How-To Book for Illustrative Writing. 2nd Edition. SGV-Verlag, Augsburg 2008, p. 71.
  75. The Dictionary of Idioms. Keyword Kugelfuhr.
  76. ↑ get the cow off the ice. Search terms. In:, accessed on December 23, 2018.
  77. Christa Pöppelmann: I think my pig whistles! The most famous idioms and what's behind them. Compact-Verlag, Munich 2009, p. 105.
  78. Olga Ejikhine: Taken at your word. The phrasebook through the world of idioms. Digitalis Books, 2006.
  79. ^ Heinz Küpper: Dictionary of German colloquial language, 1st edition. 6. Reprint. Klett, Leipzig a. a. 1997, p. 489 f .; Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of proverbial sayings. 5 volumes, Freiburg i. Br. 1991, Volume 3, pp. 944 f.
  80. Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of the proverbial sayings.
  81. Barbers in the sense of cheating, "soaping up": Christian Friedrich Bernhard Augustin : Remarks by an academic about Halle and its residents, in letters, along with an appendix, containing the statutes and laws of the Friedrich University, an idioticon of the boys 'language, and the so-called boys' comment . [Ernst], Germania [i. e. Quedlinburg] 1795, OCLC 53407999 , p. 368 ( scan in Google book search).
  82. Spoon in the sense of Tölpel: Christian Friedrich Bernhard Augustin : Remarks by an academic about Halle and its residents, in letters, along with an appendix, containing the statutes and laws of the Friedrich University, an idioticon of the boys 'language, and the so-called boys' comment . [Ernst], Germania [i. e. Quedlinburg] 1795, OCLC 53407999 , p. 405 ( scan in Google book search).
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  85. Hubertus Kudla (Ed.): Lexicon of Latin quotations: 3500 originals with translations and references. 3. Edition. CH Beck, 2001, ISBN 3-406-47580-9 , p. 359.
  86. ^ Duden - The big book of quotations and phrases , Dudenverlag, Mannheim-Leipzig-Vienna-Zurich 2002, ISBN 3-411-71801-3 .
  87. Lutz Röhrich: green. In: ders., Dictionary of proverbial idioms. Volume 1, 1st edition. Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 1991, p. 589.
  89. Christoph Wagener Proverbs Lexicon: with brief explanations , Quedlinburg (1813), page 140
  90. NN : (unknown). (XML) (No longer available online.) In: BR-Online . November 23, 2005, formerly in the original ; accessed on June 19, 2019 (no mementos ).  ( Page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /
  91. Explanation at
  92. Entry in Mundmische
  93. Duden entry
  94. Ewald Harndt: French in Berlin jargon . Stapp Verlag, Berlin 1977, 9th edition. 1987, ISBN 3-87776-403-7 , p. 41.
  95. Céline Moison: From Poland, Holland and old socks. ( Memento of November 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) In: Rencontres . February 22, 2008.
  96. ^ WDR : The broadcast with the mouse from February 22, 2009.
  97. Duden Volume 11: Redewendung , 3rd edition 2008, p. 631. Quotation of the indication of the meaning: “last place in a ranking”.
  98. rubles | Spelling, meaning, definition, origin . In: , accessed on February 24, 2019.
  99. Why is interest a problem? In: , accessed on February 24, 2019.
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  103. Source: Krüger-Lorenzen: German speeches.
  104. Scheme F. In: Walter Transfeldt: Word and Customs in Army and Fleet. Edited by Hans-Peter Stein. 9., revised. and exp. Edition. Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 3-440-81060-7 , p. 335.
  105. Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of the proverbial sayings. 3rd edition, p. 1333.
  106. The currently oldest evidence of this idiom in German can be found in Walter Gottschalk: French pupil language. Heidelberg, C. Winters Universitätsbuchhandlung (1931), p. 154.
  107. 1000 German idioms. With explanations and application examples. Langenscheidt, Berlin 1981, ISBN 3-468-43112-0 , p. 178.
  108. B. Brentjes: The invention of the domestic animal. Urania-Verlag, Leipzig / Jena / Berlin 1986, p. 64.
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  111. Christa Pöppelmann: Sayings & Proverbs - Origin, Meaning, Use . 3. Edition. Compact Verlag, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-8174-9966-3 , pp. 186 .
  112. br-online- Radio Knowledge Archive ( Memento from March 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  113. Borrowed from the Krieewelsch technical language of weavers and silk weavers
  114. (Not worth a shot of powder)
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  121. Lexicus, chapter Arguing about the emperor's beard. In:, accessed on May 18, 2017.
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  123. ^ Stefan Gottschling: Lexicon of the worlds of words. The How-To Book for Illustrative Writing. 2nd Edition. SGV-Verlag, Augsburg 2008, p. 64.
  124. a b c d e f water. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 27 : W – way [twittering] -zwiesel - (XIII). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1922, Sp. 2302-2303 ( ).
  125. ^ Stefan Gottschling: Lexicon of the worlds of words. The How-To Book for Illustrative Writing. 2nd Edition. SGV-Verlag, Augsburg 2008, p. 78.
  126. Lexicon of proverbial idioms : heaven, p. 2. Digital Library Volume 42: Lexicon of proverbial idioms, p. 2819 (cf. Röhrich-LdspR vol. 2, p. 715) Verlag Herder.
  127. Declaration GfdS -Sprachdienst. 1/11, p. 20.
  128. wikt: pull something out of someone's nose
  129. Barbara Boock: Children's song books 1770-2000. An annotated, illustrated bibliography . Folksong Studies, Volume 8, Waxmann Verlag, Münster 2007, ISBN 978-3-8309-1819-6 , p. 192 ( p. 192 )
  130. Cf. Junianus Justinus : Apple of contention. In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . Volume 20. Leipzig 1909, p. 851 ( ).
  131. ^ Markus Euskirchen: Military rituals. Analysis and criticism of an instrument of power (= PapyRossa-Hochschulschriften. Volume 59). PapyRossa, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-89438-329-1 (Zugl .: Berlin, Freie Univ., Diss., 2004).
  132. Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of the proverbial sayings. Volume 5. Freiburg i. Br. 1991, p. 1761; Lemma: "fence post"
  133. Cermordio. In: Lutz Röhrich: Lexicon of the proverbial sayings. Volume 5. Freiburg / Basel / Vienna 1994, p. 1769 f.
  134. ranting. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 31 : Z-Zmasche - (XV). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1956, Sp. 808-811 ( ).
  135. Tip the scales. (No longer available online.) In: May 10, 2010, archived from the original on April 9, 2014 ; accessed on May 9, 2019 (source and editor: AP).