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Almanca Atasözleri – W

Was dem einen recht ist, ist dem anderen billig.
o Translation: “What’s right for one, is fair for the other.”
o English equivalent: “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

Was der Bauer nicht kennt, das frisst er nicht.
o Translation: “What the peasant doesn’t know, he doesn’t eat.”
o Meaning: Used when criticizing someone for refusing to try new ways of doing something.,

Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen.
o Translation: Don’t postpone things you can do today to tomorrow.
o Meaning: You should do tasks straightaway without any postponement.

Was nicht ist, kann noch werden.
o Translation: “What isn’t yet can still become.”
o Meaning: “‘It hasn’t’ doesn’t mean ‘it won’t’.”

Was man sich eingebrockt hat, das muss man auch auslöffeln.
o Literal translation: “What one dishes out, he must also eat.”
o English equivalent: “You made your bed, now lie in it.”
o English equivalent: “You do the crime, you do the time”

Was Hänschen nicht lernte, lernt Hans nimmermehr.
o Translation: “What Hänschen (diminutive, little Hans) didn’t learn, (grown-up) Hans will never learn.”
o “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Wasser unter der Brücke.
o Translation: “Water beneath the bridge”
o Meaning: “‘It is in the past.”
o English equivalent: What’s done is done.

Wem der Schuh passt, der zieht ihn sich an.
o Translation: “He whom the shoe fits puts it on.”
o Meaning: If something (usually bad) true has been said about you, better to accept it than to disagree.
o Meaning2: If something bad has been said about someone, this person reacts angrily only if it is true.
o English equivalent: “If the shoe fits, wear it.”
o English equivalent2: ??

Wenn der Reiter nichts taugt, ist das Pferd schuld.
o Translation: If the horseman is bad, it’s the horse’s fault.
o English equivalent: “A poor craftsman blames his tools.”

Wenn Gauner sich streiten kommt die Wahrheit ans Licht.
o Translation: When scoundrels argue, the truth is revealed.
o Meaning: Secret or criminal acts can only be kept a secret as long as the perpetrators do not quarrel among themselves.

Wer A sagt, muss auch B sagen. (Plattdeutsche Variante: De A seggt, mut ok B seggen”)
o Translation: If you say A, you have to say B as well.
o Meaning: No half-assed evading or cherry picking.
o Meaning: If you want or assert A and it turns out to involve B, you have to put up with B too.
o Meaning: Follow through [don’t wimp out]
o Similar: “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

Wer den Pfennig nicht ehrt, ist des Talers nicht wert oder Wer den Cent nicht ehrt, ist den Euro nicht wert.
o Translation: You aren’t worth the Taler (ancient German currency) if you don’t honor the Pfennig. (f. G. c.) or You aren’t worth the Euro if you don’t honor the Cent.

Wer nicht will, der hat schon.
o Lit. translation: Who wants not, has already.
o Translation: He who does not want something already has enough.
o Meaning: Slightly oponionated reply to a refused offer. “So you are provided for already”)
o Meaning: Used in situations where somebody who desires something must make himself heard, or lose some benefit (“Who wants the last slice of pizza?”).
o Similar English idioms: “Use it or lose it.” “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”

Wer zuletzt lacht, lacht am besten.
o “He who laughs last, laughs best.”

Wer nicht wagt, der nicht gewinnt.
o Translation: “Who wagers nothing, he wins nothing”
o English equivalent: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Wer anderen eine Grube gräbt, fällt selbst hinein.
o Translation: “Who digs a pit for others falls into it himself.”
o Meaning: “Harm set, harm get.”

Wer zuerst kommt, mahlt zuerst.
o Translation: “Who comes first, grinds (his grain) first.”
o Meaning: “First come, first served.”

Wes’ Brot ich ess, des’ Lied ich sing.
o Translation: “Whose bread I eat, that’s whose song I sing.”
o Meaning: “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

Wer die Wahl hat, hat die Qual.
o Literally: “Who has the choice, has the suffering”
o Meaning: Decisions can be painful.
o Meaning: Having the choice also means having to choose.

Wein auf Bier, das rat’ ich dir. Bier auf Wein, das lass’ sein. (humorous)
o Translation: “Wine on beer, I recommend to you. Beer on wine, leave alone.”
o Meaning: “Cider on beer, never fear; beer upon cider, makes a bad rider.”
o Alternate: “Liquor before beer, all is clear; beer before liquor, get sicker and sicker.”
o American: “Beer on whiskey, pretty risky; Whiskey on beer, have no fear.” or “Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear; beer before liquor, never been sicker.”

Wie man in den Wald hineinruft, so schallt es zurück.
o Lit.: “Just as one calls into the forest, so it echoes back.”
o Meaning: Do not expect friendly reply when being obnoxious.
o Meaning: Bad language may have other causes than innate bad character.
o Similar: “What goes around, comes around.”

Wie man sich bettet, so liegt man.
o Literally: “As you put yourself to bed, so you will lie.”
o Meaning: “You made your bed, now lie in it.”
o Meaning: Everyone makes his own fate.

Wie Pech und Schwefel.
o Lit.: “Like pitch and sulphur.”
o Meaning: “E.g. good friends, who are inseparable or/and make all together, are like pitch and sulphur.”

Wo gehobelt wird, fallen Späne.
o Lit.: “Where you plane splinters fall.”
o Meaning: If something non-trivial gets done there are non-perfect aspects to it.
o Meaning: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.”

Wenn zwei sich streiten, freut sich der Dritte.
o Lit.: “When two quarrel, the third rejoices.”

Wer nicht hören will, muss fühlen.
o Translation: “He who doesn’t want to listen will have to experience.”
o Meaning: “If you don’t want to listen to what I tell you, you will get to feel a spanking.” (as a threat to children)
o Other Meaning: “I told you better but you didn’t listen. Now you have to deal with the problem.”

Wenn das Wörtchen wenn nicht wär, wär mein Vater Millionär.
o Lit. translation: “If there wasn’t the little word if, my father would be a millionaire.”
o Meaning: a) “There is no use in thinking about impossible possibilities. Concentrate on reality.”
o English proverb: “If wishes were horses…”
o Meaning: b) also used as an answer on an excuse meaning “That is a lame excuse!”
o English proverb: “If I had a nickel for every time I heard that, I’d be a millionaire.”
o Meaning: c) Slight regret of missed chances or opportunities.

Wer poppen will, muß lächeln können. (vulgar) (nontraditional)
o Translation: “If you want to score, you have to know how to smile.”
o Meaning: “If you keep this bad mood, you´ll never find a girlfriend.”

“Wie der Ochs’ vor’m Scheunentor”
o Translation: “Like the ox in front of the barn door”
o Meaning: Said when someone sees the way he must go (the obvious solution), yet he’s afraid to go it.

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