Positive Idioms in German

You may find idioms difficult to learn and use, but they are an inescapable aspect of learning a new language.

German is no piece of cake, even more so its idioms, but learning them is well worth the effort! In the following blog post, we will focus on positive idioms in German.

What Is an Idiom?

If you are new to language learning or have never heard of idioms, don’t skip this part!

Essentially, an idiom is a phrase that cannot be understood on a word-by-word basis but must be learned as a whole, as in “It’s raining cats and dogs,” an English idiom used to describe particularly heavy rain.

Why are idioms important? Most of all, because they help you to expand your vocabulary and improve your conversation flow by a mile, since native speakers use them all the time.

So, is learning idioms an impossible task? It certainly is if you are aiming to learn all of them at once! However, we choose to stay on the positive side, so we’ll be introducing you to a long list of German idioms gradually.

Read on for popular positive idioms in German!

Positive Idioms in German

Idiom in GermanEnglish TranslationMeaningGerman Example
Da steppt der BärAn off-the-hook partyIf you want to tell someone that a party is not to be missed, this is the idiom you should use.Da beginnt eine tolle Party! Da steppt der Bär.
Den Nagel auf den Kopf treffenTo hit the nail on the headHas someone just nailed it? This is exactly what this idiom is about.Ich habe den Nagel auf den Kopf getroffen!
Weggehen wie warme SemmelnTo sell like hotcakesIf you want to talk about something that is a great commercial success, note this idiom.Ihr neues Album geht weg wie warme Semmeln.
Jemandem die Daumen drückenTo cross your fingersThis idiom is commonly used to wish someone good luck.Ich drücke dir die Daumen.
Schwein habenTo be luckyWant to let the world know how lucky you got? Ich habe Schwein gehabt!Klar, ich habe Schwein gehabt!
Es ist alles in ButterIt is all goodWhen you’re doing fine, you are literally “covered in butter.” Instead of just letting someone know you are fine, try using this idiom next time.Wie geht es mir? Es ist alles in Butter!
Turteltauben seinTo be lovebirdsThis romantic idiom is used to talk about two people who are freshly in love.Wir sind wie zwei Turteltauben.
Auf Wolke 7 schwebenTo float on cloud nineIf you use this German idiom, you mean that you are extremely, utterly happy about something.Sie ist wirklich verliebt. Sie schwebt auf Wolke 7!
Jemanden den Hof machenTo court someoneWhen you enter a relationship, you want to please your significant other by giving gifts. This idiom describes the dating period.Er versucht meiner Schwester den Hof zu machen.
Nach Strich und FadenDo something very thoroughlyThis popular idiom was initially positive, meaning that something is done in great detail, meticulously. However, by now, it has taken a more cynical, negative turn.Initially: Diesen Preis haben wir uns verdient, da wir alles nach Strich und Faden gemacht haben.Now: Nach diesem Vorfall warteten sie vor der Fabrik und verprügelten ihn nach Strich und Faden.
Oberwasser habenTo have funThis idiom has several meanings, but as we want to focus on the positive, the meaning you’re interested in is “to have fun.”Ich glaube, dass wir Oberwasser haben werden.
Guten RutschHave a good year!“Guten Rutsch” is used to wish someone a happy new year.Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!

If you enjoyed learning these idioms with us, you can sign up for Lingvist’s German course. It’s a great way to practice online at a level that is tailored to your needs.

If you are having trouble getting the hang of some vocabulary or aspects of the grammar, our app will automatically give you more opportunities to practice until you get it right. Wir drücken dir die Daumen!

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