44 Funny German Phrases to Express Yourself With German Speakers

44 Funny German Phrases to Express Yourself With German Speakers

German is a beautiful language that is precise and complex. 

While learning the rules of grammar and pronunciation are important, if you want to become fluent, you need to go beyond the phrases that you will find in a textbook.

Much like other languages, German is rich in interesting expressions that German speakers understand instinctively but a new language learner might find a bit puzzling.

Not only are certain German phrases hard to translate, but they might also actually sound really funny. In this post, we’re going to share some funny German phrases. 

14 funny German phrases about animals

These funny German slang phrases all talk about animals in some sense, though what they actually mean usually has nothing to do with the animal they talk about.

1. Kein Schewin war da

Translation: There weren’t any pigs there

Meaning: No one was there

This phrase is used to say that a place or an event lacked people. So, if you have a party with German speakers, you “want” there to be “pigs”. It sounds funny but it’s not really meant to be insulting.

2. Schwein haben

Translation: Have a pig

Meaning: Lucky

If you hear this from a German speaker, they are exclaiming over your good luck.

3. Da liegt der Hund begraben

Translation: That’s where the dog is buried

Meaning: That’s understood

When you hear this German phrase, a German speaker is saying that they understand the situation.

4. Du bist so ein Angsthase

Translation: You are such a fear-rabbit

Meaning: You are a coward

When someone says you are an “angsthase” they are calling you a “scaredy-cat”. So they are saying you are timid and easily scared. 

5. Leben ist kein Ponyhof

Translation: Life is no pony farm

Meaning: Life is challenging

This German phrase is funny when translated, but actually very wise when you think about it. 

6. Ein Katzensprung

Translation: A cat’s jump

Meaning: Near

This is a nice German phrase that is equivalent to what English speakers say is “a stone’s throw away.”

7.Wo sich Fuch und Hase gute Nacht sagen

Translation: Where fox and hare say goodnight to one another.

Meaning: Remote area

This is a long, rather poetic funny German idiom basically says that someplace is “in the middle of nowhere.”

8. Sie hat einen Vogel

Translation: She has a bird

Meaning: They are crazy

Though it is translated to “she has a bird” this isn’t necessarily a gendered expression. You can use it to say that someone, male or female, maybe a little insane.

9. Klappe zu, Affe tot

Translation: Close the lid, the monkey is dead

Meaning: The end

This is a funny German idiom that is used to say that something has come to an end.

10. Schlafen wie ein Murmeltier

Translation: To sleep like a woodchuck

Meaning: Sleep deeply

This is likely a reference to the fact that woodchucks hibernate, or sleep long and deeply through the winter. So if you sleep like a woodchuck, you sleep well.

11. Ich glaub ich spinne

Translation: I think I spider

Meaning: I think I am going crazy

In German, “spinnen” can mean “spider” or it can also mean “spinning yarn.” This phrase, however, is meant to describe not an eight-legged arachnid, but rather your state of mind which is “a little crazy.”

12. Ich glaub’ mein Schwein pfeift!

Translation: I think my pig is whistling

Meaning: I can’t believe this

Pigs don’t really whistle, so if you hear this from a German speaker, they are describing an “impossible” situation. They are basically saying that they “don’t believe” something is happening.

13. Ich glaub’ mich tritt ein Pferd!

Translation: I think I’m being kicked by a horse

Meaning: I can’t believe this

This describes a more dire situation than hearing a pig whistling, but it isn’t as “bad” as it sounds. Basically, this is an exclamation of surprise and disbelief at a situation.

14. Ich glaub’ mich küsst ein Elch!

Translation: I think I’m being kissed by a moose

Meaning: I can’t believe this

Now, this is just a silly-sounding phrase that describes a silly situation. Again, it is basically an exclamation of surprise at a situation. 

10 funny German phrases about food

Much like every other culture around the world, Germans and German speakers tend to love to eat. That’s probably why there are a lot of German expressions, slang phrases, and idioms that talk about food in some way.

1. Kummerspek

Translation: Grief bacon

Meaning: Gained weight due to overeating due to feeling emotion

This is a unique German phrase that is quite short but very descriptive. Basically, if you have been “stress” eating or “eating your feelings” and have gained weight because of it, you have “kummerspek”. 

2. Jezt haben wir den Salat

Translation: Now we have the salad

Meaning: Everything has gone wrong

When you hear this, the speaker is not saying that they’ve prepared a nice leafy salad, rather they are saying that a situation is “messed up”.

3. Kabelsalat

Translation: Cable salad

Meaning: Things have gone wrong

For some reason, “salads” in German seem to be associated with the disorder. Maybe you should ask your German-speaking tutor about just why this is.

4. Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei

Translation: Everything has an end, only the sausage has two.

Meaning: All good things come to an end

This is one of those German phrases that sound funny when translated but are actually pretty wise. 

5. Jetzt geht’s um die Wurst

Translation: Now it goes around the sausage

Meaning: All or nothing

If a German speaker says this, they are basically saying that they are “all in”. So they’ve entered a situation where they are ready to give their all.

6. Du gehst mir auf den Keks

Translation: You’re walking on my cake

Meaning: You are annoying

“Kek” can mean either cake or cookie, but this funny German phrase doesn’t really refer to a sweet treat. Rather, it’s meant to say you are feeling “sour” towards someone because their behavior is annoying you.

7. Ein Extrawurst haben wollen

Translation: Want an extra sausage

Meaning: Requesting for special treatment

If you hear a German speaker say this, it means that someone is asking for special treatment.

8. Das ist mir Wurst

Translation: That’s sausage to me

Meaning: I don’t care

This German phrase is a funny and succinct way to tell someone that you “don’t care” or that something doesn’t matter to you.

9. Seinen Senf dazugeben

Translation: Add their mustard

Meaning: Give your opinion

This phrase is equivalent to the English expression “give my two cents”. It means that you are giving your opinion or voicing your thoughts on a matter.

10. Sie spielt die beleidigte Leberwurst

Translation: She’s playing the insulted sausage

Meaning: Unreasonably upset

When a German-speaker say’s this, they are implying that a person is unreasonably upset about something. They may, in other words, be overreacting.

Funny German phrases to use to talk about your feelings (and life)

Here are 21 more German phrases that are both funny and wise that can be used to describe feelings and experiences and give your opinion about situations and life.

1. Holla die Waidfee

Translation: The wood fairy

Meaning: That’s a surprise

When a German speaker utters this funny phrase, they are basically saying that they were surprised. It’s the equivalent of an English speaker saying “that’s unexpected”.

2. Mir stehen die Haare zu Berge

Translation: My hair stands up to the mountain

Meaning: Goosebumps

This long and rather funny sounding German phrase is basically how a German speaker would say that something is giving them goosebumps.

3. Komm schon, spring über deinen Schatten Komm schon, spring über deinen Schatten

Translation: Come on, jump over your shadow

Meaning: Be daring

When a German speaker says this to you, they are encouraging you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new

4. Du gehst mir auf den Wecker Du gehst mir auf den Wecker

Translation: You are stepping on my alarm clock

Meaning: You are annoying

This is another funny German slang phrase that is used to express annoyance at someone’s behavior.

5. Du bist auf dem Holzweg

Translation: There you are on the Woodway

Meaning: You are wrong

The implication of this German phrase is that you are “lost” or wrong about your beliefs about something.

6. Ich falle aus allen Wolken

Translation: I fall from all clouds

Meaning: I was surprised

This German phrase is basically an exclamation of surprise. You are saying that you did not expect something to happen.

7. Am Arsch der Welt

Translation: At the ass of the world

Meaning: Remote area

This is a slightly less poetic way to say something is “in the middle of nowhere”. Be mindful of who you say this around.

8. Was Hänschen nicht lernt, lernt Hans nimmermehr

Translation: What little Johnny can’t learn, old John will never learn

Meaning: Too old to change

This German phrase is equivalent to the English expression, “can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.

9. Mit Pauken und Trompeten untergehen

Translation: Go down with drums and trumpets

Meaning: Fail

This funny German slang phrase means that you’ve failed at something spectacularly.

10. Das Blaue vom Himmel versprechen

Translation: The blue promise from the sky

Meaning: A promise that can’t be kept

This poetic sounding German phrase is actually a little melancholic. It has nothing to do with the sky or the weather, rather it refers to being unable to fulfill a promise.

11. Torschlusspanik haben

Translation: Closing gate panic

Meaning: Last-minute panic

If you’ve put something off till the last minute and now have to rush around getting it done, you have “torschlusspanik haben”.

12. Die Kirche im Dorf lassen

Translation: To leave the church in the village

Meaning: Don’t get carried away

This German phrase is a funny way of telling someone to “calm down” or not get to excited about something.

13. Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten

Translation: Only the tough ones get to go to the garden

Meaning: You need to persevere

This is a funny German phrase that you will hear if someone is trying to motivate you to persist despite hardship. It is the equivalent to the English expression “no pain, no gain.

14. Nul acht funfzehn

Translation: So-so

Meaning: Mediocre

This is what a German speaker will say if they want to imply they were not impressed or didn’t find something that good.

15. Das kannst du deiner Oma erzählen

Translation: You can tell that to your grandmother

Meaning: I don’t believe you

If a German speaker thinks you are lying or exaggerating, this is what they will say.

16. Fremdschämen

Translation: Exterior shame

Meaning: To feel ashamed about someone’s behavior

This is kind of like the concept of “second-hand embarrassment”. You feel “fremdschämen” when you see someone who is doing something that would make you feel ashamed. So, you are embarrassed for them.

17. Ins Gras beißen

Translation: To bite into the grass

Meaning: Died

This is the German equivalent to the English expression, “bites the dust.” 

18. Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof

Translation: I only understand train station

Meaning: I don’t understand

This is a funny and unique German phrase that you can use to say that you don’t understand something.

19. Leben wie Gott in Frankreich

Translation: Live like God in France

Meaning: Live in luxury

This could be a reference to French history when the monarchs lived in unbelievable luxury.

20. Sie hat nicht alle Tanssen im Schrank

Translation: She doesn’t have all her cups in the cupboard

Meaning: They are a little stupid

This is another phrase that is “gendered” when translated but can be used for both males and females. It is used to denote a lack of intelligence on someone’s part.


When you need a short break from studying rules of grammar and pronunciation, learning the unique and sometimes funny expressions and slang terms is a great way to amuse yourself while still learning something new.

It’s important to ask your online native German-speaking tutor about common German phrases and expressions. Native German speakers will use phrases like the ones we’ve enumerated above in everyday conversation, so you need to learn what they mean and how to use them.

If you’re interested in becoming fluent in a new language, check out these top online learning resources: Kick off your learning with Babbel, where interactive, enjoyable lessons are designed to blend smoothly into your routine, fostering fast and effective language learning. For those aiming for an in-depth understanding, Udemy provides a broad spectrum of courses from basic to advanced levels. To enhance your speaking skills, Preply connects you with native speakers for personalized coaching, ensuring significant improvement. Take advantage of a 50% discount on your first lesson at Preply with this link.

What are the funniest German phrases?

Kein Schewin war da - There weren’t any pigs there. Schwein haben - Have a pig. Kummerspek - Grief bacon. Jezt haben wir den Salat - Now we have the salad.

What are some German sayings?

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei - All good things come to an end. Nur die Harten kommen in den Garten - You need to persevere. Das kannst du deiner Oma erzählen - I don’t believe you.

What are some common German phrases?

Das ist nicht mein Bier. Jetzt mal Butter bei die Fische. Abwarten und Tee trinken. Achtung!

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