German Of The Day: Schwein gehabt

“Having pig” means got lucky, or you had a lucky break.


Two arrested after Germany shuts down shopping mall over fears of terrorist attack.

The sources said a German man who traveled to Syria to fight alongside the group was the suspected mastermind. He had reportedly been in contact with a number of people in the Essen area to organize the attack, and had also sent them bomb-making instructions via an online chat.

And Yet Another Leap Forward Already

Back to the past, I mean.


Step one: Develop a a maglev train technology that any ecology-minded tree hugger and profit-minded industrialist ought to have been thrilled about.

Step two: Go out of your way as ecology-minded German tree huggers to make absolutely sure that this technology is a complete failure at home.

Step three: Give up as a government years later by auctioning off the technology to the lowest bidder. Fine, to the highest bidder. But they’ll be giving it away “for an apple and an egg,” as the German idiom goes.

Jahrzehntelang stand der Transrapid für die Mobilität der Zukunft – die in Deutschland aber nie Gegenwart wurde.

Pepper Spray’s Scarce These Days

As you all well know, Germans don’t do guns (unlike uncivilized American types). They are a peace-loving, law-abiding Volk.

Pepper Spray

But hot diggity damn do they ever love buying pepper spray! Some would say da liegt der Hase im Pfeffer (the rabbit’s in the pepper) = And that is crux of the matter.

A spate of hundreds of sex assaults allegedly committed mostly by North African men on New Year’s Eve in Cologne has sparked an “explosion in sales” of pepper spray and non-lethal guns, German officials and an industry chief said.

Authorities are investigating more than 670 criminal complaints — almost 350 of them sexual offenses — after hundreds of women were groped and robbed by groups of men outside the main railway station in the western city.

“Die Verkäufe von Pfefferspay sind seit Sommer 2015 angestiegen. Momentan verkaufe ich an einem halben Tag so viele wie sonst in zwei Monaten, 30 bis 50 Stück können da schon mal über den Tresen gehen.”

German Of The Day: Nervensäge

That means “nerve saw” or annoying person. And heaven knows that Claudia Roth of the German Greens has spent an entire career making a name for herself in that department.


The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung even once referred to her as the “Mother of All Nerve Saws.” But that was then and this is now. She has clearly mellowed out now that she just turned 60 (today). Now it’s more like she just gnaws on your nerves.

Happy Birthday, Claudia!

Selbst Etiketten wie “Mutter aller Nervensägen”, wie die “FAZ” einmal schrieb, ärgern die streitbare Politikerin nicht. Im Gegenteil: Im Bundestagswahlkampf 2013 griff sie das Thema selbstironisch auf, eine Parteikampagne für mehr weibliche Mitglieder warb mit dem Spruch: “Wer nervt mehr als Claudia?”

Kleinvieh Macht Auch Mist

Literally, “small animals make manure, too.” But of course this German idiom means more. What they’re really saying is “every little bit counts.”


And the Süddeutsche Zeitung just found a whole bunch of manure when it brought out a report about German small arms sales. They hit an all-time high in 2012, at more than double the previous year’s sales.

And Germans are really concerned about this (not). Not at all, really. As a matter of fact, as far as I can tell, the only time Germans seem to get concerned about small arms is when one of those crazy Americans goes berserk and uses one to kill a bunch of innocent people again because there is simply not enough effective gun control legislation in that dang dern US-Amerika country of theirs. Legislation aimed at stopping small arms imports from Germany, I suppose they mean.

Exporting small weapons is a contentious issue as they are used to kill far more people than heavy weapons and major military equipment around the world. Amnesty International estimates that 1,000 people die each day from gunshot wounds inflicted by small arms. Owing to their size, they are also the hardest weapons to keep track of, and circulate with comparative ease in conflict zones.