I think my pig whistles! – 10 German Idioms in English


Something I never thought about is that every culture also has different sayings. I still use my German saying translated into English, my husband and I have a lot of fun with that. Very interesting is that some saying represents the culture also. Here are ten German expressions Americans should know when dealing with Germans.

1) Let’s get the cow off the ice! – Die Kuh vom Eis holen

I wish you could have seen his face when I told him that we have to get the cow off the ice. It means to solve a problem or to find a solution to a risky situation. When the problem is solved you say: “Now the cow is off the ice” In general Germans like Problem solving. We are known to like facts, figures and enjoy pragmatic analytical thinking.

2) Hold my thumbs for you! – Die Daumen druecken 

This is the German version of “I will keep my fingers crossed”. It means wishing someone luck. So Americans cross their fingers and Germans hold their thumbs.

In Germany crossed fingers means to swear a false oath.

3) Do you still have all your cups in the cabinet? – Hast du noch alle Tassen im Schrank?

Dear American friends, if I ever ask you this, I am not interested in your dishes. That’s the way of saying “Have you lost your marbles?” It is not really clear where this saying comes from. One interpretation refers to that the cupboard stands for the head and the cup for the mind. So it is like saying “Have you lost your mind?”

4) Now we have the Salad – Jetzt haben wir den Salat!

That describes a mess. . . It means to be in trouble.

5) Have you been living behind the moon? – Lebst du hinter dem Mond?

A person who lives behind the moon is someone who is out of touch with current events.

English Version -> Living under a rock

6) You go me on the cookie! – Du gehst mir auf den Keks!

You are driving me crazy

7) I think my pig whistles! – Ich glaub mein Schwein pfeift

That’s my favorite German saying in English. To make it clear there are no whistling pigs in Germany. It is just a way of saying “I don’t believe It”.

I like using illustrations for my blog. But it was a challenge to find a picture of a whistling pig on the internet. So I decided to draw it myself. Never in a million years, I thought that one day I would sit at my desk in America, drawing the whole day whistling pigs.

English Version -> Blow me down, I cannot believe it

9) Playing the insulted sausage –Die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen

Means to go off in a sulk

English Version -> Playing the prima donna

8) That’s sausage to me. – Das ist mir Wurst

This is a way of saying that you don’t care at all. It doesn’t matter.

10)  All has an end, only sausage has two ends – Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei

So everything has one end but a sausage has two ends. Meaning all good things must come to an end… So does this post today. I hope you had fun. I realized while writing that my culture talks a lot about pigs and sausages… If you liked this post today it would be nice if you leave me a comment. What is your favorite German saying in English?


7 thoughts on “I think my pig whistles! – 10 German Idioms in English

  1. Last weekend I read a comment from an American : ” the dress is so much fun”… How exactly can a dress be fun?


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