Funny German Idioms and Expressions

How many German idioms are you familiar with? German may have a reputation as a complex and serious language, but, in fact, there are many idioms and expressions that are quite humorous. Using idioms in your conversations will help you relate to people better, because they add an aspect of playfulness to your exchanges. Check out these sentences, and then hop on over to Yabla’s German lessons and videos for more examples.

Here are 10 of the funniest idioms in German

Er geht mir auf den Keks / Er geht mir auf den Sack.
Literal translation: He goes on my cookie / He goes on my bag.
Actual meaning: He annoys me.

German Idiom about cookie
Kekse… not just a dessert when used in this funny German idiom!

Das Projekt ist im Eimer.
Literal translation: The project is in the bucket.
Actual meaning: The project is over/ruined.

Hier ist tote Hose.
Literal translation: It is dead trousers here.
Actual meaning: There is nothing going on here.

Ich habe die Nase voll. / Ich habe die Schnauze voll.
Literal translation: My nose is full.
Actual meaning: I’m fed up.

German idiom: being fed up
Ich habe die Nase voll is a German idiom related to frustration.

Funny idioms about cats, pigs and… sausages!

Kein Schwein war da.
Literal translation: Not a pig was there.
Actual meaning: Not a single person was there.

Das ist mir Wurst.
Literal translation: That is sausage to me.
Actual meaning: That doesn’t matter to me.

Ich habe einen Kater. / Ich habe Muskelkater.
Literal translations: I have a tomcat. / I have a muscle tomcat.
Actual meanings: I have a hangover. / I have sore muscles.

German Idiom about cat
The German idiom Ich habe einen Kater actually means “I have a hangover.”

German idioms related to the head and ears

Sie hat ihm einen Floh ins Ohr gesetzt.
Literal translation: She put a flea in his ear.
Actual meaning: She put a thought/wish in his head.

Halt die Ohren steif.
Literal translation: Keep your ears stiff.
Actual meaning: Stay strong. / Keep your chin up.

Er hat einen Vogel.
Literal translation: He has a bird.
Actual meaning: He’s crazy.

To learn more German phrases, check out our Yabla language learning platform, and discover a new world through videos currently circulating in German culture. Our range of videos, all featuring native speakers, includes news reports, music videos, movies, documentaries, interviews, TV shows, lessons, and much more.

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