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Streetwise German - German Idioms

Alles ist im gruenen Bereich. Almost every day in Germany you will hear this German idiom describing some situation or another. A colloquial phrase that could be referring to anything, from successfully filling the gas tank without maxing out the credit card, baking a cake or booking a flight to some sub-tropical island.

"Alles ist im gruenen Bereich": literally 'Everything is in the green area' and meaning Everything is under control.

Used by native speakers to cover just about every situation, idioms in German are heard in all social circles and circumstances, while idiomatic expressions are used in conversation as well as throughout the media and literature.

Streetwise, colloquial German.

As with all languages some German expressions can be meaningless, even bizarre, if taken word for word, but are used to represent something: a feeling, a description, almost anything.

While, as idioms make up a major part of every day speech in Germany, they are sometimes a little confusing for anyone who has never heard them before and has no idea what they mean.

With their origins lying in its history, literature, religion and traditions, a country's colloquial expressions indicate a great deal about the community's way of thinking, so with Kein Aber - 'No But' - No 'ifs', 'ands' or 'buts', here to enjoy, and give you an insight into the German language and its people, are some of the most common sayings used in every day speech throughout Germany.


Achtung, Fertig, Los - Ready, set, go - On your mark, ready, go

Definitely not flattering:

Then there is:



And another favorite German phrase "aus einer Muecke einen Elefanten machen" - 'to make an elephant out of a mosquito' - to make something seem much bigger/more important than it is.



Just a few of the many idioms you will come across in colloquial German, but perhaps not all in one day.

Hope you enjoy them and that they give you some insights into Germany and Germans, and when you hear or even want to use one you will then..."Eine zusaetzliche Wurst haben" - 'Have an extra sausage' - Have an advantage.

And will not have to think "Da bin ich ueberfragt" - 'I have been over asked' - Hmmm, now there you have got me!



Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad is a great book which has made me laugh out loud many times. It is absolutely timeless, the observations are insightful and witty while, to someone beginning to study German, his piece 'The Awful German Language' could be as relevent today as when it was written.
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