German sayings or proverbs

Hey dear students.
German people love to use proverbs or sayings in their daily life. Most of them sound strange for German learners.
Here are my favorite ones:

  • Der lebt hinter dem Mond.
  • Liebe geht durch den Magen.
  • Die Kuh vom Eis holen.
    Do you have any idea what those sayings could mean?
    If not, just have a look on
    Here you can find a lot of other very common sayings and their meanings.

Some day in the future, we’ll talk about dialectal sayings. They are even less understandable but also used frequently :wink:


@SKrausser I also love sayings and how different they are in different languages. Here’s some of my favourites:

Ich drücke dir die Daumen is literally “I squeeze my thumbs for you”. In English it would be “I keep my fingers crossed”.

Auf Wolke 7 sein/schweben while in English you’re on cloud 9. Not sure how German speakers and English speakers manage to fall in love when they’re on two different clouds.

Das ist mir Wurst, literally means “this is sausages to me”. Germans express like this that they don’t really care about something. For example as a response to the questions “What do you want to do tonight?”

Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof is used to express that you don’t understand what the other person is telling or explaining you. Not sure why “I only understand train station” is used for this. Does actually anyone know this? Or has an idea where this comes from?


It’s not absolutely sure where “ich verstehe nur Bahnhof” comes from. But it seems that it came up at the end of WWI when German soldiers returned home from the battlegrounds.


I can totally feel you guys!

My favorite german sayings are:

Von 12 bis mittags denken (thinking from 12 to midday)
man denkt nur von der Wand bis zur Tapete (thinking from the wall to the wallpaper)

Good old quotes from my Grandparents :smile:


My personal favorite is “Den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht sehen” :evergreen_tree::evergreen_tree::evergreen_tree::evergreen_tree:
(miss the forest for the trees)


Yes, that is right, the soldiers couln´t think of nothing else than going home, so the Bahnhof means “going home” for them, the only thing that matters at that moment, so it was the only word they could understand, and the meaning stays as the only word you can understand.


Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund. Morning hour has gold in its mouth. -> ‘the days’ mornigs are precious and have special gifts to offer.
Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm. The early bird catches the beetle -> the ones who rise early find what they need as opposed to the ones who stay in late :wink:

Lass die Kirche im Dorf.
Halt den Ball flach. Do not exaggerate, stay calm

Einen kühlen Kopf bewahren. Keep a cool head.

Kommt Zeit kommt Rat. Time will tell.


One of my favourites is:
Mir fällt ein stein vom herzen - A stone falls from my heart - In English this might be translated as ‘I feel like a weight has been lifted’


I adore the saying Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen. It literally means no master has fallen from the sky before, ie. you can’t expect to be great at something without any practice. This is helpful to remember on a bad day when you feel like you’re not making progress :slight_smile:


Did you ever hear the expression “etwas verlottern lassen”?

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" Du hast ja nicht mehr alle Tassen im Schrank"


Thanks so much, I appreciate that jajajajajajaja


That means “to go to waste” SKrauser
…but actually I haven’t heard that in a while :thinking:
What about “etwas durchsickern lassen”…have you heard that before?
It means "to allow information to get out/spread


It means more like “not to care about something”, for example if your car is full of garbage and not cleaned for a while.
Yes, “etwas durchsickern lassen” means to reveal (confidential) information, especially to the media.


Yep, that’s true…talking about “verlottern lassen”… reminds me my car :wink:


By the way: Anyone of you knows the word “Lettagschwätz” (Lettengeschwätz)? Okay, it’s a very swabian word with the literal meaning “Latvian talk”.
But it refers to something absolutely not understandable, similar to “das kommt mir Spanisch vor”.

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And have you ever heard this one?


Very true Stefanie :+1:…esp. in Berlin there are still a lot of places where you can only pay cash :moneybag:. I guess that’s very annoying for tourists who are used to paying with credit card :neutral_face:
@correctionswelcome …in case you disagree or find a multitude of mistakes…talking about my English :wink:


Jimmy, those are hilarious!

Use something more posh like: " Nobel geht die Welt zugrunde!" I wouldn’t even know how to translate this properly but it cumulates into some criticism about hedonistic and opportunistic world views. Like lets waste, party, spend and be decadent until we fuck up everything… it also fits within another saying: “Nach uns die Sintflut” = what do I care about any consequences my behavior has for anybody (myself included) just as long as I am having a good time…
I actually prefer when Germans are being more humble and thoughtful. God knows they should be…
I also like “von Pontius zu Pilatus rennen!” (=putting a lot of effort, time, energy and maybe some ass licking to make something happening that probably wasn’t worth it
“Der Arsch geht mir auf Grundeis” = shit’s going south

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