"Das Mittagessen ist weder Fisch noch Fleisch."

Translation:The lunch is neither fish nor fowl.

March 11, 2013



One of the correct translations listed is "... fish nor fowl". Can "fleisch" really mean "fowl" instead of the more broad "meat"?

March 11, 2013


I don't think so, as this is an idiom.

March 11, 2013


"Fleisch" cannot mean "fowl" on its own but "weder Fisch noch Fleisch" is an idiom in the same sense as "neither fish nor fowl", so here it's probably a bit confusing that is is used with something that's actually edible.

August 1, 2013


Both fowl and meat (Fleisch) are edible?

March 2, 2015


"Fowl" in this sense refers to birds/poultry, so yes; they're both edible. lol.

October 8, 2015


Related to "Vogel", presumably.

August 23, 2017


This was very confusing since duo normally gives me errors when I try translations that are more idiomatic than literally identical.

August 23, 2017


And this loose alliterative usage doesn't impress this vegetarian. It's likely not an edible lunch for the vegetarians.

January 7, 2017


It's a cheap and inaccurate alliteration. So lunch was sausage? No.

January 14, 2017


So in German is fish not considered meat?

July 31, 2014


Exactly. Mammals and birds are "meat".

July 31, 2014


Interesting. Thanks.

August 3, 2014


In a religous fasting period you are not allowed to eat meat, but you may eat fish. Hundreds of years ago, monks declared a beaver as a fish, so they could eat it.

January 6, 2017


Actually, in most regions fish is considered separate from meat for culinary purposes. It has a lot to do with both textures and flavors and what works best with what. There are also types of vegetarians that find fish acceptable. (Vegetarians, not vegans.)

June 21, 2017


In Sweden, fish is typically considered meat. A menu would have entries for "meat" (meaning beef and pork), "fowl" (or more probably "chicken") and "fish" but someone claiming to be vegetarian and still eat fish would be considered a bit weird (in the sense that that's not how the word is normally used).

Also, you can find people with exactly any combination of eating restrictions to that's difficult to base word distinctions on. (Personally, I'm apescetarian.)

August 23, 2017


Uhm in every language actually... lol.

August 17, 2014


I'm American and I consider fish meat. I think that's true for all English-speaking people.

In Korean, fish is literally "water meat".

August 19, 2014


I consider fish a type of meat, but it is not usually lumped together with "meat" because it is a different kind of meat. In fact, if both were being served at a meal, your host/hostess might well say, "Do you want fish or meat?"

BTW, I am American, too.

October 3, 2015



Up until a couple of generations a go, Catholics didn't eat meat on Fridays. As a consequence most institutions in the western world made a point of offering a meatless meal on Friday.

Everywhere that the restriction was honored, the alternative offered was a fish dish. Institutions that offered only one choice for every meal, always chose fish for every Friday serving. As a consequence it was routine to only offer fish options on Friday since that was the day they felt obligated to provide fish anyway.

Meatless Friday's were known as Fish Fridays. The custom was known throughout the English speaking world although some countries felt less bound by it than others.

June 14, 2016


Fish is not considered meat, traditionally, whether in the US or Britain.

The idiom itself derives from a longer idiom, "neither fish, nor fowl, nor good red herring." Monks abstained from meat, so they ate fish (in Catholic households, families still eat fish on Fridays for this reason, as fish is not meat); the wealthy ate meat; the poor ate red herring, a cheap fish. Something that was none of the three could not be easily categorized.

Fish also have specific rules for preparation and accompaniment that differ greatly from meat dishes.

October 25, 2015


I'm American and while, in the strictly technical sense, you're correct, for culinary purposes it is considered a separate thing. That's why they pair wines around them differently.

June 21, 2017


No, that's not true for all English-speaking people. In fact, you'll see separate "fish" and "meat" sections on many menus, and people who give up meat on Fridays for Lent (which a few decades ago was standard every Friday for Catholics) still eat fish.

Fish is "meat" in the sense that it is the muscle tissue of an animal, but from a culinary perspective, "fish" and "meat" are different categories.

July 16, 2017


I'm English-speaking and I wouldn't say fish is meat. If someone said we're having meat tonight and put fish on the plate, I'd be angry.

October 20, 2014


Is there a similar expression in your language? In Polish we say "ni pies, ni wydra" [neither dog nor otter]

July 1, 2014


in Czech 'ani ryba, ani rak' - 'neither fish, nor crawfish'

August 19, 2015


Croatian 'Ni riba ni meso' in Nominative (Neither fish nor meat)...i figured,as long as we're making a list

February 21, 2016


Same in Ukrainian!

December 6, 2018


Russian 'ни рыба ни мясо' - 'ni ryba ni mjaso' [neither fish nor meat]

October 3, 2014


о, говорящий на русском, таких редко здесь можно увидать.

May 15, 2019


Romanian "nici peşte, nici carne" (neither fish, nor meat)

May 26, 2015


Doch Fisch ist Fleisch...

July 4, 2015


Many, many, many people would disagree. You'd never find fish in the meat section of a menu, for example (or at least almost never). Instead, it gets its own section. Still, many people do consider fish to be meat, all the same. This is a rather divided topic, really. =P Personally, I wouldn't class fish as meat.

October 8, 2015


Help a non native English speaker, please. What does "neither fish nor fowl" means?

April 17, 2014


weil ich ein Vegetarier bin!

October 12, 2015


And to be grammatically correct, it is neither nor, not neither or! As it was in the example

October 21, 2015


So what does this idiom mean? No lunch?

April 1, 2015


Something cannot really be defined or assigned to a category.

April 1, 2015


I said "neither fish nor flesh" and it was marked wrong. I think the idiom is "neither fish nor fowl", but I think I have also heard it as "neither fish nor flesh."

September 30, 2015


I think the issue may be your use of the word "flesh" rather than "meat". Duo seems to prefer the latter.

February 18, 2019


As they should since the flesh of a grape or similar is not meat.

February 19, 2019


Ah! I completely forgot that "flesh" also refers to fruits, mushrooms, etc. Thanks!

February 20, 2019


I think Duo is trying to introduce us to an idiom here which exists both in German ('weder Fisch noch Fleisch') and in English ('neither fish nor fowl'). However, by relating it to a meal to begin with, it's made it a bit confusing. The idiom may have its origins in food and religion, as is discussed in great detail in the comments above, but its true meaning is '(the subject) is not easily categorized'; 'it is neither one thing nor another'; 'it falls easily into no category.'

I'm a native English speaker who once upon a time spoke German fairly well (meaning I knew the German idiom as well as the English), and yet I missed seeing the idiom in both languages. Because the subject is Mittagessen, I translated it as "the lunch is neither fish nor meat," which is a literal translation (and which was accepted by Duo.) I think the introduction of this idiom might have been more successful if it had been given in its simplest form of "Es ist weder Fisch noch Fleisch."

So no, 'Fleisch' does not mean "fowl." :-) They're just two parallel idioms which did not come down into modern speech exactly the same way.

May 10, 2018


"The lunch is neither fish nor fowl." is incorrect? Even though that is an idiom?

August 27, 2013


It is not easily recognizable.

May 8, 2014


If you were to just simply say "neither" would it just be "weder noch"?

June 30, 2014


"neither... nor" - "weder... noch" and "either... or" - "entweder... oder"

July 1, 2014


That wasn't the question. The question was what just "neither" by itself is. Like in the following:

Person A: "Is this a mouse or a rat?"

Person B: "Neither."

I'm curious to know the answer to this as well.

October 8, 2015


In your example (mouse or rat?) in response I'd say "keine" to mean "neither." You could say "keiner von ihnen" (neither of them) but that is just extra words.

December 3, 2015


Danke sehr. =) Das ist sinnvoll.

December 3, 2015


one cannot say "neither…or" in English.

August 5, 2015


Actually, come to think of it, I think I have heard it as "neither flesh nor fowl" which wouldn't fit this at all.

September 30, 2015


I said for the last part "neither fish nor meat" If they wanted fowl, why not use Vogel? Up until just now Fleisch meant meat.

February 24, 2017


From what I've gathered, it's just idiomatic weirdness. Fleisch in general does mean flesh or meat, not specifically from a type of animal.

February 24, 2017


what is the difference between weder and wieder?

May 14, 2017


Weder is "neither".

Wieder is "again".

May 14, 2017


I have being translating the word ""wieder" as neither and have been correct so far.

March 22, 2018


lunch oder luncheon - They are interchangable, alto adults share luncheon... kids have lunch, a picnic is lunch

September 14, 2017


Weird , fowl is a kind of meat, certainly is not a fruit or vegetable , so i read it as fish nor meat..

December 6, 2017


These 57 comments made my day!! The bottomline is that this is an idiom because Fleisch means meat or flesh. I couldn't find anywhere that it means "fowl".

January 20, 2018


We don't 'the lunch ' We just say lunch.

July 2, 2018



You don't say........the lunch. But some people do.

July 2, 2018


Gotsa be chicken, then!

October 19, 2018


what does Fowl mean ??

August 30, 2014


Fowl is just another word for Bird.

March 11, 2015


Indeed, it was the common word for all wild birds only 150 years ago. And of course domestic chickens for eggs or the table were known as fowl sixty years ago (before KFC and the like).

January 21, 2017


Why isn't 'The lunch consists of neither fish nor meat' a correct translation?

May 4, 2018


Why "Fleisch" not "flesh"?

August 6, 2018


the hint says: "weder Fisch noch Fleisch" together means "neither fish nor fowl". Alright I typed just the way DL says and guess what?? it was wrong :) I lost a heart.

September 23, 2013


cmmon ppl elementary - fish is not meat, tomato is not a fruit , calamari are not fish, pizza is not a burger -:))

November 24, 2017


You really want the world to he vegetarian, don't you? And I want everyone to listen to the Beatles every day

November 24, 2018
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