37 Casual German Expressions You Are Going To Want To Use Daily

37 Casual German Expressions You Are Going To Want To Use Daily

So you’re finally going to visit Germany. Do you have your passport? Airplane ticket? Hotel booking? A list of German expressions to learn?

If you are going to be traveling to Germany, or another area where German is commonly spoken, you should make sure that – along with common German words, you also learn common German expressions.

German speakers have a number of unique words and phrases that they use to express themselves and make their feelings known. Because native speakers use these expressions “automatically”, without thinking too hard about “what they really mean”, you will hear them a lot.

 You would be smart to make sure that you learn a few common German expressions before your travels. 

Why do you need to learn German expressions?

German, like many languages, has a number of unique words and phrases that don’t really directly translate to other languages. 

German speakers will use certain expressions, idioms, and slang terms to convey certain thoughts and ideas – the actual meaning of these terms will be clear to a native speaker but could confuse someone who didn’t grow up speaking German.

Knowing the meaning and rules of usage of common German expressions, like the ones we are about to list down below, is important if you want to be able to follow along and hold conversations with native German speakers. 

11 casual German expressions you can use every day

The German expressions below are short, sweet, and informal phrases you will hear every day. German speakers will use these phrases to express themselves and so can you.

Take note, however, that some of the words that we are about to list below are considered casual and informal. While they are still considered “polite” and shouldn’t offend anyone, maybe stick to the formal versions in certain situations – like meeting someone important or when doing business.

1. Wie geht est

Translation: How’s it going?

Meaning: How are you? 

This is a casual way to greet your friends in German or to acknowledge someone you were just introduced to. 

2. Bis bald!

Translation: See you soon!

Meaning: Bye

This is a casual way that you can say goodbye to someone in German.

3. Mach’s gut

Translation: Take it easy

Meaning: Bye

This is a casual German expression used to say “goodbye”.

4. Bis dann!

Translation: See you then!

Meaning: Later!

This is another casual way to say “goodbye” in German. If you and a friend are parting now but have made plans to meet up later, you can use this to bid them farewell.

5. Das macht nichts

Translation: Nevermind

Meaning: That’s okay

You can use this German phrase when you want to tell someone that things are “okay” and you are not offended or mad about a situation. 

6. Nicht der Rede wert

Translation: Don’t mention it

Meaning: A casual response to “thank you”

You can use this to say that you don’t mind doing someone a favor. It’s a casual German expression that is an alternative to “you’re welcome”. 

7. So ein Pech!

Translation: Bad luck!

Meaning: Bad luck!

You can use this German expression to express pity or sympathy for someone in a bad situation. Or as an exclamation to say that you are not happy with a situation.

8. Viel Glück!

Translation: Good luck!

Meaning: Good luck!

This is another casual way of saying “goodbye”. If you are wishing someone who is leaving to go for say, take a test, you can call out to them “viel glück!” It is also an exclamation of pleased surprise, similar to “I’m happy for you!”

9. Darf ich mal vorbei?

Translation: May I pass by?

Meaning: Coming through

This is a common German phrase that you will hear as you navigate a crowded street or room. This is basically the equivalent of saying “excuse me” when you are trying to get past someone. It should get them to move a little so you can get by.

10. Guten Appetit!

Translation: Good appetite!

Meaning: Let’s eat!

You might hear this when dining out with a German speaker. This is basically a polite way of saying that you can begin enjoying your food.

11. Heiliger Strohsack!

Translation: Holy straw sack

Meaning: Holy smokes!

This is an exclamation of surprise. If a German speaker is startled by someone or something, they might say this. Or they might use a German swear word. 

15 one word German expressions to use daily

Why use several words to express yourself when you can convey so much with a short exclamation? 

The following German expressions consist of just one word but are used often because they are useful in a variety of situations.

1. Achtung!

Translation: Attention

Meaning: Heads up

This is a simple German expression that is uttered when someone wants to get the attention of a person or a group.

2. Autsch!

Translation: Ouch

Meaning: Ouch

This is something that a German speaker will say if they are experiencing physical pain. It can also be used sympathetically. 

3. Prima!

Translation: Great!

Meaning: An exclamation of happiness or agreement

You can say this when you want to express happiness at an agreement that you have come to or to express that you are pleased or satisfied with the outcome of a situation.

4. Klasse!

Translation: Great!

Meaning: An exclamation of happiness or agreement

You can use this instead of “prima”; it gets the same points across.

5. Toll!

Translation: Great!

Meaning: An exclamation of happiness or agreement

Another short German exclamation that you can use this the same way that you would use “prima” or “klasse”.

6. Genau

Translation: Exactly

Meaning: To express emphatic agreement

A German expression you can use when “prima”, “klasse” or “toll” isn’t enough. You wholeheartedly agree with something that someone else has said.

7. Einverstanden

Translation: Agreed

Meaning: Okay

You can use this one-word German expression to say that you are agreeing with someone or that you are not going to argue their point.

8. Vielleicht

Translation: Maybe

Meaning: Perhaps

When you are using this, you are non-committal in your agreement. So you’re basically saying, “yes. . . if”. 

9. Fertig

Translation: Ready

Meaning: Ready

You can say this if you want to say that you are ready or prepared for a certain event. 

10. Quatsch!

Translation: Nonsense

Meaning: How silly of me!

You can say this if you want to say something like “my bad”. You are acknowledging that you made a small error or mistake – like leaving your keys.

11. Schade!

Meaning: Too bad!

Translation: What a pity!

You can say this when you want to express mild dismay.

12. Oder?

Translation: Isn’t that true?

Meaning: Don’t you agree?

You can use this German expression if you want to ask if people agree with something you said or an opinion that was expressed.

13. Nicht?

Translation: Isn’t that true?

Meaning: Don’t you agree?

Another way that you can say “oder”.

14. Donnerwetter!

Translation: Thunderstorm!

Meaning: An exclamation of surprised anger

If you hear someone say this, you have done something that’s surprised and angered them slightly. For example, if you trod on someone’s foot, it’s likely they will say this after they say “autsch”.

15. Wunderbar

Translation: Wonderful

Meaning: That’s great!

This is a common German expression that is used to express joy or awe over something.

11 funny and unique German expressions you will want to use daily

Learning German expressions are important, but they can also be really fun! 

Some German expressions are really funny and witty; in both their literal translations and their real meaning.

 There are also some German expressions that are unique and wise and learning them can help you gain valuable insight into the mindset of the German people.

1. Innerer Schweinehund

Translation: Inner pig-dog

Meaning: Lazy inner voice

This is a creative German expression to explain “why” you are lazy. Your “innerer Schweinehund” is that little voice in your head that tells you to procrastinate or put an important task off till the last minute. It’s sort of the equivalent to the English idea of a “devil on your shoulder.”

2. Die Nase voll haben

Translation: To have the nose full

Meaning: Had enough

This is a German expression of annoyance. You are basically saying “enough is enough” and you are no longer willing to tolerate a situation. It is often used to angrily bring a conversation to a halt if you don’t like the topic. 

3. Die Daumen drücken

Translation: Press the thumbs

Meaning: Keep hoping

This German expression is the equivalent of “keep your fingers crossed” in English. It means that things are very close to working out in a way that’s favorable to you so, keep hoping.

4. Ich bin fix und fertig

Translation: I’m quick and ready

Meaning: I’m exhausted

Translated from German, this actually expresses something completely different from the literal meaning. Instead of meaning you that you feel “perky” or “alert” it actually means that you are very, very tired. 

5. Ein Fisch auf dem Trockenen

Translation: A fish on the dry

Meaning: Out of place

This is the equivalent to the English expression “a fish out of water”. You can use it to mean that you are feeling like an outsider or awkward around a particular group of people. 

6. Jetzt mal Butter bei die Fische

Translation: Now butter for the fish

Meaning: Get to the point

This is another fish related German expression that has nothing to do with fish. If you hear a German speaker say this, they think that someone is rambling too much. They want the person to stop talking and just get to the point. Similar to an English speaker saying “stop beating around the bush”.

7. Du nimmst mich auf den Arm!

Translation: You’re taking me on your arm!

Meaning: You’re joking!

This German exclamation is used to say that you don’t believe that someone is saying. Take note that, you are not angry or accusing them of being a liar, rather you think they’re joking or may be exaggerating a bit.

8. Das ist nicht mein Bier

Translation: That is not my bear

Meaning: I’m not interested

This is similar to the English expression “not my cup of tea”, except it uses a drink that’s dearer to a German speaker’ heart than “tea”.

9. Wir sind ja nicht aus Zucker

Translation: We’re not made of sugar

Meaning: Stop worrying

If you hear a German speaker use this expression, they are basically trying to persuade someone that they have nothing to fear or nothing to worry about. It’s basically a polite way for a German speaker to say “don’t be a pussy”.

10. Aller Anfang ist schwer

Translation: Every beginning is hard

Meaning: Don’t be discouraged

This is a wise German expression that is meant to encourage someone not to give up. 

11. Ein gutes Gewissen ist ein sanftes Ruhekissen 

Translation: A clear conscience is a soft pillow

Meaning: Be a good person

While there are many other reasons why someone might have trouble sleeping, many cultures believe that having something on your conscience will make it hard for you to sleep. The German culture also believes that hence this expression. 

Conclusion

Learning a new language can be both fun and challenging because every language contains expressions, exclamations, slang terms, and idioms that are common to native speakers but are “new” to language learners.

Why do you need to learn German expressions?

German, like many languages, has a number of unique words and phrases that don’t really directly translate to other languages. German speakers will use certain expressions, idioms, and slang terms to convey certain thoughts and ideas – the actual meaning of these terms will be clear to a native speaker but could confuse someone who didn’t grow up speaking German.

What are the most common German expressions?

Wie geht est - How’s it going? Bis bald! - See you soon! Mach’s gut - Take it Easy (Used as Bye), Bis dann! - Later

How do you say awesome in German slang?

The German equivalent to Awesome is Hammer.

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