13 German idioms featuring birds

Don’t you just love idioms? Like ‘the early bird catches the worm’ or ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’. I was always told that, if you know idioms in a foreign language, you’re  fluent (or, alternatively, if you can swear in that language ☺)
So, are there any ‘bird’ idioms or phrases in German? Yes is the answer and here they are:

  • einen Vogel haben – to have bats in the belfry
  • den Vogel abschießen – to take the biscuit
  • ein komischer Vogel – an odd duck
  • ein schräger Vogel – an odd fish
  • frei wie ein Vogel – free as a bird
  • Der frühe Vogel frisst den Wurm – the early bird catches the worm
  • Der Vogel ist ausgeflogen – the bird has flown the nest
  • weder Fisch noch Vogel sein – to fall between the stools
  • Du siehst wie einen Vogelscheuche (scarecrow) aus – You look like something the cat’s dragged in
  • Vogel-Strauß-Politik betreiben – to bury one’s head in the sand
  • der Pechvogel – jinx, unlucky person
  • Vogel friss oder stirb – sink or swim
  • ein lustiger Vogel – a funny guy

Have you heard any of these phrases before? Which one is your favourite?

I’ll leave you with some ‘lustige Vögel’, some real funny birds – no German required ☺

 

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2 Responses to 13 German idioms featuring birds

  1. Barbara says:

    very in-depth, thank you. I had not come across the odd fish/duck. Which reminds me – I live in the East Midlands where people in working class contexts greet each other as ‘duck’ (pronounced with u not a!) – clearly a term of endearment.
    When I had my first telephone conversation with my first client in my first locum social work assignment here some 9 years ago, I insisted the male client use my name instead. – He was very apologetic, I soon learned the connotations and we got on very well from there.

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