Stare like a car? German idioms related to automobiles – DW – 01/18/2023

“Abschleppen” is the word for towing, but depending on context can also refer to picking someone up, say in a bar. 

“Spätzünder” directly translates as “late igniter,” and is the equivalent of the “late bloomer” in English.

A “Montagsauto” is literally a “Monday car,” but the word actually refers to a poorly built “lemon” of a car. 

The German language features different everyday words and expressions inspired by cars and driving.

It doesn’t always have to be automobiles, either.

A “Trittbrettfahrer” literally means a person riding on a running board, but is used in the sense of freeloader. The image dates back to a time when people might jump on the running board of a streetcar that was already moving, for a free ride.

The picture gallery above explores more car-related idioms.

The Autobahn, cars and driving in Germany

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