German Phrase of the Day: um den heißen Brei herumreden

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 26 Oct, 2018 Updated Fri 26 Oct 2018 10:05 CEST
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When the Germans talk about someone ‘beating around the bush’ and not getting to the point they in fact say that you are ‘talking around the hot porridge’.

The German idiom 'um den heißen Brei herumreden' (to talk around the hot porridge) is similar to the meaning of the English version: 'to beat around the bush'.

It seems the perfect idiom for the traditionally direct Germans, who, usually, want nothing more than for people to hurry up and get to the point. It's used a lot in conversations, especially when someone is stalling and not making their point clearly. 

A politician not giving a straight answer when being interviewed is a perfect example of someone 'taking around the hot porridge'. 

It is related to a similar idiom 'wie die Katze um den heißen Brei herumschleichen' (like cats skulk around hot porridge), which isn't as commonly used. As cats don't like warm food, they will wait for it too cool down. Hence, the idiom refers to somebody who is being hesitant or careful.

Hot porridge! Photo: DPA

Examples:

Rede nicht um den heißen Brei herum, komm endlich zur Sache!

Stop beating around the bush, get to the point

Wie immer redete der Politiker nur um den heißen Brei herum

As always, the politician never got to the point

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The Local 2018/10/26 10:05

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