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10 useful German expressions!

Hello dear German learners,
Bellow, I've listed 10 useful German expressions or proverbs I think are good to know. I hope they come handy.

jdm. die Daumen drücken = to keep one’s fingers crossed for someone

Aller Anfang ist schwer. = All beginnings are hard.

Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund. = The early bird catches the worm.

Übung macht den Meister. = Practice makes perfect.

Wer A sagt, muss auch B sagen. = As you make your bed, so you must lie in it.

Ich bin fix und fertig. = I am exhausted.

das ist bescheuert! = That’s ridiculous.

das ist mir Wurst. = What do I care?

Ich habe die Nase voll davon. = I’m sick of it.

Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof = It’s all Greek to me.

alles Gute, Heschmat

April 20, 2016



Very interesting. I've always thought that "Ich bin fix und fertig" meant "I'm all set and ready to go" or something like that.

A check in dictionaries suggests both, rather different, meanings are correct. I wonder if it is regional or generational or something else.


Consulting with a German native speaker, 'ich bin fix und fertig.' ONLY implies 'I am done/exhausted.' :-)


It's possible to think of a context where it could mean what DeeRamm suggests. My wife might ask Können wir gehen? (Can we go now?) if we're preparing to leave the house together, and I might reply Ich bin fix und fertig -- ich warte nur auf dich (I'm all set, just waiting for you).


the usual meaning is only "I'm exhausted". But if want to you say something close to an expression (Ich bin fertig = I'm ready to go / I finished sth.) you can use the expression (fix und fertig). It's a kind of light humor in the speaking. Then it means "I'm ready to go / I finished sth." depends on the context.
Also it is possible to "joke" in a conversation: Bist du fertig ? (have you finished?) - Ja, fix und fertig! (means: I didn't finish yet, but I'm exhausted)


My wife is German, and Ich bin fix und fertig is probably one of our most used phrases - always meaning, I'm exhausted! It was one of those phrases I learned early on and just liked saying, and frequently heard her family say it as well.

For what it's worth, she's from NRW in the North West!


I have no idea if it is saying, but I think Duolingo's "Wissenschaft schafft Wissen" (science creates knowledge) sounds rather good!


Your welcome. I am not sure if it's really a saying. I guess it's just a quasi mnemonic approach of Duolingo to help it stick in the mind. :-)


Love the "Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof". Somehow reminds me of "I speak conductor" in How I met your mother.

Thanks for the list.


Interesting site. It seems to me those are all literal translations. Thus, "Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof," is translated as, "I only understand train station". Where's the "it's Greek to me" bit? (not complaining to you: I assume you are not the site's author. ^^ )

On the other hand, it is an extremely extensive list of German sayings, the likes of which I've never seen.

I also suggest that the translation on which the title of the site is based, "Ich denke ich spinne" <-> "I think I spider", is wrong. The word Spinne (f) is indeed spider, but the saying is probably using the conjugated form of spinnen, ich spinne. So I think I (am) spin(ning) is the more correct literal translation. And of course, that really should be, "I think I'm going/must be crazy," or something similar.

That makes much more sense, as spiders do seem a little wonky as they spin their webs. Or if you spin me around until I'm dizzy, it's a little crazy. But "I think I spider?" hmmm.

On a similar thread, it would seem I have spun a yarn here for you. ^.^


Yes, the main purpose of that site is to be a bit silly, rather than to teach. I've seen such phrases (literally translated into English from German) on novelty greeting cards. The idea seems to be that a German gives it to a German, who at first doesn't make sense of the English until they realise what it means in German.

But I think it illustrates well the absurdity of many idioms. There's also a (smaller) section on there for English>German translations, which at first glance look perfectly reasonable! But presumably a German reading them would be confused. Like you pointed out with Spinne vs spinne though, some of the 'literal translations' seem to be making intentional mistakes to make it sound even sillier.


Thanks! They're good!


I am currently living in Germany and learning the language as I am here. I laughed when I read "Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof", because it was one of the first phrases I learned here. Another incredibly popular one I always hear is "es ist wie es ist"

Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading this!


Danke! Nice job. I will remember these


Thanks! It is very interesting! Some of them I knew which was a nice confidence booster and some of them I didn't so I learned something new.


I learned many unprintable expressions when I lived in Berlin. But I can relate a story. Someone had done a really weird painting of a lady we knew. Most people kindly said nothing, but one person studied it a few minutes, then walked away muttering "das ist grausam!".


Doesn't "das ist mir Wurst" literally mean "it's sausage to me"?


Literally, yes.


literally yes, but when someone says: " das ist mir alles Wurst!", it means "I don't care about any of that!"


Danke, Heschmat. Ausgezeichnet!


das ist ja super


Deine Deutsch ist gut!


vielen Dank @tessaneedham11. Übung macht den Meister. ;-)


Just a warning: don't believe it :-) Practice makes permanent. If you practice something wrong, you'll move away from perfection rather than towards it.


fair enough, I always say 'deliberate practice makes perfect!', and the key word is, of course, 'deliberate.'


dein deutsch ist gut. woher kommst du.


Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm also exists in german.

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