“We have to pull out that tooth”: German Idioms Part III

I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it many more times again – I love German. Here are some more idioms as to why I love it!


Kleine Sünden bestraft der liebe Gott sofort.

Literally: “The lovely God punishes small sins immediately”.

Translation: “Karma”.

Where we’d probably simply say “karma” (plus perhaps “‘s a b*tch), the German’s like reciting a long sentence, to kind of rub in the salt when something happens. It seems to have happened to me quite a lot recently so I’ve learnt the sentence off by heart. Most recently included a Mario Kart race. Damn those blue shells.


Das ist Schnee von gestern.

Literally: “That’s snow from yesterday”.

Translation: “That’s old news”.

I by far prefer the German saying here. We keep it simple and to the point with news, the Germans talk about snow. D’awwh.


Das ist doch kalter Kaffee.

Literally: “That’s cold coffee”.

Translation: “That’s old news”.

Even though they have a nice idiom for it, they thought they’d have another, this time referring to old news as cold coffee.


Den Zahn müssen wir ziehen.

Literally: “We have to pull out that tooth”.

Translation: “We have to get that idea out of his/her head”.

This is used when somebody has an idea which everyone knows won’t work or won’t be happy with. Thinking of a random example: if someone gives the impression that they think it would be OK to come round at 6am for breakfast every Saturday, you’d full well not be up for that (maybe you would, but let’s say you won’t) – talking to your housemates, you’d probably say “den Zahn müssen wir ziehen” – we need to make sure they don’t actually do it because it’s a stupid idea and we want to have a lie in.


Ich krieg’ die Krise!

Literally: “I get the crisis!”

Translation: “I”m going to flip/I’m going to burst!”

This is usually used when you’re really annoyed with something or someone and you’re moaning about it to somebody else in the sense of “I’m going to go mental”, or at least I think – I’ve only ever heard it and haven’t yet dared to use it myself yet in case I use it wrong. Language problems.


Ich könnte kotzen!

Literally: “I could throw up!”

Translation: “I’m going to burst!”

Kind of similar to the crisis thing, but this is more of a rage than a general stress. The first time I heard this was in Hannover when my housemate came home 2 hours later than planned from work due to train problems, und sie konnte kotzen. Mehrmals!


From pulling out teeth to snow from yesterday, 10 months into my second stay in Germany and the language is still surprising me on a regular basis!

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