German idioms & their English translations


Welcome to the ultimate glossary of German idioms and their English translations! Here you will find more than 700 idioms used in German-speaking countries, and their English meanings. For a bit of fun, the literal translations are also provided.

Browse the list, or search for a specific idiom alphabetically or using the search function below.

If you’d like to discuss any of the entries or suggest any new (non-offensive) ones to add, feel free to get in touch.

Literal translation: “The pavements are folded up at night.”

Proper English translation: “There’s nothing to do in the evening.”

Literal translation: “Everything has an end. Only a sausage has two.”

Proper English translation: “All good things must come to an end.”

Literal translation: “Everything in the green area.”

Proper English translation: “Everything is fine.”

Literal translation: “Everything in butter!”

Proper English translation: “Everything is hunky-dory!”

Literal translation: “Everything paletti.”

Proper English translation: “All good.”

Literal translation: “Sunshine follows rain.”

Proper English translation: “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

Literal translation: “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.”

Proper English translation: “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Literal translation: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree trunk.”

Proper English translation: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Literal translation: “That old lyre!”

Proper English translation: “That old chestnut!”

Literal translation: “Still, an old man (woman) isn’t a high-speed train!”

Proper English translation: “Don’t rush me! I’m going as fast as I can.”

Literal translation: to be (completely) out of the little house

Proper English translation: to be beside oneself

Literal translation: (as if) sitting on (glowing) coal

Proper English translation: to be like a cat on a hot tin roof

Literal translation: to go off like Smith’s cat

Proper English translation: to be very quick

Literal translation: tray P

Proper English translation: file 13 (US) / the round file (US)

Literal translation: deflection manoeuvre

Proper English translation: red herring

Literal translation: to wait and drink tea

Proper English translation: to wait and see

Literal translation: to demolish all bridges behind you

Proper English translation: to burn one’s bridges

Literal translation: to put all one’s eggs in one basket

Proper English translation: to put all one’s eggs in one basket

Literal translation: once every jubilee year

Proper English translation: once in a blue moon

Literal translation: to pull out all the registers

Proper English translation: to pull out all the stops

Literal translation: to place everything on one card

Proper English translation: to go for broke

Literal translation: to have everything plumb

Proper English translation: to have everything in order

Literal translation: to shear everything over one comb

Proper English translation: to measure everything by the same yardstick

Literal translation: to serve as a whipping boy

Proper English translation: to act as a scapegoat

Literal translation: took off as a tiger and landed as a bedside rug

Proper English translation: made a strong start but then took a nosedive

Literal translation: to cut old plaits

Proper English translation: to do away with the old

Literal translation: at the arse of the world

Proper English translation: at the back of beyond

Literal translation: to stay on the ball

Proper English translation: to keep the ball rolling / to stay on top of things

Literal translation: to gnaw on the hunger cloth

Proper English translation: to be broke

Literal translation: to sit at the cat table

Proper English translation: to be excluded / to be relegated to the children’s table

Literal translation: to stand at the pillory

Proper English translation: to be in the pillory

Literal translation: to stand at the crossroads

Proper English translation: to be at a crossroads

Literal translation: to be pulled closer by the hair

Proper English translation: to be far-fetched

Literal translation: to sit at the source

Proper English translation: to have connections

Literal translation: to hang from a silk thread

Proper English translation: to hang from a thread

Literal translation: apple of discord

Proper English translation: bone of contention

Literal translation: to also cook with only water

Proper English translation: to be nothing special

Literal translation: to be on axle

Proper English translation: to be on the move

Literal translation: caught on the wrong foot

Proper English translation: caught on the wrong foot

Literal translation: to be on the wooden path

Proper English translation: to be barking up the wrong tree

Literal translation: to stand on the hose

Proper English translation: to not get something

Literal translation: to remain on the carpet

Proper English translation: to have one’s feet on the ground

Literal translation: to come to the dog

Proper English translation: to go to the dogs

Literal translation: to burn on the nails

Proper English translation: to prey on one’s mind

Literal translation: to hit on the plaster

Proper English translation: to paint the town red

Literal translation: to come onto the funnel

Proper English translation: to get the hang of something / to find the solution

Literal translation: to lie on the lazy skin

Proper English translation: to laze around

Literal translation: to go on the barricades

Proper English translation: to protest

Literal translation: to be shoved onto the long bench

Proper English translation: to be put on the back burner

Literal translation: to bang on the kettledrum

Proper English translation: to paint the town red

Literal translation: to fall onto the snout

Proper English translation: to fall flat on one’s face

Literal translation: to press on the tube

Proper English translation: to floor it

Literal translation: to be on wire

Proper English translation: to be on the ball

Literal translation: to be on one wavelength

Proper English translation: to be on the same wavelength

Literal translation: to bite on granite

Proper English translation: to hit a brick wall

Literal translation: to knock on wood

Proper English translation: to knock on wood

Literal translation: to not go on cow skin

Proper English translation: to beggar description

Literal translation: to not reach a green branch

Proper English translation: to not be getting anywhere

Literal translation: to be brushed to riot

Proper English translation: to be spoiling for a fight

Literal translation: to be bedded on roses

Proper English translation: to be a bed of roses

Literal translation: on cobbler’s black horse

Proper English translation: to go by foot

Literal translation: on Devil come out

Proper English translation: come hell or high water

Literal translation: to go on cloth feeling

Proper English translation: to get up-close and personal

Literal translation: to float on cloud seven

Proper English translation: to be on cloud nine

Literal translation: to dance at too many weddings

Proper English translation: to take on too much

Literal translation: to pay attention like a gun dog

Proper English translation: to watch something like a hawk

Literal translation: to fall from all clouds

Proper English translation: to be flabbergasted

Literal translation: to whistle from the last hole

Proper English translation: to be on your last legs

Literal translation: to chatter from the sewing box

Proper English translation: to reveal (private) information / to spill the beans

Literal translation: to fall out of the frame

Proper English translation: to not fit the mould

Literal translation: to be out of the tailor

Proper English translation: to be out of trouble

Literal translation: out of the stirrup

Proper English translation: off the cuff / improvised

Literal translation: to topple out of the slipers

Proper English translation: to pass out / to fall off one’s chair in shock

Literal translation: to drive out of the skin

Proper English translation: to lose it

Literal translation: to dance out of line

Proper English translation: to march to a different tune

Literal translation: to make an elephant out of a mosquito

Proper English translation: to make a mountain out of a molehill

Literal translation: to not make a murderer’s trench out of one’s heart

Proper English translation: to speak frankly

Literal translation: to look like a monkey on a whetstone

Proper English translation: to look ridiculous

Literal translation: to be outside of edge and ribbon

Proper English translation: to be out of control

Literal translation: to stand on the mat at someone’s

Proper English translation: to turn up at someone’s doorstep

Literal translation: the A and O

Proper English translation: the be-all and end-all

Literal translation: to give the monkey sugar

Proper English translation: to get on one’s hobby horse

Literal translation: to pull the arse card

Proper English translation: to draw the short straw

Literal translation: to be a fear rabbit

Proper English translation: to be a scaredy cat

Literal translation: to shut one eye

Proper English translation: to let someone get away with something

Literal translation: to be a boiled slit ear

Proper English translation: to never miss a trick

Literal translation: to drive a different pig through the village

Proper English translation: to make a song and dance about something

Literal translation: to stage a monkey circus

Proper English translation: to kick up a fuss

Literal translation: to pour one onto the lamp

Proper English translation: to drink a lot of alcohol

Literal translation: to muck out the Augean stables

Proper English translation: to clean up a large mess

Literal translation: to hang something on the nail

Proper English translation: to give something up

Literal translation: to hang something on the large bell

Proper English translation: to shout something from the rooftops

Literal translation: to bring something to the person in front

Proper English translation: to spruce something up

Literal translation: to suffer the consequences of something

Proper English translation: to carry the can for something

Literal translation: to get on someone’s ghost

Proper English translation: to get on someone’s nerves

Literal translation: to get on someone’s biscuit

Proper English translation: to get on someone’s nerves

Literal translation: to get (stuck) on someone’s glue

Proper English translation: to fall for someone’s trick

Literal translation: to step on someone’s tie

Proper English translation: to tread on someone’s toes

Literal translation: to get on someone’s alarm clock

Proper English translation: to drive someone up the wall

Literal translation: to feel on someone’s tooth

Proper English translation: to sound someone out

Literal translation: to get closer to someone’s peel

Proper English translation: to badger someone

Literal translation: to help someone to the jumps

Proper English translation: to prompt someone

Literal translation: to climb onto someone’s roof

Proper English translation: to voice one’s complaints (in a heated manner)

Literal translation: to issue someone a rejection

Proper English translation: to turn someone down harshly

Literal translation: to spread something on buttered bread for someone

Proper English translation: to keep reminding someone of something negative

Literal translation: to lead someone around by the nose

Proper English translation: to lead someone up the garden path

Literal translation: to use a curb bit on someone

Proper English translation: to take a hard line with someone

Literal translation: to have someone on the spyglass

Proper English translation: to watch someone like a hawk

Literal translation: to be able to shoot someone to the moon

Proper English translation: to wish someone (you’re upset with) was very far away

Literal translation: to lift someone onto the shield

Proper English translation: to make someone leader

Literal translation: to bring someone onto the palm tree

Proper English translation: to drive someone crazy

Literal translation: to bring someone to trot

Proper English translation: to put a bomb under someone

Literal translation: to keep someone trotting

Proper English translation: to work someone hard

Literal translation: to lay someone on their back

Proper English translation: to con/deceive someone

Literal translation: to feel that your tie has been stepped on

Proper English translation: to be offended

Literal translation: to compare apples to pears

Proper English translation: to compare apples and oranges

Literal translation: “It must be beeping with you!”

Proper English translation: “You must be crazy!”

Literal translation: to have jitters

Proper English translation: to have the jitters

Literal translation: to have been served

Proper English translation: to have had enough

Literal translation: to knock on someone’s bush

Proper English translation: to sound someone out

Literal translation: to make weather good with someone

Proper English translation: to butter someone up

Literal translation: to stand in the chalk with someone

Proper English translation: to owe someone

Literal translation: until in the dolls

Proper English translation: until the small hours

Literal translation: until the does not work anymore

Proper English translation: until one is blue in the face

Literal translation: to be blue

Proper English translation: to be drunk

Literal translation: to be blue-eyed

Proper English translation: to be naïve

Literal translation: to make blue

Proper English translation: to skive off

Literal translation: to sweat blood and water

Proper English translation: to be in a cold sweat

Literal translation: to lead evil in the shield

Proper English translation: to be up to no good

Literal translation: to receive fire letters from all sides

Proper English translation: to be reprimanded left, right and centre

Literal translation: to be wide

Proper English translation: to be drunk

Literal translation: to give letter and seal on it

Proper English translation: to guarantee something

Literal translation: to lie the blue from the sky

Proper English translation: to lie one’s head off

Literal translation: to keep the ball flat

Proper English translation: to play safe

Literal translation: to make the ram the gardener

Proper English translation: to choose the most inappropriate person for a task

Literal translation: to smell the roast

Proper English translation: to smell a rat

Literal translation: to play the insulted liver sausage

Proper English translation: to be a sorehead

Literal translation: to have a board in front of one’s head

Proper English translation: to not get something

Literal translation: to be a book with seven seals

Proper English translation: to be a topic that one knows nothing about

Literal translation: to be rush wisdom

Proper English translation: to be common knowledge

Literal translation: to have bear hunger

Proper English translation: to be very hungry

Literal translation: to shoot a ram

Proper English translation: to screw up

Literal translation: to produce blue smoke for someone

Proper English translation: to pull the wool over someone’s eyes

Literal translation: to tie a bear to someone

Proper English translation: to feed someone a line

Literal translation: to bestow someone a bear service

Proper English translation: to do someone a disservice

Literal translation: “The chemistry is right.”

Proper English translation: “The chemistry is there.”

Literal translation: “The cat is biting itself in the tail there.”

Proper English translation: “That’s/It’s a catch 22.”

Literal translation: “No turret will be falling off your crown.”

Proper English translation: “It won’t hurt you.”

Literal translation: “A lot of water will still run down the River Rhine.”

Proper English translation: “There’s still a long time to go.”

Literal translation: “Then I‘ll eat a broom.”

Proper English translation: “Then I’ll eat my hat.”

Literal translation: “There is Sodom and Gomorrha.”

Proper English translation: “It’s chaos.” (morally corrupt)

Literal translation: “There is cousin economy.”

Proper English translation: “That’s favouritism.”

Literal translation: “The bear is loose there.”

Proper English translation: “There’s something going on.” / “There’s a wild party.”

Literal translation: “I can sing you a song about that!”

Proper English translation: “I can tell you a thing or two about that!”

Literal translation: “No rooster is clucking about that.”

Proper English translation: “Nobody gives two hoots about that.”

Literal translation: “Chickens laugh about that!”

Proper English translation: “You’re joking!”

Literal translation: “The hare lies in the pepper there!”

Proper English translation: “Ah, that’s the problem!”

Literal translation: “The dog lies buried there.”

Proper English translation: “That’s the crux of the matter.”

Literal translation: “My collar is bursting!”

Proper English translation: “That was the last straw!”

Literal translation: “With this you don’t lure a dog from behind the stove.”

Proper English translation: “It’s nothing to write home about.”

Literal translation: “Then good night!”

Proper English translation: “Well that’s just great!” (sarcastic)

Literal translation: “Then it‘s tattoo!”

Proper English translation: “Then it‘s over!”

Literal translation: “You can take poison on that!”

Proper English translation: “You can bet your life on it/that.”

Literal translation: “This goes against the stroke to me.”

Proper English translation: “I don’t like this.”

Literal translation: “That’s hunter’s Latin.”

Proper English translation: “That’s a cock and bull story.”

Literal translation: “That makes you (want to) milk mice!”

Proper English translation: “It’s like getting blood out of a stone!”

Literal translation: “That’s a fat dog!”

Proper English translation: “That’s outrageous!”

Literal translation: “That’s a chapter for its own.”

Proper English translation: “That’s a whole other story.”

Literal translation: “That’s an emergency nail.”

Proper English translation: “That’s a makeshift solution.”

Literal translation: “That’s sausage to me.”

Proper English translation: “I couldn’t care less about that.”

Literal translation: “That didn’t grow on my muck.”

Proper English translation: “That wasn’t my idea.”

Literal translation: “That’s far-fetched.”

Proper English translation: “That’s far-fetched.”

Literal translation: “No pig can read that.”

Proper English translation: “That’s illegible.”

Literal translation: “One may claim this fittingly and rightly.”

Proper English translation: “One may claim this rightly and justly.”

Literal translation: “You can remove that make-up!”

Proper English translation: “You can forget it!”

Literal translation: “You can keep this like the one on the roof.”

Proper English translation: “Do what you want, I don’t care.”

Literal translation: “That doesn’t go in my bag.”

Proper English translation: “That’s out of the question.”

Literal translation: “That seems Spanish to me.”

Proper English translation: “That’s Greek to me.”

Literal translation: “That does not make the cabbage fat either.”

Proper English translation: “It won’t make a difference.”

Literal translation: “That knocks the bottom out of the barrel.”

Proper English translation: “That’s outrageous!”

Literal translation: “These are two pairs of shoes.”

Proper English translation: “They are like chalk and cheese.”

Literal translation: “These are two pairs of boots.”

Proper English translation: “They are like chalk and cheese.”

Literal translation: “That was decided at the green table.”

Proper English translation: Of a sporting event. A result that bears no relation to the events of the contest and that is decided afterwards by a supervising body (e.g. if one team was found to be cheating).

Literal translation: “This (fruit) drop has not been sucked yet.”

Proper English translation: “It’s not over yet.”

Literal translation: “The oat must be pricking you!”

Proper English translation: “Wow, you’re in high spirits!” / “Wow, you are full of beans!”

Literal translation: “The dumbest farmers harvest the biggest potatoes.”

Proper English translation: “Fortune favours fools.”

Literal translation: “The clock has run out.”

Proper English translation: “The ship has sailed.”

Literal translation: “The pope is boxing in a chain shirt there.”

Proper English translation: “There’something going on there.” / “There’s a wild party there.”

Literal translation: “The bear is (tap-)dancing there.”

Proper English translation: “There’s something going on there.” / “There’s a wild party there.”

Literal translation: “You can meet me in the moonlight!”

Proper English translation: “I’m washing my hands of you!”

Literal translation: the same in green

Proper English translation: same difference

Literal translation: standing there like oil tin gods

Proper English translation: to be dumbstruck

Literal translation: to press one’s thumb

Proper English translation: to cross one’s fingers

Literal translation: to act the fat William

Proper English translation: to act the big shot

Literal translation: to drill thick boards

Proper English translation: to graft (work hard)

Literal translation: to have dirt on the stick

Proper English translation: to be a shady character

Literal translation: to make three crosses

Proper English translation: to feel relieved

Literal translation: under and over it

Proper English translation: higgledy-piggledy / frantic / all go

Literal translation: to be as dumb as bean straw

Proper English translation: to be as thick as two short planks

Literal translation: to be through the wind

Proper English translation: to be in a spin

Literal translation: through the bench

Proper English translation: consistently/uniformly

Literal translation: to go through the rags

Proper English translation: to slip through one’s fingers

Literal translation: to be a driller of thin boards

Proper English translation: to be not very clever / a lightweight

Literal translation: to have roof damage

Proper English translation: to have a screw loose

Literal translation: to perform a wire rope act

Proper English translation: to walk a tightrope

Literal translation: to be the thorn in the eye for someone

Proper English translation: to be a thorn in someone’s side

Literal translation: to give someone a think note

Proper English translation: to teach someone a lesson

Literal translation: to pull someone/something through the cocoa

Proper English translation: to take the mickey out of someone/something

Literal translation: “The end of the flag post has not yet been reached.”

Proper English translation: “It’s not over yet.”

Literal translation: “Hell will sooner freeze up!”

Proper English translation: “...and hell will freeze over!” / “When hell freezes over!”

Literal translation: “It has a hook.”

Proper English translation: “There’s a catch.”

Literal translation: “It pulls like pike soup.”

Proper English translation: “There’s a terrible draught.”

Literal translation: the egg of Columbus

Proper English translation: egg of Columbus

Literal translation: to have one on the wafer/waffle

Proper English translation: to be bonkers

Literal translation: to perform an egg dance

Proper English translation: to walk on eggshells

Literal translation: to have one in the tea

Proper English translation: to be tipsy

Literal translation: to tell one from the horse

Proper English translation: to lie

Literal translation: to say ‘go left’ once and ‘go right’ once

Proper English translation: to blow hot and cold

Literal translation: to have something on the box

Proper English translation: to be clever

Literal translation: to have something on the screen

Proper English translation: to have something on one’s radar

Literal translation: to take something on one’s own cap

Proper English translation: to take responsibility for something

Literal translation: to lay something on the high kerb

Proper English translation: to save

Literal translation: to bring something (on)to the conference table

Proper English translation: to broach something

Literal translation: to shake something out of one’s sleeve

Proper English translation: to do something off the cuff

Literal translation: to have eaten something up

Proper English translation: to have been up to no good

Literal translation: something burns under someone’s nails

Proper English translation: to be important to / pressing for someone

Literal translation: to say something through the flower

Proper English translation: to break something to someone gently

Literal translation: to receive something in the wrong throat

Proper English translation: to take something the wrong way

Literal translation: to take something in the deal

Proper English translation: to put up with something

Literal translation: to break something over the knee

Proper English translation: to rush something

Literal translation: to sweep something under the carpet

Proper English translation: to sweep something under the carpet

Literal translation: to praise something/someone over the green clover

Proper English translation: to go overboard with singing something’s/someone’s praises

Literal translation: to carry owls to Athens

Proper English translation: to carry coal to Newcastle

Literal translation: to repair something on someone’s stuff

Proper English translation: to criticise someone about small things

Literal translation: to tie something to someone’s nose

Proper English translation: to let someone in on something

Literal translation: to build oneself a donkey bridge

Proper English translation: to create a mnemonic

Literal translation: to tip one behind the bandage

Proper English translation: to knock back a drink

Literal translation: to suck something out of one’s fingers

Proper English translation: to make something up quickly

Literal translation: “My film tore.”

Proper English translation: “My mind went blank.”

Literal translation: “Fish (always) stinks from the head.”

Proper English translation: Responsibility always lies with the decision maker.

Literal translation: “It’s five to twelve.”

Proper English translation: “It’s high time.”

Literal translation: “That’s Bohemian villages for me.”

Proper English translation: “It’s all Greek to me.”

Literal translation: to have slaughtered the wrong pig

Proper English translation: to have made the wrong decision

Literal translation: to lose the thread

Proper English translation: to lose one’s train of thought

Literal translation: to make the fly

Proper English translation: to run off / disappear quickly

Literal translation: to throw the shotgun into the corn

Proper English translation: to throw in the towel

Literal translation: to hear the fleas cough

Proper English translation: to hear something that is not there / to be imagining something / to have excellent hearing (less common)

Literal translation: to be a rock in the breakers

Proper English translation: to be a bastion of calm

Literal translation: to shoot a ticket

Proper English translation: to miss the target

Literal translation: to be a bottle

Proper English translation: to be a numpty

Literal translation: to have a frog in the throat

Proper English translation: to have a frog in one’s throat

Literal translation: to make the court to a lady

Proper English translation: to court a lady

Literal translation: to have it fist-thick behind the ears

Proper English translation: to be up to no good

Literal translation: to take something for cash coin

Proper English translation: to take something at face value

Literal translation: to confess colour

Proper English translation: to come clean

Literal translation: to open a barrel

Proper English translation: to kick up a stink

Literal translation: to give heel money

Proper English translation: to take to one’s heels

Literal translation: to sit tight in the saddle

Proper English translation: to be firmly established / to be in a safe position

Literal translation: to make excuses

Proper English translation: to make excuses / to act up

Literal translation: to be fixed and finished

Proper English translation: to be shattered

Literal translation: to have lint in your head

Proper English translation: to have crazy ideas

Literal translation: to speak Gothic type

Proper English translation: to not mince one’s words

Literal translation: naughty like Oscar

Proper English translation: bold as brass

Literal translation: to talk freely from the liver

Proper English translation: to say it how it is

Literal translation: to freeze like a tailor

Proper English translation: to be freezing

Literal translation: to celebrate happy resurrection

Proper English translation: to rear one’s ugly head again

Literal translation: to let five be even

Proper English translation: to accept that things are not perfect

Literal translation: for an apple and an egg

Proper English translation: for almost nothing

Literal translation: to be for the cat

Proper English translation: to be in vain

Literal translation: to make the monkey for someone

Proper English translation: to play the fool/clown for someone

Literal translation: to put one’s hand in the fire for someone

Proper English translation: to give someone the shirt off one’s back

Literal translation: to jump into the gap for someone

Proper English translation: to step into the breach for someone

Literal translation: to give one’s last shirt for someone

Proper English translation: to give someone the shirt off one’s back

Literal translation: gone is gone

Proper English translation: What’s gone is gone.

Literal translation: to put a flea in someone’s ear

Proper English translation: to instill a thought/wish that cannot be fulfilled into someone

Literal translation: “The groschen has fallen.”

Proper English translation: “The penny has dropped.”

Literal translation: “One doesn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Proper English translation: “Don’t look a gift a horse in the mouth.”

Literal translation: “Go where the pepper grows!”

Proper English translation: “Get lost!”

Literal translation: “Give butter with the fish!”

Proper English translation: “Get to the point!”

Literal translation: to hear the grass grow

Proper English translation: to be very sensitive to upcoming problems/developments

Literal translation: to play the big Zampano

Proper English translation: to show off

Literal translation: to have a memory like an elephant

Proper English translation: to have a memory like an elephant

Literal translation: to be a stinginess collar

Proper English translation: to be a tightwad

Literal translation: to be a lucky mushroom

Proper English translation: to be a lucky devil

Literal translation: to be a reach into the loo

Proper English translation: to be a very bad choice

Literal translation: a curtain sermon

Proper English translation: a telling-off

Literal translation: to seize an opportunity by the hair

Proper English translation: to grab an opportunity with both hands

Literal translation: to have a green thumb

Proper English translation: to have green fingers

Literal translation: to fight against windmills

Proper English translation: to tilt at windmills

Literal translation: to strike money on the head

Proper English translation: to throw money around

Literal translation: to happily fish in muddy water

Proper English translation: to find your way around in new/difficult territory

Literal translation: to stand with the rifle next to your foot

Proper English translation: to be ready for action

Literal translation: to spit poison and bile

Proper English translation: to be fuming

Literal translation: to hold large pieces on someone

Proper English translation: to think the world of someone

Literal translation: to have porridge in one’s head

Proper English translation: to be intelligent

Literal translation: to be well-studded in something

Proper English translation: to be well-versed in something

Literal translation: “Hops and malt are lost with him.”

Proper English translation: “He is a dead loss.”

Literal translation: “It is highest railway.”

Proper English translation: “It’s high time.”

Literal translation: “Neck and leg fracture!”

Proper English translation: “Break a leg!”

Literal translation: “Come in, if you’re not a tailor!”

Proper English translation: “Come in!”

Literal translation: “There is thick air here.”

Proper English translation: “Trouble’s brewing.”

Literal translation: “Whoa the forest fairy!”

Proper English translation: “Would you believe it…?!”

Literal translation: “Wooden eye, be alert!”

Proper English translation: “Keep your eyes peeled!”

Literal translation: to throw in the towel

Proper English translation: to throw in the towel

Literal translation: to have/hold the exercise book in the hand

Proper English translation: to be at the helm / to be behind the wheel / to be in control

Literal translation: to not get the throat full

Proper English translation: to be insatiable, to always want more

Literal translation: to be the rooster in the basket

Proper English translation: to be the only rooster in the hen house

Literal translation: to be the pike in the carp pond

Proper English translation: to be a troublemaker

Literal translation: to wear the trousers

Proper English translation: to wear the trousers

Literal translation: to lie someone’s back full

Proper English translation: to tell a pack of lies

Literal translation: to be a John Steam in all alleyways

Proper English translation: to be a jack of all trades

Literal translation: one hand washes the other

Proper English translation: scratch someone’s back, and they’ll scratch yours

Literal translation: to do something neck over head

Proper English translation: to do something on the spur of the moment

Literal translation: to write something behind the ears

Proper English translation: to make sure that one does not forget something

Literal translation: to have hair on one’s teeth

Proper English translation: to be confrontational/bossy

Literal translation: to gamble away house and yard

Proper English translation: to gamble away everything you have

Literal translation: to live like vandals

Proper English translation: to act like vandals

Literal translation: to howl like a castle dog

Proper English translation: to cry one’s eyes out

Literal translation: today go, tomorrow stop

Proper English translation: to blow hot then cold

Literal translation: to live behind the moon

Proper English translation: to have been living under a rock

Literal translation: behind Swedish curtains

Proper English translation: behind bars

Literal translation: to come behind like the old shrovetide

Proper English translation: to be late to the party

Literal translation: Hinz and Kunz (German names)

Proper English translation: every Tom, Dick and Harry

Literal translation: to have floods

Proper English translation: to be wearing ankle swingers

Literal translation: Holland in need

Proper English translation: in great difficulties

Literal translation: to have bumble bees in one’s backside

Proper English translation: to have ants in one’s pants

Literal translation: to end someone’s trade

Proper English translation: to put a stop to someone’s game / to catch a criminal

Literal translation: to stretch the sheep legs long for someone

Proper English translation: to give someone a dressing-down

Literal translation: to wish someone a hand’s width of water under the keel

Proper English translation: to wish someone luck

Literal translation: to smear honey around someone’s mouth

Proper English translation: to butter someone up

Literal translation: to (still) have a chicken to pluck with someone

Proper English translation: to (still) have a bone to pick with someone

Literal translation: to wear one’s heart on the tongue

Proper English translation: to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve

Literal translation: to wash one’s hands in innocence

Proper English translation: to wash one’s hands of responsibility for something

Literal translation: “I think my pig is whistling.”

Proper English translation: “I don’t believe it!”

Literal translation: “The monkey is delousing me!”

Proper English translation: “Well I never!”

Literal translation: “I only understand train station.”

Proper English translation: “It’s all Greek to me.”

Literal translation: “Always with the peace!”

Proper English translation: “Cool it!”

Literal translation: to overcome your inner pig dog

Proper English translation: to overcome your weaker self

Literal translation: to have something in grip

Proper English translation: to have something down pat / to be in control of something

Literal translation: to jump in the triangle

Proper English translation: to be hopping mad

Literal translation: to be in the bucket

Proper English translation: to be broken/finished

Literal translation: to be in the wrong film

Proper English translation: to not believe it

Literal translation: to be in the crossfire

Proper English translation: to be under fire from all sides

Literal translation: to stand in the spotlight

Proper English translation: to be in the limelight

Literal translation: to be in seventh heaven

Proper English translation: to be in seventh heaven

Literal translation: in wad and bow

Proper English translation: lock, stock and barrel / well and truly

Literal translation: to be in distress

Proper English translation: to be in difficulties

Literal translation: to punch into the sack

Proper English translation: to quit

Literal translation: to bite into the sour apple

Proper English translation: to bite the bullet

Literal translation: to sit in the jam

Proper English translation: to be in a pickle

Literal translation: to sit in the ink

Proper English translation: to be up the creek without a paddle

Literal translation: to disappear in the trap

Proper English translation: to vanish from the scene

Literal translation: to be dyed in the wool

Proper English translation: to be dyed in the wool

Literal translation: to be in a double-mill

Proper English translation: to be caught between a rock and a hard place

Literal translation: to go into the rushes

Proper English translation: to fall apart

Literal translation: to hack into the same notch

Proper English translation: to be in agreement

Literal translation: to go into the trousers

Proper English translation: to go wrong

Literal translation: to come into the breadth

Proper English translation: to get in the way

Literal translation: to look in the tube

Proper English translation: to come away empty-handed

Literal translation: to send into the desert

Proper English translation: to send packing / to give the boot

Literal translation: to reach into a wasp’s nest

Proper English translation: to open a can of worms

Literal translation: at a monkey’s speed

Proper English translation: like the clappers

Literal translation: in a night and fog operation

Proper English translation: in a cloak-and-dagger operation

Literal translation: to step in someone’s footsteps

Proper English translation: to follow in someone’s footsteps

Literal translation: to go into bag and ashes

Proper English translation: to wear sackcloth and ashes

Literal translation: in swish and bluster

Proper English translation: in the lap of luxury

Literal translation: to be in shot

Proper English translation: to be in good nick

Literal translation: to enter the Devil’s kitchen

Proper English translation: to get into hot water

Literal translation: to be in dry cloths

Proper English translation: to be a done deal

Literal translation: to hunt into the ram’s horns

Proper English translation: to upset/unsettle/dishearten

Literal translation: to laugh into one’s little fist

Proper English translation: to secretly feel Schadenfreude (a sense of joy at someone else’s misfortune)

Literal translation: to step into the fat saucer

Proper English translation: to put one’s foot in it

Literal translation: to bite into the grass

Proper English translation: to kick the bucket

Literal translation: to be amongst the rear reserve troop (military)

Proper English translation: to fall behind / to come to be at a disadvantage

Literal translation: to be thrown into cold water

Proper English translation: to be thrown in at the deep end

Literal translation: to run into the open knife

Proper English translation: to walk right into a trap

Literal translation: to hit into the black

Proper English translation: to be spot on

Literal translation: to push something into someone's shoes

Proper English translation: to pass the buck to someone

Literal translation: to drive into someone’s parade

Proper English translation: to rain on someone’s parade

Literal translation: to spit in someone’s soup

Proper English translation: to rain on someone’s parade

Literal translation: to leave someone standing in the rain

Proper English translation: to leave someone in the lurch

Literal translation: to leave someone in the sting/bite/prick/stab

Proper English translation: to leave someone in the lurch / to leave someone high and dry

Literal translation: to take someone in the mangle

Proper English translation: to put someone through the wringer

Literal translation: to keep someone/something in check

Proper English translation: to keep someone/something in check

Literal translation: to push (forcefully) on the yoke

Proper English translation: to buckle down

Literal translation: to lie into one’s (own) pocket

Proper English translation: to kid oneself

Literal translation: to dare going into the lion’s den

Proper English translation: to beard the lion in his den

Literal translation: to throw oneself in peel/shell

Proper English translation: to get suited and booted

Literal translation: “Every man is the blacksmith of his fortune.”

Proper English translation: “You create your own destiny.”

Literal translation: “Now it’s all about the sausage.”

Proper English translation: “It’s all or nothing.”

Literal translation: “Now we have the salad!”

Proper English translation: “Now we’re in a pickle!”

Literal translation: “Now the child has fallen into the well.”

Proper English translation: “It’s too late.”

Literal translation: “It is now scythe.”

Proper English translation: “That’s enough!”

Literal translation: “Half length now!”

Proper English translation: “Come off it!” / “Hang on a minute!”

Literal translation: whinge cloth

Proper English translation: whinger

Literal translation: jacket like trousers

Proper English translation: same difference

Literal translation: to place every word on the gold scales

Proper English translation: to take something literally

Literal translation: “The cat does not stop catching mice.”

Proper English translation: “A leopard can’t change its spots.”

Literal translation: “Lid closed, monkey dead.”

Proper English translation: “End of story.”

Literal translation: “Knot burst.”

Proper English translation: “The penny has dropped.” / “Problem solved.”

Literal translation: to throw the baby out with the bath

Proper English translation: to throw the baby out with the bathwater

Literal translation: to pull the shorter one

Proper English translation: to draw the short straw

Literal translation: to let the cat out of the bag

Proper English translation: to let the cat out of the bag

Literal translation: to buy the cat in the bag

Proper English translation: to buy a pig in a poke

Literal translation: to leave the church in the village

Proper English translation: to not get carried away

Literal translation: to hold the lid

Proper English translation: to shut up

Literal translation: to get the cow off the ice

Proper English translation: to resolve a problematic situation

Literal translation: to be a child head

Proper English translation: to be immature

Literal translation: to have to swallow a toad

Proper English translation: to be a bitter pill to swallow (for someone)

Literal translation: to have a tomcat

Proper English translation: to be hung-over

Literal translation: to be given a basket

Proper English translation: to be rejected

Literal translation: to fetch the chestnuts from the fire for someone

Proper English translation: to pull someone’s chestnuts out of the fire

Literal translation: to wash someone’s head

Proper English translation: to give someone a piece of one’s mind

Literal translation: not to take a sheet of paper in front of one’s mouth

Proper English translation: to not mince one’s words

Literal translation: to not be a blank sheet

Proper English translation: to have a reputation

Literal translation: to not be able to cloud a bit of water

Proper English translation: butter wouldn’t melt (in one’s mouth)

Literal translation: hasn’t drunk target water

Proper English translation: can’t hit the broad side of a barn

Literal translation: no sugar lick

Proper English translation: no walk in the park

Literal translation: to not know any relatives

Proper English translation: to ruthlessly pursue one’s goals

Literal translation: to not have a pale glimmer

Proper English translation: to not have the foggiest idea

Literal translation: to not be worth a heller

Proper English translation: to not be worth a penny

Literal translation: to not give a chanterelle on something

Proper English translation: to not give a damn about something

Literal translation: to have to bake small rolls

Proper English translation: to not set one’s sights so high after a setback

Literal translation: to have a dumpling in one’s throat

Proper English translation: to have a lump in one’s throat

Literal translation: bang and fall

Proper English translation: suddenly

Literal translation: to have cabbage steam

Proper English translation: to be starving

Literal translation: to cry crocodile tears

Proper English translation: to shed crocodile tears

Literal translation: misery bacon

Proper English translation: excess weight gained from emotional overeating

Literal translation: to push one’s head through

Proper English translation: to have/get one’s way

Literal translation: to tie a block to one’s leg

Proper English translation: to take on a responsibility/obligation that stops you doing other things or slows you down

Literal translation: “The last shirt has no pockets.”

Proper English translation: “You can’t take it with you when you die.”

Literal translation: to hand in the spoon

Proper English translation: to bite the dust

Literal translation: to sharpen the rabbit ears

Proper English translation: to be all ears

Literal translation: to have a long line

Proper English translation: to be slow on the uptake

Literal translation: to have a body in the basement

Proper English translation: to have a skeleton in the closet

Literal translation: to break a lance for someone

Proper English translation: to stand up for someone/something

Literal translation: to give someone their certificate of discharge

Proper English translation: (romantically) to dump someone / (at work) to give someone their marching orders

Literal translation: to put a louse in someone’s fur

Proper English translation: to cause problems for someone

Literal translation: to win land

Proper English translation: to run for the hills

Literal translation: to be over all mountains long ago

Proper English translation: to be long gone

Literal translation: louse run over the liver

Proper English translation: to be peeved

Literal translation: to read Levites

Proper English translation: to tell off

Literal translation: to smell a fuse

Proper English translation: to smell a rat

Literal translation: to place one’s light under the bushel

Proper English translation: to hide one’s light under a bushel

Literal translation: “One has already seen horses vomit.”

Proper English translation: “You never know, anything can happen.”

Literal translation: “My dear Scholli!”

Proper English translation: “My oh my!”

Literal translation: “My dear swan!”

Proper English translation: “Blimey!”

Literal translation: “My name is hare; I don’t know anything.”

Proper English translation: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” / “It’s got nothing to do with me.”

Literal translation: “A stone has fallen from my heart.”

Proper English translation: “That’s a weight off my mind.”

Literal translation: “A light is going on with me!”

Proper English translation: “Now I get it!”

Literal translation: “The shirt is closer to me than the skirt.”

Proper English translation: “My own concerns are more important to me.”

Literal translation: “My hairs were standing to the mountains.”

Proper English translation: “My hair stood on end.”

Literal translation: “It‘s not good to eat cherries with her.”

Proper English translation: “She‘s not an easy person to deal with.”

Literal translation: “Morning hour has gold in the mouth.”

Proper English translation: “The early bird catches the worm.”

Literal translation: to put the coat of saying nothing over something

Proper English translation: to cast/draw a veil (of silence) over something

Literal translation: to be a morning grouch

Proper English translation: to not be a morning person

Literal translation: to see something with one laughing and one crying eye

Proper English translation: to have mixed feelings about something

Literal translation: to want to wee with the big dogs

Proper English translation: to want to play with the big boys

Literal translation: to blow the march to someone

Proper English translation: to haul someone over the coals

Literal translation: to be printer’s waste

Proper English translation: to be a quick fix

Literal translation: to keep common toadflax for sale

Proper English translation: to sit on one’s hands

Literal translation: to be as dead as a mouse

Proper English translation: to be as dead as a doornail

Literal translation: more bad than right

Proper English translation: not particularly good

Literal translation: my second self

Proper English translation: my other self

Literal translation: milk girl calculation

Proper English translation: a calculation that does not add up because it ignores important components / a naïve assessment of a situation

Literal translation: with alas and noise

Proper English translation: by the skin of one’s teeth

Literal translation: to be washed with every water

Proper English translation: to know every trick in the book

Literal translation: to watch with Argus eyes

Proper English translation: to watch like a hawk

Literal translation: to have got up on the wrong foot

Proper English translation: to have gotten out of the wrong side of the bed

Literal translation: to be powdered with a peg bag

Proper English translation: to be crazy

Literal translation: to howl with the wolves

Proper English translation: to opportunistically follow the crowd against one’s better judgement

Literal translation: to fall into the house with the door

Proper English translation: to blurt something out

Literal translation: with a monkey tooth

Proper English translation: at breakneck speed

Literal translation: to keep something behind the bush

Proper English translation: to keep something on the down low

Literal translation: to treat something/someone like a dead body

Proper English translation: to abuse/mistreat something/someone

Literal translation: to play with marked cards

Proper English translation: to cheat

Literal translation: to complete a task with hanging and choking

Proper English translation: to manage something by the skin of your teeth

Literal translation: to fight with hard bandages

Proper English translation: to pull no punches

Literal translation: to go through thick and thin with someone

Proper English translation: to go through thick and thin with someone

Literal translation: to be able to steal horses with someone

Proper English translation: someone is 100% reliable

Literal translation: to shoot at sparrows with cannons

Proper English translation: to take a sledgehammer to crack a nut

Literal translation: to fight with an open visor

Proper English translation: to let the opponent know of one’s intentions

Literal translation: to play with open cards

Proper English translation: to have no hidden agenda

Literal translation: to be at the end of one’s Latin

Proper English translation: to be stumped

Literal translation: to trade lemons

Proper English translation: to be unsuccessful

Literal translation: to burn one’s mouth

Proper English translation: to put one’s foot in one’s mouth

Literal translation: to decorate oneself with feathers that are not yours

Proper English translation: to adorn oneself with borrowed plumes

Literal translation: “The name is programme.”

Proper English translation: “The name says it all.”

Literal translation: “The two are not green to each other.”

Proper English translation: “Those two don’t get on.”

Literal translation: “Nightingale, I hear you galumph.”

Proper English translation: “I can tell which way the wind is blowing.”

Literal translation: “Nothing for bad.”

Proper English translation: “No hard feelings.”

Literal translation: “It’s not yet the evening of all days.”

Proper English translation: “It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”

Literal translation: to be 0815

Proper English translation: to be vanilla

Literal translation: to hit the nail on the head

Proper English translation: to hit the nail on the head

Literal translation: to pass the nail test

Proper English translation: to pass the acid test

Literal translation: to be a night owl

Proper English translation: to be a night owl

Literal translation: to be a snacking cat

Proper English translation: to have a sweet tooth

Literal translation: to not be able to pass someone the water

Proper English translation: to have nothing on someone

Literal translation: to not be green to someone

Proper English translation: to be unable to stand someone

Literal translation: to concern someone nothing

Proper English translation: to be none of someone’s business

Literal translation: to go to Canossa

Proper English translation: to go to Canossa

Literal translation: to dance to someone’s pipe

Proper English translation: to be at someone’s beck and call

Literal translation: according to diagram F

Proper English translation: to do something out of habit without questioning whether it is the best way

Literal translation: according to strand and thread

Proper English translation: hook, line and sinker

Literal translation: to make nails with heads

Proper English translation: to not do things by halves

Literal translation: to be built close to the water

Proper English translation: to weep easily / to be emotional

Literal translation: to be/stand beside the cap

Proper English translation: to be confused / not concentrated

Literal translation: to not have all on the Christmas tree

Proper English translation: to not be in one’s right mind

Literal translation: to not have fallen onto the mouth

Proper English translation: to have a quick tongue

Literal translation: to not be the yellow of the egg

Proper English translation: to not be perfect

Literal translation: to not be the bank of England

Proper English translation: to not be made of money

Literal translation: not quite kosher

Proper English translation: not quite kosher

Literal translation: to be missing cups from the cupboard

Proper English translation: to have lost one’s marbles

Literal translation: to not be without

Proper English translation: to be quite something

Literal translation: to not be more papal than the Pope

Proper English translation: to not be holier than the Pope

Literal translation: to not be made of cardboard

Proper English translation: not to be sneezed at

Literal translation: niggle nail new

Proper English translation: brand spanking new

Literal translation: to have another iron in the fire

Proper English translation: to have another / a second string to one’s bow

Literal translation: to keep one’s ears stiff

Proper English translation: to stay strong / to keep one’s chin up

Literal translation: to receive headwater

Proper English translation: to get the upper hand

Literal translation: open like a barn door

Proper English translation: to be wide open / to be free from obstacles

Literal translation: to talk without full stop and comma

Proper English translation: to talk the hind legs off a donkey

Literal translation: to be old sweets

Proper English translation: to be old hat

Literal translation: to pour oil into the fire

Proper English translation: to add fuel to the fire

Literal translation: “Vermin fight, vermin get along.”

Proper English translation: “There’s no honour among thieves.”

Literal translation: to bridle the horse from behind

Proper English translation: to put the cart before the horse / to do things back to front

Literal translation: to let the dolls dance

Proper English translation: to have a hell of a party

Literal translation: to be a paragraph rider

Proper English translation: to be a jobsworth

Literal translation: to be a bad luck bird

Proper English translation: to have rotten luck

Literal translation: to be a chatter bag

Proper English translation: to be a chatterbox

Literal translation: to issue a Persil certificate

Proper English translation: to whitewash someone’s (dubious) history

Literal translation: to have a horse foot

Proper English translation: to have a catch

Literal translation: to eke out a pyrrhic victory

Proper English translation: to win a pyrrhic victory

Literal translation: to offer someone paroli

Proper English translation: to stand up to someone

Literal translation: to throw pearls before swine

Proper English translation: to waste good things on people that won’t appreciate them

Literal translation: pi times thumb

Proper English translation: approximately / more or less

Literal translation: to make ruin

Proper English translation: to go bust

Literal translation: to be punctual like brick layers

Proper English translation: to be right on time

Literal translation: to feel as happy as a poodle

Proper English translation: to feel on top of the world

Literal translation: to search for the square of the circle

Proper English translation: to square the circle

Literal translation: to have the ordeal of choice

Proper English translation: to be spoilt for choice

Literal translation: to get the receipt

Proper English translation: to get one’s just desserts

Literal translation: to be a quarter(ly) drinker

Proper English translation: to be a periodic alcoholic

Literal translation: to have mercury in one’s backside

Proper English translation: to have ants in one’s pants

Literal translation: to be even

Proper English translation: to be square/even

Literal translation: “The rats are leaving the sinking ship.”

Proper English translation: “The rats are leaving the sinking ship.”

Literal translation: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Proper English translation: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Literal translation: “Why don’t you slide down my back?”

Proper English translation: “Sod off!”

Literal translation: to be the saving straw

Proper English translation: to be the last, slim chance of rescue

Literal translation: to view the radishes from below

Proper English translation: to be pushing up the daisies

Literal translation: to make the bill without the host/landlord

Proper English translation: to reckon without one’s host

Literal translation: to have a wheel off

Proper English translation: to have a screw loose

Literal translation: to push a calm ball

Proper English translation: to have a cushy number / to not work too hard

Literal translation: to make a disproportionately high profit

Proper English translation: to make a killing

Literal translation: someone’s head is smoking

Proper English translation: someone’s brain is in overdrive

Literal translation: to pour pure wine

Proper English translation: to be straight with someone

Literal translation: “I don’t have to put on that shoe.”

Proper English translation: “I don’t have to take the blame for that.”

Literal translation: “A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the roof.”

Proper English translation: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Literal translation: “One swallow doesn’t make a summer.”

Proper English translation: “One swallow doesn’t make a summer.”

Literal translation: “Don’t be a frog!”

Proper English translation: “Go for it!” / “Don’t chicken out!”

Literal translation: “Such a monkey theatre!”

Proper English translation: “What a palaver!”

Literal translation: “Such a swinishness!”

Proper English translation: “What a mess!”

Literal translation: “Constant dripping hollows the stone.”

Proper English translation: “Constant dripping wears the stone.”

Literal translation: “Calm waters are deep.”

Proper English translation: “Calm waters run deep.” / “Beware the quiet ones.”

Literal translation: to have a stone in the board with someone

Proper English translation: to be in someone’s good books

Literal translation: to be the black sheep

Proper English translation: to be the black sheep

Literal translation: to have the jester in your neck

Proper English translation: to be mischievous

Literal translation: to not have heard the shot

Proper English translation: to be behind the times

Literal translation: to be given the black Peter

Proper English translation: to be blamed for something you didn’t do

Literal translation: to turn the skewer around

Proper English translation: to turn the table on someone

Literal translation: to break the stick over someone

Proper English translation: to judge someone

Literal translation: to act the dying swan

Proper English translation: to pretend to be hurt, to exaggerate injury/pain

Literal translation: the jumping point

Proper English translation: the crux of the matter

Literal translation: to adopt the salami tactic

Proper English translation: to do something in tiny steps

Literal translation: to let the pig out

Proper English translation: to party hard

Literal translation: to have the muzzle full

Proper English translation: to be fed up

Literal translation: to have to spoon out the soup

Proper English translation: to have to face the music

Literal translation: to spoon out the soup brewed by someone else

Proper English translation: to clean up someone else’s mess

Literal translation: to spoon out the soup one brewed for oneself

Proper English translation: to have made one’s bed and have to lie in it

Literal translation: to be a shadow of oneself

Proper English translation: to be a shadow of one’s former self

Literal translation: to be a joke biscuit

Proper English translation: to be a joker

Literal translation: to be a clever dairy farmer

Proper English translation: to be a clever clogs

Literal translation: to be a shot in the oven

Proper English translation: to go down like a lead balloon

Literal translation: to be a fun bird

Proper English translation: to be a jokester

Literal translation: to have a sparrow brain

Proper English translation: to be a bird brain

Literal translation: to be a straw widower/widow

Proper English translation: to be a grass widower/widow

Literal translation: a storm in the water glass

Proper English translation: a storm in a teacup

Literal translation: to put a scoop on top

Proper English translation: to take something up a notch

Literal translation: to take a setback

Proper English translation: to suffer a setback/defeat

Literal translation: to be a schnapps thrush

Proper English translation: to be a boozer

Literal translation: to have a screw loose

Proper English translation: to have a screw loose

Literal translation: to pull a final stroke under something

Proper English translation: to draw a line under something

Literal translation: to make a wrong cut (in wood)

Proper English translation: to drop a brick

Literal translation: to fire a shot into the blue

Proper English translation: to fire a shot in the dark

Literal translation: to break an argument from the fence

Proper English translation: to pick a fight

Literal translation: to play the straw man for someone

Proper English translation: to be someone’s stooge

Literal translation: to offer someone your forehead

Proper English translation: to stand up to someone

Literal translation: to put a strike through someone’s calculation

Proper English translation: to thwart someone’s plans

Literal translation: to tie a rope out of something for someone

Proper English translation: to use something against somebody

Literal translation: to sprinkle sand in someone’s eyes

Proper English translation: to pull wool over someone’s eyes

Literal translation: to give someone (something) sour

Proper English translation: to let someone have it

Literal translation: to place stumbling blocks in the path for someone

Proper English translation: to hinder someone’s progress

Literal translation: to be a spider enemy with someone

Proper English translation: to be someone’s worst enemy

Literal translation: to be crookedly wound

Proper English translation: to be very much mistaken / to be on the wrong track

Literal translation: to sleep like a groundhog

Proper English translation: to sleep like a log

Literal translation: to have butterflies in the stomach

Proper English translation: to have butterflies in one’s stomach

Literal translation: to stand lubricant

Proper English translation: to be on watch

Literal translation: yesterday’s snow

Proper English translation: old news

Literal translation: to see black for someone/something

Proper English translation: to be pessimistic about someone’s/something’s future

Literal translation: to have pig

Proper English translation: to have a stroke of luck

Literal translation: to spin sailor’s thread

Proper English translation: to tell a tall tale

Literal translation: to see one’s pelts float away

Proper English translation: to see one’s hopes fade away

Literal translation: to know one’s Pappenheims

Proper English translation: to know what to expect from someone

Literal translation: to bring one’s lambs into the dry

Proper English translation: to feather one’s nest

Literal translation: to add one’s mustard

Proper English translation: to give one’s two pennies worth / to add one’s two cents

Literal translation: champagne or soda

Proper English translation: all or nothing

Literal translation: to pull one’s waist belt

Proper English translation: to pull oneself together

Literal translation: to grab one’s own nose

Proper English translation: to take a look in the mirror

Literal translation: to make oneself on the socks

Proper English translation: to take off (leave in a hurry)

Literal translation: to make oneself out of the dust

Proper English translation: to slip away / to sneak off

Literal translation: to knock one’s horns off

Proper English translation: to sow one’s wild oats

Literal translation: to break bread for oneself

Proper English translation: to make a rod for one’s own back

Literal translation: to bite into something and not let go

Proper English translation: to fasten onto something / to become deeply absorbed in something

Literal translation: to not let the butter be taken from your bread

Proper English translation: to stick up for yourself

Literal translation: to behave like an elephant in a china shop

Proper English translation: to behave like a bull in a china shop

Literal translation: to be as happy as a snow king / wren

Proper English translation: to be as merry as a lark

Literal translation: fun brake

Proper English translation: party pooper

Literal translation: to run the spit rods

Proper English translation: to run the gauntlet

Literal translation: to stand point on pommel

Proper English translation: to be on a knife-edge

Literal translation: strong tobacco

Proper English translation: strong stuff

Literal translation: to whirl up dust

Proper English translation: to cause a stir

Literal translation: to be stubborn like a donkey

Proper English translation: to be as stubborn as a mule

Literal translation: to be the sin ram

Proper English translation: to be a scapegoat