"Du machst aus einer Mücke einen Elefanten."

Translation:You are making a mountain out of a molehill.

January 11, 2014

62 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Huck24

I suppose this phrase could mean "Making a big deal out of nothing"...

January 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FabianoBrazil

In Portuguese we say "Você está fazendo tempestade em copo d'água", which has the same meaning but literally means "your making a thunderstorm inside a glass of water". =)

September 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maurher27

In Spanish it's the same idiom "hacer una tormenta en una vaso de agua"

November 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kpas
  • 1648

Yes, that's what it means.

January 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JackYakov

then "much ado about nothing" should be accepted

April 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WinterDenni

Except that the "nothing" in the title of that play is actually a euphemism for what lies between a lady's legs... so the idiom doesn't actually mean what people think it does.

July 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melarish

According to Wikipedia, it means both ;)

April 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeidenElwood

Oh? I didn't know that. Quite interesting.

September 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamanthaCruz4

That still makes sense cause that's literally what it's about XD

March 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/heshamwhite

Your translation are better than the one BL gave

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Huck24

Thanks, I think my translation is rather more 'universal' whereas Duolingo's is more dialect specific.

February 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cheekymonkey

making a mountain out of a molehill is used a lot in England, and as this is a section on idioms, this is the english idiom

April 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/victoria906049

But "making a big deal out of nothing" is still an idiom, right? "Big deal" is not a literal phrase, and "out of nothing" is at the very least hyperbole.

March 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/14rfe

or "crying over spilt milk"

November 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Valestellarium

A fact: In spanish (In Chile, at least) we say "te estás ahogando en un vaso de agua" (You're drowning in a glass of water) which basically means the same.

January 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gcbomfim

In Portuguese we say: "“Não faça tempestades num copo d’'água”", which comes close (Don't make rainstorms in a cup of water) but means the same thing

February 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/larochejaquelein

This sounds closer to another similar English idiom--a "tempest in a teacup."

March 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sam.vimes.

I'd say a storm in a teacup but yeah

July 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Archirex

I'm guessing that's British English. I haven't heard it in America, but I do hear new idioms that are apparently common every once in a while

March 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZoeCannon

I've heard "tempest in a teapot" in America, just not the "teacup" version.

June 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eehlex

"tempest in a teapot" - I like that! We say ''storm in a teacup" mostly in my family (S.E. England)

January 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beidolla

You are right, we do not say that in USA. It's a little hard to keep up with idioms. For example, my husband is learning Spanish and it is DEF NOT the same as Latin American Spanish; this is rather from Spain.

December 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Konrad-Michal

In Polish we say: Robisz z igły widły, which means You are making a pitchfork of a needle.

January 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ilmolleggi

Yeah in Italian we have the same saying "affogare in un bicchier d'acqua", but I wouldn't say it means that. I would explain it as "freaking out after the first small difficulty". On the other hand there is a saying similar to the English one "La montagna ha partorito un topolino" = "the mountain has given birth to a little mouse" which means that waht was supposed to be a great, grand result actually turns out to be nothing but a trifle.

December 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexMcMorran

It didn't accept "You're blowing it out of proportion" which I think is an equivalent idiom.

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SusanBraddock

It is, but less of an idiom than making a mountain out of a molehill, which is a very common phrase

February 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/richardchyan

I've never heard that phrase in my life, must be a regional thing

February 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatriciaJH

I heard it a lot growing up in the Northeast US, and would have thought it was really common, but now you mention it, I can't think when I last heard someone say it.

March 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bush6984

That's what I said: "you're blowing it out of proportion." I've never heard anything about a mountain or molehill before. I don't even know what a molehill is. (Central Ohio, all my life, lest regionality be concerned)

March 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatriciaJH

A molehill is what moles make when they burrow underground. Very annoying in a lawn. Here's google images on molehills -- and I'm amused to see that the very first images are illustrations of this sentence: http://tinyurl.com/nwqd9j2

March 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Archirex

We have plenty of anthills in NE Ohio, and I've heard the phrase. I always just think of anthills.

March 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/StephenJac15

Literal meaning is not the same as idiom... If you get my drift...

September 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mrsparadox

So why is "You make a mountain out of a molehill" wrong, then?

February 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marej90

English has a present continuous form; German does not. In English, "you make" and "you are making" would be used differently. The present simple ("You make...") would refer to habitual/regular action and not action happening at the moment. For example: "She sells seashells" = This is her profession/regular activity. "She is selling seashells" = She is doing this action while we are speaking -- i.e., she is by the seashore right now, selling seashells. Or, this is a temporary action, e.g., she is selling seashells, while completing her MBA/studies. The present continuous form ("You are making…") is correct here because it would refer to an action that is happening at the moment -- or to temporary action, and not habitual action.

July 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EliRath

I know some people who make a habit of finding mountains in molehills...

September 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kimberlytylr

I think I have heard it as 'you are making' more often, but your answer should be correct, too.

February 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tinyweasel

It shouldn't accept the literal translation in some cases and not others.

February 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kornijacica

Croatian: you are making an elephant out of a fly

March 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kibbler

Why "Elefanten"? That is plural, yes? But the phrase is "einen Elefanten".

January 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NovKF

Elefant becomes Elefanten in every case except nom. sg.

January 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gorn61

It is accusative singular (masculine).

January 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LoesVanBos

"You are making a fuss about/over nothing"?

May 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katie.frav

I am from the northwest US and it's actually a pretty common saying.

July 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lgarratt2

At first I thought this was "making a silk purse out of a sow's ear" but then I realised the size difference and guessed correctly with mountain out of a molehill. Question - is it always given that you can say "Du machst aus <dative object 1> <accusative object 2>"? IE Du machst aus einem Baum ein Bein?

February 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bush6984

What does making a silk purse out of a sow's ear mean? I've never heard that before. (Native English speaker, Ohio)

March 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alliekitt

It means you can't make something nice out of terrible raw materials. I've only really heard it used in terms of describing an ugly tasteless woman who has tried and failed to make herself beautiful. (Native English-English speaker, UK)

April 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kayla_pruett

In the US south, we call that "putting lipstick on a pig".

June 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tomai_ziel

POLISH: robisz z igły, widły

March 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gilergil

In czech we say: děláš z komára velblouda (making a camel out of a mosquito).

April 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DorotaJarosz

Which literally translated means: Making a needle into a garden fork.

March 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lily_Owen

It does not accept "You are making a mosquito out of an elephant" but then one of the "correct solution" was exactly that. Word for word I ❤❤❤❤ you not.

March 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DorotaJarosz

If anything, it should be "making a mosquito INTO an elephant."

March 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lily_Owen

yes that is what I meant to say. Point is, it was not accepted when it should have been

March 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sonne_G

In Chinese, it's 小题大做

March 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rycbaroxide

It should be xiǎo tí dà zuò...

May 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sonne_G

Thank you. i haven't used Pinyin for so long, almost forget how to use it. I should really start to learn Chinese from the very beginning.lol

May 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V_Gabor

Hungarian version translates to:

You make an elephant out of a mouse.

March 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FitzChivalry

I think "...out of a flea" is more common ^^

February 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ionosuke

the first using that expression was Lucian of Samosata (125 AC-180AC) in his work "Praising a fly". In the original work (written in ancient greek), after a long praising, he says: "Although I can say much more, I better stop now because someone could say that I try to make an elephant of a fly".

May 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/avsinn

In Russian we say the same: "делаешь из мухи слона"

May 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sule1981

there is a close using in Turkish: "pireyi deve yapmak" which means making a flea a camel. There is also an idiom about the stormy(!) glass of water: "bir bardak suda fırtına koparmak"

December 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChikNuggets

Does anyone have the literal translation?

March 26, 2018
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.