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German Proverbs and Idioms
Readers Contributions

Ein Sprichwort, a proverb or saying, is often a catchy way to learn and remember new vocabulary in German. The following proverbs, sayings, and idioms (Redewendungen) were contributed by our readers. Enjoy them, and then try our self-scoring quiz that lets you have fun matching the English and German versions.

Also see Favorite German Expressions, an article from your Guide with even more favorites from readers.

Proverbs and Idioms from Readers

  • Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.
    Everything has an end, only the sausage has two.
       - Contributed by B. Gillotti
  • Das hängt mir zum Hals heraus.
    I've had it up to here. / I'm sick of it.
       - Contributed by Cindy Oliver

  • Er hat einen dicken Kopf.
    He's got a hangover.
  • Er ist ein Dickkopf.
    He's stubborn (as a mule).
  • Kopf hoch!
    Chin up!
       - All contributed by Regina Baguette
  • Ich bin nicht von gestern.
    I wasn't born yesterday.
       - Contributed by Ron Boyce
  • Ich bin weg vom Fenster.
    I'm out of the picture.
  • Ich fahre mit dem Lumpensammler.
    I'm the last one outta here./I'm taking the last bus/train.
       - Contributed by Liz Caplan-Carbin
  • Er fällt immer mit der Tür ins Häuschen.
    He always gets right to the point/just blurts it out.
  • Das fällt aus dem Rahmen (des Üblichen)!
    That's something with a difference/out of the ordinary!
  • Sie fällt mir immer ins Wort.
    She's always interrupting me/butting in.
       - All contributed by Alfonso Villen
  • Die Lügen sind wie Schneebälle: je weiter man sie fortwälzt, desto größer werden sie.
    Lies are like snowballs: the farther they roll, the bigger they get.
       - Contributed by Janet Larsen
  • Man kann nicht über den eigenen Schatten springen.
    A leopard can't change his spots.
       - Contributed by R.H.
  • Sie spielt die beleidigte Leberwurst.
    She's playing the prima donna. / She gets in a huff.
       - Contributed by Sarah Claudino

Related Pages

German Proverb Quiz 1
A fun self-scoring quiz in which you match up the English and German version of some common sayings.

Favorite German Expressions
An article with even more favorites from readers.

Idioms: Talk Like a German
Our feature about German idioms and how they often differ from English.

Farbenfroh: Colorful Expressions
German idioms and expressions that include a color.

False Friends/Falsche Freunde
About those tricky false cognates in German and English.

German Quotation of the Day
"Das Zitat des Tages" is a daily quotation or saying in German and English.

Taking Things Too Literally
Don't assume that common expressions are the same in German and English! Guest feature with quiz.

German Newsletters
Subscribe to a free newsletter!

German Chat
Chat in German or about German!


German for Beginners
Our free online German course.

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