German ProverbsRating Mail
Joy from others' misfortune is the best joy.
Meaning - Taking pleasure from someone else's misfortune is most enjoyable.
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Snow from yesteryear. (lit. yesterday)
Meaning - A past occurrence,especially something unfortunate,that cannot be undone or rectified.(or)
A metaphore to express that something is old and not up to date.

Note : English Equivalent:: Water under the bridge. (or) Yesterday's news.
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Shoemaker, stick to your last.
Meaning - Just do what you can do best. (or)
Do not meddle in affairs or careers which are too high over your head or social standing.
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Don't bet on only one card.
Note : English Equivalent: Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
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One should not awaken sleeping dogs.
Note : English Equivalent: Let sleeping dogs lie.
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City air makes you free.
Meaning - In medieval times peoples living in free cities were free from a sovereign. They were not bond-slaves like the people in rural areas. So living in a city - 'breathing city air'- meant to be free from bond-slavery to a sovereign. People living in cities could express their own opinion without being harassed. If people escaped to a free city and lived there for one year and one day, they were free of any previous bond to a sovereign.
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A steady drop will carve the stone.
Meaning - Continuous effort will eventually lead to success. (or)
Insignificant damage accumulates.
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It seems Spanish to me.
Meaning - There's something strange.
Note : English Equivalent: That's a bit fishy.
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"Actions instead of words! or Actions speak louder than words" (lit. Actions say more than words.) (or) Let actions result from your words! (or) Let actions speak!
Meaning - A little less conversation - a little more action.
Note : Practise what you preach!
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Declared dead live longer!
Note : Similar: There's life in the old dog yet.
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Dreams are foam.
Meaning - A dream has nothing to do with reality.
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Trust, (but)look, whom.
Meaning - One should be carefull whom one trusts.
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Practice makes the master.
Meaning - Practice makes perfect.
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In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king
Meaning - To stand out doesn't neccessarily imply/require perfection, but to be better then others.
Note : This proverb is also in Latin.
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It's easy to become a father, but hard to be one
Note : Wilhelm Busch.
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Trust is good, but verification is better.
Meaning - Trust but verify.
Note : Coined by Lenin.
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(Too) Many cooks spoil the broth.
Meaning - Large teams are inefficient. (or)
Shared leadership does not work.
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Many roads lead to Rome.
Meaning - There may be more than one way to solve this problem.(or)
In the end, it doesn't matter how you reached your aim.(or)
You cannot really avoid or miss [whatever Rome stands for].

Note : Similar: There's more than one way to skin a cat.
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"Much enemy [sic], much honor".
Meaning - "Who fights a lot will be honoured a lot". Also often used when refering to difficult non-military challenges.(or)
Honorable it is to have [made] many adversaries [implying: having spoken out for truth and cause]

Note : Common proverb attributed to Georg von Frundsberg (1473-1528), a German Landsknecht commander.
English equivalent: The more danger, the more honor. (or) More risk, more reward.
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Many hands make light work.
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Four eyes see more than two.
Note : English equivalent: Two heads are better than one.
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Eat, bird, or die! (Eat or die!)
Meaning - You're in a sticky situation where you don't have much of a choice among a wide variety of gourmet meals. In a wider sense, you've got to make do with some unpleasant prospect because the alternative is even worse.
Note : English equivalent: It's sink or swim. (or) Take it or leave it!
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"Out of the rain and into the eaves.
Meaning - Going from one unpleasant situation into one that is even worse. The idea seems to be that you are coming from the rain to stand under the edge of the eaves, where the water collected from the whole roof is going to pour onto your head.
Note : English equivalent: Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
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"From nothing comes nothing.
Meaning - The outcome of your effort is related to the effort you put into it. If you don't try, you aren't going to get any results.
Note : English equvivalent: You can't make something out of nothing. (or) No pain, no gain. (or) There ain't no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL).
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"What's right for one, is fair for the other."
Note : English equivalent: "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." (or) One man's meat is another man's poison.
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"What the peasant doesn't know, he doesn't eat."
Meaning - Used when criticizing someone for refusing to try new ways of doing something.,
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Don't postpone things you can do today to tomorrow.
Meaning - You should do tasks straightaway without any postponement.
Note : English equivalent: A stitch in time saves nine.
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"What isn't yet can still become."
Meaning - "'It hasn't' doesn't mean 'it won't'."
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"What one dishes out, he must also eat."
Note : English equivalent: "You made your bed, now lie in it." (or) "You do the crime, you do the time".
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"What Hanschen (diminutive, little Hans) didn't learn, (grown-up) Hans will never learn."
Meaning - "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
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"He whom the shoe fits puts it on."
Meaning - If something (usually bad) true has been said about you, better to accept it than to disagree.(or)
If something bad has been said about someone, this person reacts angrily only if it is true.

Note : English equivalent: "If the shoe fits, wear it."
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If the horseman is bad, it's the horse's fault.
Note : English equivalent: "A poor craftsman blames his tools."
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When scoundrels argue, the truth is revealed.
Meaning - Secret or criminal acts can only be kept a secret as long as the perpetrators do not quarrel among themselves.
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If you say A, you have to say B as well.
Meaning - No half-assed evading or cherry picking. (or)
If you want or assert A and it turns out to involve B, you have to put up with B too.

Note : Similar: "In for a penny, in for a pound."
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You aren't worth the Taler (ancient German currency) if you don't honor the Pfennig. (or) You aren't worth the Euro if you don't honor the Cent.
Meaning - If you dont respect small amounts of money, you dont deserve big amounts of money.
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Who wants not, has already. (or) He who does not want something already has enough.
Meaning - Slightly oponionated reply to a refused offer. "So you are provided for already" (or)
If someone offers something and you dont speak up, the guy either remindes you that you need it real bad or that he wants more appreciation.

Note : Similar English idioms: "Use it or lose it." "Speak now or forever hold your peace."
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"He who laughs last, laughs best."
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"Who wagers nothing, he wins nothing".
Note : English equivalent: "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
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"Who digs a pit for others falls into it himself."
Meaning - "Harm set, harm get."
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"Who comes first, grinds (his grain) first."
Meaning - "First come, First served".
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"Whose bread I eat, that's whose song I sing."
Meaning - "He who pays the piper calls the tune."
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"Who has the choice, has the suffering".
Meaning - Decisions can be painful. (or)
Having the choice also means having to choose.
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"Wine on beer, I recommend to you. Beer on wine, leave alone."
Meaning - "Cider on beer, never fear; beer upon cider, makes a bad rider."
Note : "Liquor before beer, all is clear; beer before liquor, get sicker and sicker."
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"Just as one calls into the forest, so it echoes back."
Meaning - Do not expect friendly reply when being obnoxious. (or)
Bad language may have other causes than innate bad character.

Note : Similar: "What goes around, comes around."
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"As you put yourself to bed, so you will lie."
Meaning - "You made your bed, now lie in it." (or)
Everyone makes his own fate.
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"Like pitch and sulphur."
Meaning - "E.g. good friends, who are inseparable or/and make all together, are like pitch and sulphur."
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"Where you plane splinters fall."
Meaning - If something non-trivial gets done there are non-perfect aspects to it. (or)
"You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."
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"Where there could be a mind you should search."
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"When two quarrel, the third rejoices."
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"He who doesn't want to listen will have to experience."
Meaning - "If you don't want to listen to what I tell you, you will get to feel a spanking." (or)
"I told you better but you didn't listen. Now you have to deal with the problem."

Note : English equivalent: "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other." - Benjamin Franklin.
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