German phrase of the day: Die Kirche im Dorf lassen

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German phrase of the day: Die Kirche im Dorf lassen
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

The next time your German friend tells you ‘lass die Kirche im Dorf’ (leave the church in the village) they aren’t telling you something about a local village; here is what they actually mean.


Die Kirche im Dorf lassen (to leave the church in the village) is a German idiom with a similar meaning to the English 'don't get carried away' - so don't exaggerate.

The phrase is said to originate from when the church was the centre of a village and a community.

The church would regularly hold processions through the village, but if the village was too small for the size of the procession it may have spread into the surrounding area. 

This would not be welcomed by neighbours and when they said "lass die Kirche im Dorf," they meant, "don't get carried away; stay within your village boundaries."

Church in village

A church in the scenic village of Pobershau, Saxony, as pictured on June 27th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jan Woitas


Today the phrase has a similar meaning and can be used in the following situations:

Perhaps your friend is taking an exam and keeps telling you how she is going to fail. You can tell her:

Nun lass mal die Kirche im Dorf; du wirst auf jeden Fall die Prüfung bestehen. 

Don't be silly, you will definitely pass the exam. 

Or perhaps another friend is saying that he is going to die, but he just has a cold. You can say:
Lass die Kirche im Dorf. Es ist nur eine Erkältung.

Don't get carried away, it's only a cold.


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