Advent Calendar 18 – “Piggy Idioms”



Hello everyone,

day ___ of our Advent Calendar and today, we’ll get a little boost for our idiomaticness… wait, idiomaticness… is that even a word?
Anyway, today we’ll learn two really really cool and useful idiomatic expressions. And not just any idiomatic expressions but idiomatic expressions involving an animal. And not just any animal, but the pig. And not just any pig but the cute little… okay, actually it’s any pig :).

The pig is probably one of the most common animals for expressions all over the world. And the thing they’re most known for, and hence the most common topic for pig-idioms  is their ability to do calculus.

Okay…. of course I’m kidding. This is NOT what you’d say in German.
I mean, they ARE really good at calculus (I had one do my homework back in the day), but the thing they’re usually associated with is that they’re dirty. And German has a bunch of variations over that theme.

And the first idiom I want to show you is probably loosely based on this.
The first one is kein Schwein  and it is a common, colloquial way to say nobody.
The original idea was probably something like “Not even a pig (or pig like person) …” but it doesn’t sound as strong anymore.

I mean, it is still rough, but it’s not at all vulgar or offensive and there’s actually a quite famous song with it. I’ll put a link below, but first, let’s look at the other expression: Schwein haben.
Literally, it is “to have a pig” and believe it or not, here the pig is a synonym for…  luck.
Yes, luck. Schwein haben essentially means to be lucky. Actually, the pig is a symbol for luck in general, just like a four leave clover.

It’s actually no exactly clear where this notion and the phrasing Schwein haben come from and there are several theories. One says, that Schwein was a synonym for a very high value card in a card game. Another theory says that it was because at some medieval competitions you’d get a pig when you finish last, so you got something good without doing something for it.
And even though these sound already super convincing, but my favorite theory is my own… Schwein haben was coined by young scholars when they were allowed to bring their pet pig with them to the calculus exam.
Tadah. #originsolved #comingfullcircle
Anyway, examples…

Schwein haben is super super common in daily life and you should start start using it.
And in case your significant other asks you to not eat like a pig when with their parents at Christmas just say: “Freu dich doch, dass du Schwein hast.”
They’ll be convinced. Probably :).
And that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed it. Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments,
have a great day and bis morgen.

Here’s the link to video to the “Kein Schwein” song.  (if it ends up as an embed, it’s not my fault, dear lawyers)



for members :)

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The Schwein idioms kill me every time!

How about this one:

Wie ein Schwein ins Uhrwerk blicken

(To be baffled?)


Ich glaub, mein Schwein pfeift!

(Butter my butt and call me a biscuit)

Because we quickly went over genitive at the end of term, I‘m happy to have the opportunity to review:

Der Sänger der Oper IST viel zu laut.
(The opera singers are way too loud – no ody could hear themselves speak in here)

Why is it IST and not SIND – Die Sänger is plural.

And not having the solution to yesterday‘s Suchratsel is bugging me.


Oy, ich habe gesehen, Max Raabe dieses Lied im Februar in Hamburg im Mehr! Teather am Grossmarkt spielen.

Ok. Gutes Beispiel für kein Schwein mit dem Satzbau.

Der Name der Teathers ist „ Mehr! Teather am Grossmarkt“.




More idiomatic for “Schweinestall” is “pig sty.”

Lots of pig idioms in German – even more if you count expressions with “Sau”.

Idiomatic Expressions

Hi, I am learning German these and I found it’s too hard to learn.
And of course it harder than English.

German idioms are pretty interesting.

Danke dir

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri

Hello Emanuel,
Ich habe “doppelt Schein gehabt” ! Dieses Lieds ” Kein Schwein ruft mich an ” ist sehr schön und humorvoll und der Swinger hat eine schöne stimme, ich finde .
Und für meine Frage gestern:
Ich möchte wissen wie benutzt man die zweiteiligen präposionen ? Ich gebe hier zwei Beispiele.
1 VON mir AUS . Die beide präposionen sind entfernt und klammert die MIR .
Über der Grenze HIN ( oder Hinweg )
2: BIS ZU nächster Woche. Die beide präposionen sint neben einander .
Bitte wenn du Zeit und Lust hast , erkläre mich darauf.

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri



Ich hatte Schwein! Ich hielte meine Rede am letzten – das Publikum war dann entspannt und ich brauchte nicht die Schilder (Gelächter/Applaus) ich habe hergestellt. Nur einmal, um einen lustige Teil zu erhöhen. SOGAR der Professor hat gelacht! Und er ist Deutscher! Die Deutschen lachen nicht, wenn etwas nicht lustig ist.

Erlichkeit geht vor Höflichkeit in DE.

Ich glaube, dass meine Noten genug gut sind, um nächstes Semester Deutsch an der Uni Lund zu lesen! WhooHoo!

Ok, how was the satzbau on that last bit?


I’m sooo happy for you!
I was going to ask tomorrow, but I’ve just seen this comment!
Do you live in Lund? I’m going to Malmo in March, any suggestions on which “sehenswurdigkeiten” I should see?


Wow! Nobody EVER goes to Sweden!

Ich wohne in Malmö. Zwölf minuten mit dem Zug.

Es gibt ein bisschen zu sehen.

If Ema gives me the go-ahead to write my Handynummer, then you can sms me – if you have an iPhone TOLLE! If not, you can use my mail.

Glad you showed up – wanted to than you for the Onleihe tip! Sitting here, RIGHT NOW, an der Bar, at the Grand Hotel in Lund, enjoying a Paulauner weiß after my speech, READING A BOOK I BORROWED FROM ONLEIHE! „Rubinrot“ from the Jungebücher – really getting into it!

Danke sehr für den Tip! Viele guten Bücher zu leihen!


Frißt er wie ein Schwein? oder ißt er wie ein Schwein.


I hear “keine Sau” fairly often. Is that interchangeable with “kein Schwein”?


Hello Jake, I found this in LEO..

Keine Sau interessiert sich dafür. [lit.] sg. [North Germany] coll.
Sprichwort, sehr umgangsprachlich

Nobody really gives a damn / a sh*t …


Keine sau schreibt mir..

It sucks. Nobody writes to me.

So I don’t think you can use it interchangeably.


Nice post! Love all the pig/pork expressions in German! I wrote a post on it a while back too – – enjoy ;)

Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER
Rohrkrepierer ‐ KOOK & HECKLER

SPECK– takulär !!! Haben Sie weitere Posts im Netz anzu- sau- en ?


SPECK–takulär – hahaha! Nicht über Speck aber gibt andere Posts über die Deutsche Sprache z.B. :)


And kann ich sagen “ich habe Schwein” oder “du hast Schwein”? Oder es ist nur zu sagen “ich habe Schwein gehabt?