German Proverbs

By | December 4, 2013

Sayings of German origin

Buying is cheaper than asking.

Brandy is as lead in the morning, silver at noon, and gold at night.

Both noble and common blood are the same color.

Boredom is the father of all sins.

Birds of prey do not sing.

Big trees cast more shadow than fruit.

Between the anvil and the hammer.

Better twice remembered than once forgotten.

Better one living word than a hundred dead ones.

Better no spoon than no soup.

Better is better.

Better ask twice than go wrong once.

Better an empty purse than an empty head.

Better a good hanging than a bad marriage.

Better a good conscience without wisdom than wisdom without a good conscience.

Better a friendly denial than unwilling compliance.

Begin to weave and God will give the thread.

Begged bread has a hard crust.

Before God and the bus driver we are all equal.

Beauty is the eye’s food but the soul’s sorrow.

Beard and cloak do not make one a philosopher.

The Federal Republic of Germany

Germany Flag and Map

Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in western-central Europe. It includes 16 constituent states and covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi) with a largely temperate seasonal climate. Germany is the most populous member state in the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular migration destination in the world.

Berlin is the capital of Germany and one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.5 million people, it is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany on the banks of Rivers Spree and Havel, it is the centre of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has about six million residents from over 180 nations. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one-third of the city’s area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes. (An excerpt from Wikipedia)

More German proverbs and sayings:

Young soldiers, old beggars.

Young saint, old devil.

Young gamblers, old beggars.

Young drinkers, old beggars.

Young angel, old devil.

You don’t need a teacher of wickedness.

You catch the mice with bacon.

You cannot hang a man twice.

You cannot hang a man for what he thinks.

You can eat and drink with your family but not count and measure.

You can do anything with children if you only play with them.

You are still a slave if only your limbs are free.

Working on the land is better than praying in the desert.

Work paid for in advance has feet of lead.

Work is our business; its success is God s.

Women prefer to be beautiful rather than good.

Women only keep quiet about their age.

Women and fishes are best in the middle.

Wolves never gossip about each other.

With nice appearance people want to be deceived.

Wine makes secrets float to the surface.

Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

Who talks a lot at the table will leave it hungry.

Who stands bail for someone is being teased by the devil.

Who mocks his chains will not be free.

Who makes his bed on the morrow; goes all day without sorrow.

Who loves ugliness will not encounter beauty.

Who is not ashamed of his sins, sins double.

Who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet.

Who digs a pit for others will fall in themselves.

Who begins too much accomplishes little.

Who bathes his hands in blood will have to wash them with tears.

Who accepts nothing has nothing to return.

Who accepts from another sells his freedom.

Wherever the ram goes the sheep will follow.

Where you are not — there is happiness.

Where there is no jealousy there is no love.

Where there are no swamps there are no frogs.

Where philosophy ends medicine begins.

Where Nature stops folly begins.

Where might is master, justice is servant.

Where God gives hard bread He also gives sharp teeth.

Where God builds a church, the devil builds a chapel.

Whenever women say good-bye they always hang around for a while.

When there is no enemy it is safe to fight.

When the giver comes, the gate opens by itself.

When the fox preaches, look to your geese.

When the devil reigns today God will be master tomorrow.

When shepherds quarrel, the wolf has a winning game.

When money is talking, the rest of the world shuts up.

When I eat your bread, I sing your song.

When God says “today,” the devil says “tomorrow.”

When friendship goes with love it must play the second fiddle.

When fortune knocks open the door.

When an old man marries, death laughs.

When a dove begins to associate with crows its feathers remain white but its heart grows black.

Whatever you save is also earned.

Whatever is to be a nettle, burns early.

Whatever is to be a hook, bends early.

What the lion cannot manage to do the fox can.

What the farmer does not know he doesn’t eat.

What little Jack does not learn, big John will never.

What little Hans didn’t learn, big Hans doesn’t know.

What is the use of running when you’re on the wrong road?

What is sport to the cat is death to the mouse.

What grows makes no noise.

Were I a hatter, men would come into the world without heads.

Weeping bride, laughing wife, laughing bride, weeping wife.

Weeds never die.

Weapons, women, and locks must be guarded at all times.

We do not walk on our legs, but on our will.

Water quenches the thirst but does not teach you how to sing.

Vice often rides triumphantly in the coach of virtue.

Undeserved praise is mockery disguised.

Two is an army against one.

Turn yourself into a sheep and the wolves will eat you.

Truth is for the ears what smoke is for the eyes and vinegar for the tongue.

True friendship does not freeze in the winter.

Towards evening the lazy person begins to get busy.

Too much humility is pride.

Too clever is stupid.

Too aim is not enough, you must hit!

Today red, tomorrow dead.

Today must not borrow from tomorrow.

To question a wise man is the beginning of wisdom.

To know is easier than to do.

To get to know a friend, you must share an inheritance with him.

To criticize is easy, to do is difficult.

To claim is not to prove.

To change and to improve are two different things.

To catch rats the cats take off their gloves.

To call war the soil of courage and virtue is like calling debauchery the soil of love.

To believe everything is too much, to believe nothing is not enough.

To advise is not to compel.

To advise is easier than to help.

To act in anger is like tying up a ship in a storm.

Timid dogs bark most.

Time is anger’s medicine.

Time chases love away and love chases the time away.

Three things come into the house uninvited: debts, age, and death.

Though you seat the frog on a golden stool, he’ll soon jump off it into the pool.

Those who tickle themselves may laugh when they please.

Those that will not hear must be made to feel.

Those that rule must hear and be deaf, must see and be blind.

Those in a high position can be seen from far away.

They quarrel about an egg and let the hen fly.

They love the old that do not know the new.

They are not all hunters who blow horns.

They are not all friends who laugh with you.

They are not all cooks who carry long knives.

There’s none as blind as those who will not see.

There’s no eel so small but it hopes to become a whale.

There is no one luckier than he who thinks himself so.

There is no nail varnish that can make old hands look younger.

There are no bad beers; some kinds are better than others.

The worst behaved students turn out to be the most pious preachers.

The world could have been great if only people had been more useful.

The wise man has long ears and a short tongue.

The stubborn man is ruled by a fool.

The skinnier the dog, the more fleas he has.

The salary of a good servant is never too high.

The rich have medicines the poor have health.

The preacher must be like a chicken that always has an egg in reserve.

The praise of a thousand jesters counts for nothing against the reprimand of one wise man.

The one who wins plays best.

The oldest trees bear the softest fruits.

The old one who is loved is like a winter flower.

The nearer the inn, the longer the road.

The narrower the cage, the sweeter the liberty.

The mountains make the mist and the valleys must consume them.

The most beautiful roses grow on graves.

The morning hour has gold in its mouth.

The more shepherds there are, the worse the flocks are watched.

The monk’s habit is never so blessed that the devil can’t hide in it.

The misery is that you have to ruin your day with work.

The laugh is always on the loser.

The last shuts the door.

The king of the dreamers lies in the hospital.

The husband’s mother is the wife’s devil.

The Hungarian is far too lazy to be bored.

The heaviest baggage for a traveler is an empty purse.

The greatest step is out the door.

The gold of the new world has ruined the old one.

The fingers of the housewife do more than a yoke of oxen.

The fewer the words, the better the prayer.

The fault of another is a good teacher.

The fatter the flea the leaner the dog.

The eyes believe themselves; the ears believe other people.

The devil is in the details.

The devil catches most souls in a golden net.

The cow does not lick a strange calf.

The chickens don’t mourn when the poulterer dies.

The cat’s play is the mouse’s death.

The bridge between joy and sorrow is not long.

The biggest fools are those who are paid to be wise.

The better the fruit, the more wasps to eat it.

The best way to learn to ride is on an old bike.

The best friends are in one’s purse.

The best answer to anger is silence.

The belly is a bad adviser.

The belly has no conscience.

The bait tastes first the fish.

The bachelor is a peacock, the engaged man a lion, and the married man a jackass.

The ass loaded with gold still eats thistles.

The anvil fears no blow.

The acre of laziness is full of thistles.

Take the world as it is, not as it ought to be.

Take one step to hell and you are already half way there.

Take all you want; eat all you take.

Stubbornness is the energy of fools.

Street angel, house devil.

Speaking comes by nature, silence by understanding.

Sorrow does not pay any debts.

Sometimes the whole nation has to pay for the foolish deed of one man.

So long as the belly is silent all whores are virgins.

Small profits and often, are better than large profits and seldom.

Small molehills can turn carriages over.

Sin when you are drunk; pay the fine when you are sober.

Shake hands at the beginning and at the end.

Set a fox to catch a fox.

Scratch a lover and find an enemy.

Salt and bread make the cheeks red.

Said in sport, meant in earnest.

Running and buying don’t go together — running and selling do.

Rich gamblers and old trumpeters are rare.

Rhubarb and patience can work wonders.

Revenge does not long remain un-revenged.

Revenge converts a little right into a great wrong.

Rest breeds rust.

Rent and taxes never sleep.

Rejoiced in youth, repented in age.

Prudent men woo thrifty women.

Promises have legs. Only a gift has hands.

Promises are like the full moon: if they are not kept at once they diminish day by day.

Priests and road signs show you the way but don’t go with you.

Pray as though no work could help, and work as though no prayer could help.

Poor or rich, death makes us all equal.

Politeness is what warmth is to wax.

Petty thieves are hanged; you take off your hat to the big ones.

People talk about something until it actually happens.

People show their character by what they laugh at.

Patience is often better than medicine.

Patience is a bitter plant but it has a sweet fruit.

Our neighbor’s children are always the worst.

Only when the horses have escaped do men repair the stable.

Only believe in the faith of a woman as you would believe in miracles.

One time “here you are” is better than ten times “heaven help you.”

One nail drives out another.

One must either be the hammer or the anvil.

One enemy is too much, and a hundred friends are not enough.

One enemy can harm you more than a hundred friends can do you good.

One does evil enough when one does nothing good.

One coward makes ten.

One beats the bush, another catches the bird.

On the day of victory no fatigue is felt.

Old thieves make good jailers.

Old churches have dark windows.

Old age is no protection against foolishness.

Old age is a disease that you die from.

Office without pay makes thieves.

Of words and feathers, it takes many to make a pound.

O foolish world, why are you scratching around in the dark?

Nothing weights lighter than a promise.

Nothing looks more like a sensible man as a fool who holds his tongue.

Nothing is as new as something which has been long forgotten.

Not to be ashamed of sin is to sin double.

Not all people who have yawned together must get married.

Nobles and dogs leave the door open.

Noble and common blood is of the same color.

No one is wise enough to advice himself.

No one is happier than he who believes in his happiness.

No one is either rich or poor who has not helped himself to be so.

No man can do nothing and no man can do everything.

No diadem can cure a headache.

No bed is big enough to hold three.

No answer is also an answer.

Never to forsake your ideals is better than dreaming of great things.

Never tickle the nose of a sleeping bear.

Never listen to these three advisers: wine, the night, and love.

Never give advice unless asked.

Necessity unites.

Necessity teaches all things.

Nature hangs out her sign everywhere.

Mules make a great fuss about their ancestors having been donkeys.

Mules are always boasting that their ancestors were horses.

Most people like short prayers and long sausages.

More people drown in glasses than in rivers.

Meekness is the pride of the humble.

Marriage is the opposite of a fever attack; it begins very hot and ends very cold.

Luck sometimes visits a fool, but never sits down with him.

Luck seeks those who flee and flees those who seek it.

Loving and singing are not to be forced.

Love your neighbor, but don’t tear down your fence.

Love talks, even with closed lips.

Love sees roses without thorns.

Love can turn a cottage into a golden palace.

Long is not forever.

Liberty is God’s gift, liberties the devil’s.

Let your head be more than a funnel to your stomach.

Let the devil get into the church, and he will mount the altar.

Lazybones takes all day to get started.

Lazy men get active when it’s time to sleep.

A loaded wagon creaks; an empty one rattles.

Jealousy is a pain seeking its cause.

It’s the whole, not the detail that matters.

It’s a poor sheep that cannot carry its own wool.

It’s a poor mouse that sits on the sack and doesn’t gnaw.

It’s a bad bridge that is narrower than the stream.

It is little honor to the lion to seize the mouse.

It is hard to catch birds with an empty hand.

It is good to swim near a boat.

It is difficult to scare people who think they will profit from dying.

It is better to trust the eyes rather than the ears.

Intelligence is the best capital.

In times of emergency the devil eats flies.

In time of war the devil makes more room in hell.

In the visible church the true Christians are invisible.

In the morning of life, work; in the mid day give council; in the evening, pray.

In the land of the cripple everyone thinks he walks straight.

In bad luck, hold out; in good luck, hold in.

In bad fortune hold out, in good hold in.

In America an hour is forty minutes.

If you’ve enjoyed the dance, pay the musicians.

If you want to live long, be healthy and fat, drink like a dog and eat like a cat.

If you want to be old, hang yourself when you are young.

If you want equality, then go to the graveyard.

If you let the weeds grow for a year you will need seven to clear them.

If you heat an empty pot it bursts.

If you fail to practice your art, it will soon disappear.

If you don’t want to be hung yourself, blame the dog for stealing the sausage.

If you don’t want to be deceived, you must have as many eyes as hairs on the head.

If something happens to the master the servants will get his share too.

If I am seen I am joking; if I am not seen I steal.

If bad luck is asleep you must not awaken it.

If a dog’s prayers were answered, bones would rain from the skies.

Idleness is the beginning of all sin.

Idleness has poverty for wages.

I would rather have a dog as a friend than an enemy.

I rest, therefore I rust.

I give a present to the mother but I think of the daughter.

Hussars pray for war and doctors for fever.

Hunger leads the wolf to the village.

Hunger is the best cook, but he has nothing to eat.

Howling makes the wolf bigger than he really is.

However long the sun shines upon a thistle, it will never become a rose.

How easily a hair gets into the butter.

Honey is never far away from the sting.

Honesty makes you rich, but she works slowly.

Hobby horses are more expensive than Arabian stallions.

High climbers and deep swimmers never grow old.

He who writes love letters must have clammy hands.

He who would make a golden door must add a nail to it daily.

He who wants to do a good jump must sometimes take a step back.

He who wants a fire must be able to bear smoke.

He who undertakes to be his own teacher has a fool for a pupil.

He who starts singing too high will never finish the song.

He who sleeps in a silver bed has golden dreams.

He who listens to a proposition is already half sold.

He who likes cherries soon learns to climb.

He who lends to the poor gets his interest from God.

He who is the judge between two friends loses one of them.

He, who is quick to borrow, is slow to pay.

He who is his own teacher has a fool for a pupil.

He who is afraid of doing too much always does too little.

He who invites storks must have frogs in the house.

He who inherits a penny is expected to spend a dollar.

He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief.

He, who has not tasted bitter things, knows not what sweet is.

He who has no shoes dances in his socks.

He who has no enemies has no friends either.

He who has burned his mouth blows his soup.

He who drinks no more still likes to see the beer pulled.

He who does not want to lend loses friends; he who lends gains enemies.

He who does not punish evil invites it.

He who does not open his eyes must open his purse.

He who dies for the truth finds holy ground everywhere for his grave.

He who cries today that he has no bread will cry again tomorrow because he isn’t hungry.

He who blows on the fire will get sparks in his eyes.

He who begins too much accomplishes little.

He that wants to eat the kernel must crack the nut.

He that finds fault wants to buy.

He that always thinks it is too soon is sure to come too late.

Happiness opens the arms and closes the eyes.

Habit is the intelligence of the crowd.

Green wood gives more smoke than heat.

Grain and graciousness grow on good ground.

Good will gives wings to the feet.

Good pay makes happy workers.

Good bargains empty your pockets.

God will help a seaman in a storm but the pilot must still remain at the wheel.

God gives us nuts but he does not crack them for us.

God gives us milk but no jug.

God gave us hands but He doesn’t build bridges with them.

God forgives sinners; otherwise His heaven would be empty.

Go to law for a sheep and lose your cow.

Give up the smallest part of a secret, and the rest is no longer in your power.

Friendship with the French is like their wine; exquisite but short lived.

Friendship is love with intelligence.

Friendship is a plant we must often water.

Fortune and misfortune are two buckets in the same well.

Fortune and misfortune are neighbors.

Forever is a long bargain.

For rich and poor alike the womb is equally warm.

For a lot of people their conscience lives in the middle of the street.

Flatters, like cats, lick and then scratch.

Fire in the heart sends smoke to the head.

Few laws, good nations.

Fat hens lay few eggs.

Fair flowers do not remain long by the wayside.

Fair flowers are not left standing along the wayside long.

Eyes trust themselves, ears trust others.

Experience is the teacher of jesters and the intelligence of the wise.

Everyone wipes his feet on poverty.

Everybody knows good counsel except him that has need of it.

Every fool is different.

Even the lion has to defend himself against flies.

Even the devil’s grandmother was a nice girl when she was young.

Even the devil is beautiful when he is young.

Even ill-natured cows give milk.

Even a fool can govern if nothing happens.

Envy eats nothing but its own heart.

Enough is better than too much.

Eating and drinking holds body and soul together.

Eat your fish while it is still fresh and marry the girl while she is still young.

Eat less, live longer.

Eagles do not breed doves.

Dying is not child’s play.

Dwarfs see giants everywhere.

Drunk sweetly, paid sourly.

Drink makes you forget your sorrow; but only, alas, until tomorrow.

Don’t throw away your old shoes until you have a new pair.

Don’t let your tongue say what your head may have to pay for.

Doctors purge the body, ministers the conscience, lawyers the purse.

Doctors are the signposts to heaven.

Do not despise an insignificant enemy, or a slight wound.

Cunning surpasses strength.

Criticism of the state is all right, but don’t forget the nation is you.

Crime is cunning; it puts an angel in front of every devil.

Compliments cost nothing, yet many pay dearly for them.

Cheese and bread make the cheeks red.

Cheerful company shortens the journey.

Charity sees the need, not the cause.

As the old birds sing, so the young ones twitter.

An ounce of a mother’s wit is worth a pound of schoolgirl’s wit.

An old man loved is winter with flowers.

An old error is always more popular than a new truth.

An old broom knows the corners of the house.

Ambition and fleas jump high.

Always something new, seldom something good.

All the fruit is not found in just one field.

All skill is in vain when an angel pees in the touchhole of your musket.

All men are baked in the same clay.

Advising is often better than fighting.

Advising is easier than helping.

A young doctor means a new graveyard.

A woman’s first advice is her best.

A woman and a stove may not leave the house.

A truth that comes too early or too late is just like a lie.

A thief who steals from a thief is not a thief.

A smart witch can also dance without a broomstick.

A second woman has golden thighs.

A ripe pear is more likely to fall in the shit than onto the clean ground.

A refined kitchen leads to the pharmacy.

A prince without ears to listen has no head to govern.

A person has learned much who has learned how to die.

A pack of cards is the devil’s prayer book.

A millstone gathers no moss.

A marriage in later years sends a letter to the grave digger.

A man trying to sell a blind horse always praises its feet.

A man has two ears and one mouth that he hears much and speaks little.

A man has learned much who has learned how to die.

A lot will stick to dirty hands.

A lie becomes true when one believes it.

A lean agreement is better than a fat lawsuit.

A lawyer and a wagon wheel must be well greased.

A hedge between keeps a friendship green.

A happy man does not hear the clock strike.

A good tree bears good fruit.

A good speaker makes a good liar.

A good soldier has only three things to think about; the king, God, and nothing.

A good name is a second inheritance.

A good lie finds more believers than a bad truth.

A good book praises itself.

A flatterer has water in one hand and fire in the other.

A donkey in Saxony is a professor in Rome.

A country can be judged by the quality of its proverbs.

A clear conscience is a soft pillow.

A bad cause requires many words.

“Must” is a bitter herb.

“Age before beauty,” said the devil as he threw his grandmother off’ the stairs.

German is the official and predominant spoken language in Germany. It is one of 24 official and working languages of the European Union, and one of the three working languages of the European Commission. German is the most widely spoken first language in the European Union, with around 100 million native speakers.

“Song of Germany ” The “Deutschlandlied”  also known as “Das Lied der Deutschen” or “The Song of the Germans”), or part of it, has been the national anthem of Germany since 1922.

German National Anthem ( English Lyrics):

Germany, Germany above all things,
Above everything in the world,
when, for protection and defense,
it always stands brotherly together .
From the Meuse to the Memel,
From the Adige to the Belt,

Germany, Germany above all things,

German women, German loyalty,
German wine and German song
Shall retain in the world
Their old beautiful chime
And inspire us to noble deeds
During all of our life.

German women, German loyalty,
German wine and German song!

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