Like in many languages, spoken German is peppered with colloquialisms that don’t seem to make much sense at first glance. For some reasons, Austrians and Germans are particularly fond of spicing up their Umgangssprache by giving groceries new meanings.
Eier are not just the things that you crack into your frying pan in the morning, they are also the two ovals that hang between a man’s legs.
If you want to compliment a man on his bravery you can say that er hat dicke Eier (he’s got fat eggs).
Or, if you a football hits you in the wrong place you can say “Aua, das hat mich direkt in die Eier getroffen!” (that hit my eggs).
By the way, your Nudel (pasta) completes the trinity of the male genitalia.
More anatomy here: your head is sometimes referred to in everyday speech as either your Birne or your Rübe (turnip). This is somewhat equivalent to the word ‘noggin’ in English dialect.
The German word for a potato in Germany is also used as an insult for people who are ethnically German. It could also be used ironically by Germans to describe typically German behaviour. Er ist eine richtige Kartoffel! is an insult you might reserve for someone who wears socks and sandals outdoors.
Kartoffel as a description for Germans has become controversial in recent years, with some conservative politicians warning that it is being used in school playgrounds to bully German children.
In Austria, the word for potato is Erdapflel.
Austrians famously care about their sausages. Most regions have their own local delicacy and will proudly insist that it is the best in the country. But the word Wurst can also be used to mean that you don’t care.
So, if you want to tell someone you don’t give a toss, you can say: Das ist mir völlig Wurst! (That’s complete sausage to me).
Apparently, the phrase comes from the fact that butchers once used leftover meat in their sausages.
An expression using the German word for beer is similar. To say Das ist nicht mein Bier is to say that’s not my business (and is usually used just after you’ve poked you nose into someone else’s affairs).
The origins of this phrase seem obscure. One theory has it that the word Bier has come to replace Birne (pear), which is used to mean Sache (thing) in some dialects.
The word for lettuce or salad can be used in a couple of ways in everyday speech. If someone is talking gibberish then a Wortsalat is coming out of their mouth.
Additionally, if you have the salad (den Salat haben) then you are counting the cost for a misadventure.
You might not be surprised to hear that the word for cream signifies exclusivity in German. Much like the expression crème de la crème, German speakers call something erste Sahne to mean it is top notch.