Eins, zwei, drei — German idioms involving numbers | Culture Slot | DW | 29.01.2020
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Eins, zwei, drei — German idioms involving numbers

From "in the wink of an eye" to "good grief" and "caught between a rock and a hard place" — the equivalent idioms in German often use numbers from zero to 10 and beyond.

Proverbs and sayings that involve numbers are common in both English and German.

Germans routinely refer to high society as "die oberen Zehntausend" (the upper 10,000), and con men employ "Trick 17." 

People who ramble are seen as moving "vom Hundertsten ins Tausendste" (from the hundreds to the thousands), while the rule of thumb is referred to as "Pi mal Daumen," a cautious first assessment or evaluation.

Watch out if you hear someone shout "Jetzt schlägt's 13!"(the clock has hit 13)  — that person is bound to be thoroughly fed up.

"Nullachtfünfzehn," or 08/15 is the German term for standard, run of the mill. It is also a type of machine gun used in both World Wars, a gun soldiers used for practice and got bored with.

You'll find more from Meet the Germans on YouTube or at dw.com/MeettheGermans

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