top of page
  • Writer's pictureBelinda Grace

"It's me sausage" - 7 Hilarious German Sayings Taken Literally

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

German is quite the literal language.

Did you know that, for instance, sloth literally translates to lazy animal (Faultier) and skunk to stinky animal (Stinktier)? Direct and straight to the point. Not beating around the bush (nicht um den heißen Brei herumreden) is something Germans like to generally do. Having a direct approach to life is a true German characteristic, one that I find a wonderful quality to possess. So what happens when we literally translate some common German sayings into English? Let’s find out!


Learn what these 7 German sayings mean literally

You thought Germans were serious all the time and had no sense of humour? These 7 weird and yet funny sayings prove otherwise:

1. I press you the thumbs

The German saying Ich drücke dir die Daumen is used when you want to, for example, wish someone good luck on an exam, i.e. you’re letting them know that you’re crossing your fingers for them.

2. He always has to add his mustard

Some people just find it hard to keep their comments about any given topic to themselves, they constantly have to put their two cents in. This is what Germans refer to as immer seinen Senf dazugeben müssen (literally, having to always add one’s mustard).

3. It's me sausage

Instead of saying whatever (common American way) or I’m not that bothered (very British way), Germany has come up with the more creative Es ist mir Wurst, literally It’s me sausage. It’s slightly ironic when you think about how much Germans actually do care about their sausages.

4. Now don't play the insulted liver sausage

Don’t play the what now?! Yes, we’re stepping onto the weirder side here. Jetzt spiel nicht die beleidigte Leberwurst is something a German might say to someone, meaning quit being so butthurt over a situation that really isn’t all that dramatic.

5. Everything has an end, only the sausage has two

Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei. Yet another sausage-related metaphor! There’s really not much else to say about this one as its literal translation also carries the German meaning. I suppose this could be classified as some German words of wisdom. Consider putting this one on a poster on your wall as a reminder to learn German or simply as an inspirational quote.

6. To not have all cups in the cupboard

Du hast nicht alle Tassen im Schrank! You can take the slightest bit of offence if you ever hear this one as it basically means You have a screw loose!

7. I believe my pig is whistling

Now we’re getting to the source of the sausage aka the pig. When your pig is whistling, it means that you find something absurd and actually can’t believe it. Someone in your office is giving out free jam-filled doughnuts? Ich glaube mein Schwein pfeift!

You will certainly have noticed how many of these common sayings are in some way about food, sausages in particular. You guessed correctly: Germans love their food and personally, I would choose a Nürnberger Bratwurst over a Cumberland sausage any day of the week! Worry not if your head’s spinning ever so slightly after having studied these sayings, especially if you’re not that familiar with German (yet)! Take them all in and wow your German friends next time with a nonchalant Es ist mir Wurst instead of an Oh, I’m not bothered whilst deciding on your Friday night takeaway meal.

“Never knew before what eternity was made for. It is to give some of us a chance to learn German." - Mark Twain

7 German Sayings Taken Literally - Cheat Sheet

7 German Sayings Taken Literally - cheat sheet (pin or save)


440 views0 comments
bottom of page