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German Proverbs





German proverbs provide a unique insight into the language, cultures, and societies of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. They are also rich with literary history and legend, and at times share origins with English proverbs. So browse for what you're looking for, or simply wander around to deepen your knowledge of German proverbs.

A B D E G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Z


Macht geht vor Recht
might is (makes) right (lit.: might goes before right)

Man ist, was man isst
you are what you eat (n.b.: German has a nice pun here between isst and ist, which are pronounced almost identically)

man muss sich nur zu helfen wissen
you just have to use your head

Man soll das Fell des Bären nicht verkaufen, bevor man ihn erlegt hat
don't count your chickens before they are hatched (lit.: one shouldn't sell the bear's fur before it has been killed.

Man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben
there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip (lit.: one shouldn't praise the day before the evening).

Mit den Wölfen muß man heulen
when in Rome, do as the Romans do (lit.: with the wolves one must howl).

Mit Geduld und Spucke fängt man eine Mücke
softly, softly catchee monkey (lit.: with patience and spit one finds the midge).

Mit solchen Freunden braucht man keine Feinde mehr
With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Morgen ist auch (noch) ein Tag
tomorrow is another day.

Morgen, morgen, nur nicht heute, sagen alle faulen Leute
never put off till tomorrow what you can do today (lit.: tomorrow, tomorrow, not today, that's what all the lazy people say).

Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund
the early bird gets the worm (lit.: the morning hour has gold in the mouth).


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