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  5. The Devil in it's various la…


The Devil in it's various language formations. ...



The Devil is an important figure in Scotland, as a wealth of proverbs, placenames and nicknames go to show.

In Scotland there are many a word from the Devil to describe geographically.

It would be lovely to see how it can be translated into German and also to discover if the Devil is also a cultural aspect to the German language.



May 17, 2018



He sure is used in many proverbs, here is a list:


Some alternative words: "der Leibhaftige", "Satan", "Beelzebub", "Luzifer", "Pferdefuß", "Deibel / Deiwel", "Antichrist", "Mephistoles".

There are many places where the devil has been "seen", one example:





It was so informative that I have included it so as to remember

Thank you




Years ago in high school, we were taught "Du bist des Teufels!" meant "You're crazy!".


My two favourites are:

Den Teufel an die Wand malen
or as an indicative negation: Mal den Teufel nicht an die Wand!
To draw the devil on the wall and
Don't draw the devil on the wall!

Which means to
Anticipate something bad before it actually happens and
Don't speak about/believe/imagine something bad beforehand


Wenn man vom Teufel spricht ... [dann kommt er]
Litteraly: When you speak about the devil ... [than he's coming]

Which means:

Speaking with someone about a person you don't like, who is mean or who you can't stand - and in that very moment he/she just appears around the corner or enters the room etc...


I love that first one.

The second would be the same as the English expression "Speak of the devil and he shall appear", usually shortened to "Speak of the devil".

  • 1255

I never understood the German idiom In der Not frisst der Teufel Fliegen for "Beggars can't be choosers". Can someone explain this to me?

Danke. Ich würde es wirklich schätzen. Or, is Ich würde das wirklich zu schätzen wissen more appropriate? Oder?


I had to look up this phrase and there is no certainty where it comes from. However, there is a rumour..

In the Aramaic language the devil is literally called "Lord of the flies". So, when we say "In der Not frisst der Teufel die Fliegen" then we see no other way to do something although we don't like it. In the case of the devil, he would "eat" his own subjects if it needs to be.


Well, word for word it is "(when) in need the devil feeds on flies". I guess usually he is some kind of vampire and only compromises to an insect diet when there is no other choice? As the devil causes everything around him to rot, he is surrounded by flies, thus, they are an easy option.

"... zu schätzen wissen" is better imo.

  • 1255

Danke sehr. Maybe now I can remember it now that I have a picture of it in my mind.


" Ich würde es wirklich schätzen" Not really correct. (Actually the sentence is correct, but means something entirely different: "I would truly estimate it." / "I really would make a guess.". (Like when asked about a number or measurement which you don't know precisely)

You could say "Ich würde es wirklich wertschätzen", but that is very dated. "Ich würde es begrüßen" is much more common and appropriate.


any one up for giving out social media want help with understanding some of the german terms an the usage of the vocabulary

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