Eine Redewendung is a solid combination of words that together have a certain and usually figurative meaning. Its meaning is not a direct reflection of the meaning of the individual elements which the sentence is composed of. Some of the Redewendungen contain former rhetorical figures, especially metaphors.
You can also name Redewendung in German as Redensart, Ausdrucksweise, Floskel or Formel.
There are many idioms (Redewendungen) in each language, including the German language. Ein Sprichwort, a saying or proverb, is a fun way to learn and remember new vocabulary in German. However, Redewendungen are usually limited to regional distribution.
Some expressions are more common than others. Some may be a little more contemporary, some may be a bit old-fashioned. But they can all be used in everyday conversations and always add an extra little flare to your language.
Your understanding of Redewendungen requires background knowledge of the language. The appropriation of linguistic imagery is a process that can last for a large part of childhood and ultimately last a lifetime. Therefore, as a non-native speaker, you may as well learn what the German words mean, but in order to know the meaning of eine Redewendung, you require a greater familiarity with German people and their culture.
The most common
Below you will find some of the most common Redewendungen or sayings and proverbs used in the daily German life and what they mean exactly:
Alles in Butter
- everything is great
Tomaten auf den Augen haben
- not being able to see something which is in front of you
ich verstehe nur Bahnhof
- I don’t understand anything
das Leben ist kein Ponyhof
- life isn’t easy
unter die Haube kommen
- to get married
Das ist mir Wurst
- it’s all the same to me
- Keep your fingers crossed!
Er hat einen dicken Kopf
- He’s got a hangover
Learn German Redewendungen with DAS Akademie!
Do you want to know how to use common German Redewendungen in your daily life ? Visit DAS Akademie Instagram and our Facebook page and you’ll find some examples! In our language school in Berlin we use them all the time to get into the german culture with our students!