„How are you?“

When it comes to using highly complimentary words the Germans are very reserved. Excellent, brilliant, great are words seldom heard. When asked „How are you?“, the Germans rarely respond with the equivalent of great, super, fantastic. For them everything could be better, can be improved. Germans avoid any form of exaggeration. If anything they will exaggerate in the negative.

Jemanden auf den Arm nehmen. Literally to take someone by the arm: to lie, cheat, fool, trick. Because children can be taken by the arm and led astray due to their naiveté.

Sensationell. Sensational. Stefan Raab, Germany‘s most popular tv-entertainer, has made the use of the term acceptable in Germany by using it an ironic sense. Sensationell are those people, things, events which are implausible, laughable, ridiculous.

Hochstapler. A person who lies about their background, abilities, achievements in order to gain respect, position or advantage. Hoch, high. Stapeln, to load up or stack. A Gabelstapler, is a forklift. Gabel, fork.