Funny Incidents with Figures of Speech

A pretty funny figure of speech (dt: Redewendung) “sich auf die Socken machen”.
It means something along the lines of “to get going”.

Somebody I know, upon hearing this phrase by her conversational partner, started looking at her socks, checking to see what could possibly be wrong with them for suddenly being mentioned mid conversation.
Only when her friend started waving and left did she realize it must have been some sort of cue to say goodbye.

Have you ever experienced a similar situation in which you misheard or did not understand a figure of speech?
Or is there a figure of speech you find quite amusing or interesting?


I know exactly what you mean :smiley: I think that “jemanden auf den Keks gehen” oder “jemanden auf die Nerven gehen” are quite funny if you try to translate it in any language :smiley:


A female Swiss German colleague had bought a coffee cup decorated with fur. I didn’t know this at the time but she came up to me and said “Rhys, have you seen my furry cup”. If you know what this phrase means in British Slang you’ll understand why I nearly spat my coffee out.


I feel like the german figures of speech often contain some kind of weird reference to violence or misfortune, which is quite funny in my opinion :smile: Just as “Hals und Beinbruch!” (Break a leg) or “etwas mit Hängen und Würgen schaffen” (to achieve smth. while struggling) or “den Vogel abschießen” (to shoot the bird = being succesful), just to mention a few examples.


Many years ago, when I was still in high school, I was invited to a birthday party at a friend’s house. His house was a bit difficult to find so he wrote directions in the invitation. It read “gegenüber vom Protzerhotel einbiegen” (turn into the street opposite the “Protzerhotel”) or something along those lines.

Now of course, at the time I had no idea what Protzer meant, and I assumed the hotel was called “Hotel Protzer” or something. I walked around for ages and couldn’t find it. There was only one hotel in that town so I decided to ask at reception: “Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen wo ich das Protzerhotel finde? Oder Hotel Protzer? Ich kenne mich hier nicht aus…”
The woman at reception looked at me like I was joking, and upon realising that I was serious, she laughed and told me that the street I was looking for was across the road. Still confused, I thanked her and left.

I arrived at my friend’s house and explained why I was late. He couldn’t stop laughing and apologised for assuming I knew what he meant. Turns out, Protzerhotel is a pretty rude way to describe a “swanky 5 star hotel”. Made sense why reception was so surprised by my question :joy: