“That’s sausage to me!”: German Idioms Part IV
Das ist mir Wurst.
Literally: “That’s sausage to me”.
Translation: “I don’t care”.
What’s the first food that comes to mind when you think of Germany? Chances are, it’s sausage (Sauerkraut is probably up there, too). And of course the Germans have a common phrase using the German word for sausage, Wurst. Though, admittedly, I’ve heard this one more in Frankfurt (often pronounced as ‘Worscht’) – in Hannover, where Hochdeutsch (German-equivalent to the Queen’s English) is spoken, they tend to just say the common: “Das ist mir egal” for “I don’t care”.
Du vergleichst Äpfel mit Birnen.
Literally: “You’re comparing apples to pears.”
Translation: “You’re comparing two completely different things.”
This one was said to me when I made a lame excuse about something I can’t remember. But regardless of the fact that I’m pretty sure I lost the debate I was having, I was thrown off for a second by the sudden mention of a fruit – no, I don’t want fruit, I’m trying to have a serious discussion with you here! I’ve also had a look online at what we’d say in English, and apparently we could actually say “to compare apples to oranges”. I didn’t know that one, but maybe it’s regional? Apples to pears or apples to oranges, it’s still interesting that fruit could come up in a heated discussion.
Literally: “Joke biscuit”
Translation: “Fool / joker”
When I heard this one back in Hannover, it instantly became my favourite word. I thought my then housemate was just trying to teach me incorrect German (like when she thought I was kidding about the word ‘clotheshorse’), but it turns out this one is quite commonly used. In Hannover, it was used when I jokingly wrote on a piece of paper that my housemate owed me more money than she did (in the form of 1,000,000€… I wonder how she saw through my attempt?!), and she wrote the wonderful word Scherzkeks underneath when she got back from work. In Frankfurt, I’ve heard it used in the sense of me saying something silly (e.g. “We could go for a walk later!” – “It’s supposed to pour it down soon, you joke biscuit.”). Weirdly that happens quite often…
Das geht mir auf den Keks.
Literally: “That’s going on my biscuit.”
Translation: “That’s getting on my nerves.”
Sticking with the biscuit theme, this is also a wonderful phrase. The Germans can also say “Das geht mir auf die Nerven”, more similar to our English saying with the use of the word for ‘nerves’. In fact, I’ve definitely heard the ‘nerves’ phrase a lot more here, but I prefer the ‘biscuit’ one, because, well… ‘biscuit’! Haha!
Literally: “My chocolate side”
Translation: “My good/better side”
German definitely wins in this case. Where we, in English, would ask somebody to take a photo from another angle because “my right side is my better side”, Germans would say their ride side is their chocolate side. Because chocolate is sweet, I guess!
Schmier mir das nicht aufs Brot.
Literally: “Don’t spread that on bread for me.”
Translation: “Don’t rub it in.”
“Hey, I’ve got next week off!” – “Please, don’t spread that on bread for me”.
Another situation where food put me off briefly in a conversation, because the person I was speaking too happened to be eating a Brötchen at the time.
The Germans must have a food phrase for every situation! I’ve only heard this phrase once, so I can’t be certain how commonly it’s actually used, but it’s still a pretty cool phrase.