Simply the hammer: Popular German idioms involving tools | Meet the Germans | DW | 27.11.2019
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages
Advertisement

Meet the Germans

Simply the hammer: Popular German idioms involving tools

German idioms: What people mean when they make nails with heads, or shout about showing you where the hammer hangs. Don't expect a visit to their workshop!

"That is the hammer!" 

If you hear a German say "Das ist der Hammer!" they're talking about something that's brilliant or absolutely dreadful, expressing their amazement or frustration about something that's completely unusual, unexpected — perhaps reflecting the way the tool could just change everything with a single strike. 

There is a great variety of everyday German idioms  and phrases that use colorful images, from arms and legs to hats and sleeves, donkeys and monkeys, cherries, peas and potatoes — as well as terms from the world of tools and workshops, often dating back hundreds of years. 

In English, people may have an ax to grind — the German phrase with the same meaning uses entirely different imagery: Germans would more commonly have a chicken to pluck ("Hühnchen zu rupfen"). Other phrases are readily recognizable in both languages, as both German and English-language speakers can have a screw loose!

Click through the gallery above to learn more German expressions involving tools.

You'll find more from Meet the Germans on YouTube or at dw.com/MeettheGermans, and check out DW's cartoon series That's so German for a humorous take on German culture and stereotypes.

Fernandez cartoon: two children playing in the sand

Proper tools for a proper sand castle: A cartoon from the series 'That's so German'

DW recommends

WWW links