November 30th, 2011

swirl

German Phrases That Don't Matter

Originally published at ankewehner.de. You can comment here or there.

For fellow language nerds, some idioms to express that a choice doesn't matter, or that one is indifferent.

  • Zwischen Szylla und Charybdis
  • Between Scylla and Charybdis
  • Die Wahl zwischen Pest und Cholera haben
  • Having the choice between the plague and cholera
  • Das ist mir Jacke wie Hose.
  • It's to me jacket like trousers.
  • ETA: I think this corresponds best with "six of one, half a dozen of the other".
  • Gehupft wie gesprungen
  • Skipped like jumped
  • Note that usually that should be "gehüpft", but in this expression it isn't.
  • Das ist mir egal.
  • It's all the same to me.
  • Das ist mir latte.
  • It's all the same to me.
  • "Latte" (the noun) means "lath". How and why it got turned into an adjective for this expression, I don't know. Maybe because laths are supposed to be the same size all around, and even?
  • Alles Banane.
  • Everything banana.
  • There are choices, but they are pretend choices because the result is all the same?

Another random note: "Zwischen Hammer und Amboss" (between hammer and anvil) surprisingly is not the counterpart of "between a rock and a hard place", but means something like "coming under attack from both sides".

One more English expression for a choice with only bad options is "between the devil and the deep blue sea".

Can you share some idioms to the theme from another language, or that I did not think of?

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