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Sayings belong to the established linguistic expressions ( phraseologisms ). Mostly they are pictorial expressions. However, the two terms are often used synonymously.

Grammatical Features

The linguist Lutz Röhrich describes proverbial idioms as word group lexemes . They do not stand on their own and have to be supplemented for use within a sentence. At least they lack the subject, such as B. with the phrase " waving the fence post ".

Sayings are not sentences, but predicative phrases. In collections they are always given in the infinitive form , e.g. B. "fishing in troubled waters". When completing the subject, they are bent accordingly, e.g. B. "He fishes in murky waters".


Phrase context meaning
Have a pig You may have had a pig! to be lucky
Bring it to an end Here I draw a line To end something
have eaten up something Has he messed up something again? have done something
Show your colors It's time to show your colors show which side you are on
have a sock shot He's got a sock shot not quite in your mind
to tie someone up with a bear A bear was tied to you to fool someone
in cahoots with someone You are both in cahoots! work with someone
have a board in front of your head You have a board in front of your head to not understand something

See also


  • Wilhelm Borchardt: The proverbial idioms in German vernacular explained according to meaning and origin. JA Brockhaus, Leipzig 1925, 6th edition. Complete edit again by Georg Schoppe, first edition 1888.
  • Wolfgang Hug: Know where Barthel gets the must. Small cultural history of winged words. Wochenschau Verlag (b | d edition), Schwalbach 2009, ISBN 978-3-941264-05-2 .
  • Rudolf Köster: DUDEN sayings. Origin and meaning. Bibliographisches Institut & FA Brockhaus, Mannheim 2007, ISBN 3-411-70502-7 .
  • Lutz Röhrich : The dictionary of proverbial sayings. Digital Library, Volume 42 (CD-ROM). Directmedia Publishing, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89853-442-1 .
  • Walter Schmidkunz : True wisdom - Bavarian-rural proverbs and sayings. Gebr. Richters publishing house, Erfurt 1936, DNB 575455144 .

Web links

Commons : Sayings  - collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: phrase  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1.; Erl% C3% A4utert & method = simpleSearch accessed November 21, 2017.