Deutsche Redewendungen - German idioms

As you are progressing in you way to perfect German, you may notice that in German we have many many idioms or Redewendungen.

Here I have a little bunch of them. Can you find out their meaning and origin?

  • 08/15 (“null - acht - fünfzehn”)
  • Da steppt / tanzt der Bär!
  • Ein Brett vor dem Kopf haben.
  • Hier herrscht dicke Luft.
  • Einem geschenkten Gaul schaut man nicht ins Maul.
  • Mein Name ist Hase, ich weiß von nichts.
  • Kleinvieh macht auch Mist.

Enjoy the research :wink: or just guess (even better :laughing:)


Here you have a great explanation about the origin of the expression 'mein Name ist Hase, ich weiß von nichts. “Woher kommt diese deutsche Redewendung? | Karambolage | ARTE” en YouTube

I don’t know if you know Arte, but they produce little videos about the German and French culture, history, gastronomy , language, curiosities… sometimes they even make comparisons with both cultures too! Very interesting and informative! :blush: :blush:


Hi @Bea94, great explanation thanks for the arte link. As a German I really thought the idiom referred to the animal lol :wink:


You are welcome, @Germanlady! It’s always a pleasure to share knowledge within the community! :blush:


@Bea94 wow, I didn’t know that this is the origin! Thanks a lot for that explanation link! :star_struck:


You are very welcome! :blush:

The more time I spend tutoring German and reading the forum posts, the more I realise that I don’t know half as much about the language as I thought :see_no_evil:


Haha… Look, even me as a native speaker don’t know everything. :sweat_smile:

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German idioms can be really funny, if you take it literally haha :smiley:
Especially “Da wird der Hund in der Pfanne verrückt!” or “Ich glaub’, mein Schwein pfeift!” :slight_smile:


When i moved to Germany, one of the idioms that surprised me the most was: “Ich spreche nur Spanisch”. If i remember correctly, this one is used for actually saying that you don’t understand anything of a language. I’m spanish and at that time i couldn’t speak much german. My colleagues at work used to make fun of me saying that. Funny times haha

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Jajajajajaja, true, “ich verstehe nur Spanisch” means "I don’t understand anything at all!


I grew up with “Das kommt mir spanisch vor” meaning I don’t understand. Exactly @SKrausser and @pedrogalher
Funny enough an English speaking student told me that the equivalent saying in English goes “this is all greek to me” :joy: