20 Popular German Expressions - And What They Mean

20 Popular German Expressions – And What They Mean [Infographic]

German is a language that scares many non-native speakers as it can appear complex and confusing. With proper instruction and practice, however, this widely-used language can be easy and fun to learn.

One of the keys to learning German–or any new language for that matter– is to look past the typical travel dictionaries and absorb some of the more common expressions or idioms that are used throughout daily life. Getting familiar with typical German expressions will help you better communicate with others when travelling to a German-speaking country.

Check out the infographic below highlighting the 20 most common German expressions.

German Sayings Infographic

These German expressions are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg where German idioms are concerned. Learning these expressions and others like them can make the difference between feeling like a tourist and “one of the locals.”

Oftentimes, only private lessons afford one the opportunity to learn a language to this extent. It’s well worth the extra effort, however, when it helps you become more understanding of the culture. Did we miss any common expressions? Let us know in the comments below!


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Photo by Trey Ratcliff

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6 replies
  1. Janice
    Janice says:

    With number 8 you guys made a mistake. The picture shows to guys lying to each other and crossing their finger behind their backs. Germans have that expression too: Die Finger hinter dem Rücken kreuzen. It means that when you lie you make that sign secretly because you know you are lying. But if you “Daumen drücken” then you hope for the best, you wish your favorite sports team would win for ex. It’s the exact same thing as keeping your fingers crossed in English. And has nothing to do with lying.

  2. Daniela
    Daniela says:

    In 15 is a mistake too:

    Da ist der Hund begraben.
    there’s nothing going on or a boring place

    Sorry, i am German – my english is not good.

  3. Hillary Ernzer
    Hillary Ernzer says:

    I counted 3 spelling errors, not to mention #15 is still wrongly interpreted. If you are going to “teach” someone things in a foreign language, the least you could do is spell things accurately. People count on that when they are learning! (#3- …setzen; #14- …auf…; #18 …loben)


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