Idiomatic expressions (from Fehmarn)
Collected by Peter Wiepert/Fehmarn
English Translation By E.Bügge-Wood
- He kaak ehr in en Ohr Grütt un in de anner Beer = He cooks grits in one of her ears
and beer in the other. (Making a fool out of a girl.)
- Dor is wat in de Flat = There is something (brewing) going on.
- Dat is en Knievel Brot = That is a thick slice of Bread
- He is so grotsch as de Börger Klockentorn = He is so vain like the church tower in
- Dat is bedäk Luft = The sky is cloudy
- Bedoh di man nich so = Dont act so great, or dont bragg
- Dat gottwedert = Its thundering and lightning
- Paslatand = Wasting the time. French: pas le temp
- En grotbetansch Dern = A girl who is acting snobbish
- Uns Övernaver heet NN = Our neighbor across from as is NN.
- De Kalv is schnickenfett = The calve is fat
- He is sunn richtig Herrnhiller = He is a real brown noser (Worshipping the lords)
- En Botterhex = A Xantippe (to put down a woman)
- He hett sik bepowert = He got rich by being stingy
- Knop = Mustard seed. (Latin: sinapis arvensis.)
- Se is noch in dumm Viddeljohr = She is still in dumb first quarter year of age.
(Just a babe)
- He is ganz un gor blucks = He lost everything. (Blucks means broke or pennyless from
- De Kark bengt = The church sweats. (after cold weather the outer walls of high
buildings would have a gray layer for a short while)
- De schriff - bliff in Griff = With your signature you are responsible
- Se lepen mit en Pollnus rüm = They wore a collar lined with lambfur
- Se tünselt rüm as en Blindemeu = She walks shaky like an old woman who has her
eyes tied up.
- Se geiht in deep Sorg, as Fru Schellbietern = She is dressed in mourning attire,
like a [Schellbieter =] black bug
- Bi uns hüs Rament in Hus = At home we have much noise. [Rament = Arguments].
- He markert grot Kommaf = He makes like a great man. (He acts like a monkey in
- Dat mag woll = That could be (if a person doesnt want to agree.)
- He spelt hüt Blirre- un Bleiermann = He is pretending, because hes drunk
- He kann opn Möhl keen Weeten mehr mahln = He cant make a profit by running
- He hett sin Naver opn Schill schaten = He shot his neighbor on the stone bridge.
Duel or getting even with a person, (old tradition which was outlawed by 1750)
- Jor vel beter de Jor. - jor vel fuler de Kor = The better land will give a full
return. (It isnt all gold that glitters.)
- Wer keen Schap dörch'n Winter bringen kann, schall mitn bücken nich
örst verseuken = If you cant get the sheep through the winter, you need not try
to send her to the bock, [For fertilization]
- He is grot an Heutt bin Kämmerer Flöh. = Hes doing so great,
that hes herding the chamberlains flees. (hes brown nosing)
- Sin Fro is en: deepgahn Schip = His wife can spend much for the house. (His wife
sails in deep waters)
- He kümmt all weller över Westermarkelsdörp ansegeln = He starts to speak very
diplomatic to get what he is after.
- lk weet dor nix vann!' sä de Jungn, as de Preester ein frogen dä, wer bi
sin Appeln wes wär,man hett de Kopp so nog vull. = I have no idea, said the boy, when
the preacher asked him "who picked my apples?" One has enough to remember!
- De Welt is rund un bunt", sä de ol Tante Menne (Emereutia), eäwer
kunterbunt is dorin to leven! = The world is round and crowded but its difficult
to live in it.
- He hett op Burger Brüch een Ticker kreegen = He goes berserk when in the company of
a well respected person and meeting someone below his status. (Or class)
- Mi kannst nich meen, ik heff de näs vor = You cant impress me, I am informed
- Piekas is Lukas sin Höhnerhund, aver Rotten bit he nich = "Ace of spades"
is "Lukes" (biblical) [name for the beach manager] chicken dog (who only
attacks chickens [the meek], but never bites rats. [Never catches the real criminals.]
- Sin Geld is uck in Sund foln = He lost all his money
- Schüter de Buck von vörn - de Per von achtern - de Menschen aver vor all
de Sieden = Grab the [male] goats from the front and he horse from the rear, but the
people you chase from all sides
- De Menschen sünd hüterdogs uck nich beter wordn as freuher", sä de Voß,
as de Buer ein Deuwelsdreck (Asa foetida) opn Stert streit har. = "people
arent any better nowadays as they used to be" said the fox, when the farmer had
poured some devils dirt (Asa foetida), on his tail.
- Vel Schwien gev dünn Drank = Many children in the family get meager meals.
- Uns Heine föhrt to See", sä de ol Fro ut Landkirchen, as ehr Jungn in de
Puttgorner Wieschen, de överschwümmt wärn, Hei rutbötern müß. = Our Heine is
going to sea, said the old woman from Landkirchen, when her son had to use a boat to get
the hay out of the floode Meadow near Puttgarden.
- He is so olt, as de Vitzber Steenkist = He is as old as the stone grave (prehistoric
grave) in Vitzdorf
- Dat Recht mütt sin Gang gahn", sä de Jellnsdörper Schütter
(Vieheinfänger), do sparr he sin eegen Koh in. = The law has to be obeyed, said the
animal catcher from Jellingsdorf, when he caught his own cow [In another mans
- Op de Welt let sik leven", sä de Kohharrjungn, wenn de verdammte
Scholmeister nich wär" = Its nice to live here on Earth, said the boy,
herding the cows,- if it wasnt for the damn schoolmaster [When he finds out that
Im missing school]
- He strev as en Plogdriever na Fierabend = He gets very busy after work
- De beiden lev bettvertörnt = They live separate between bed and table [They
dont sleep together]
- He mütt bald na Peter Rießen" = Hes soon going to die [Going to Peter
Riessen in Landkirchen, who was grave digger and church-bell ringer]
- En Schörtenband kost nich vel aver doran fummeln hett all Lüd von Hus
un Hoff bröch. = An apronstring cost little but to fondle it [to be a
womanizer], has robbed many a man of house and property.
A note from the translator: "Many of these expressions can only be understood by
an old islander, who can still speak "Low German"
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