German phrase of the day: fix und fertig

Ana Dilley
Ana Dilley - [email protected] • 23 Sep, 2020 Updated Wed 23 Sep 2020 11:24 CEST
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Long day at the office? Sick of Deutsche Bahn delays? Tired after your neighbour’s music kept you up all night?


A common German expression, ‘fix und fertig’, means that you are exhausted or burnt out. It can also be used in a similar way as ‘to be at the end of one’s tether/rope.’

Fix’ literally means either ‘fixed,’ or ‘quick.’ ‘Fertig’ is translated as ready but is used in a variety of settings. It can be used to indicate that something is completed or done but ‘fertig sein’ can also mean that you are fed up with something or done with it. 

'Fix und fertig' is stronger than merely 'fertig sein.'

A more colloquial way of expressing the same thing would be ‘Ich bin fix und alle.’ Here ‘alle’ does not mean all but rather ‘empty.’ Despite this alternative saying, ‘fix und fertig’ remains the most common form of the sayings amongst Germans.

This saying has been around for over 200 years, if not longer. ‘Fix und fertig’ appears in Goethe’s letters to Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, the 18th century German philosopher and literary figure with whom Goethe was connected. It is supposed that it was a part of the vernacular long before this, but a lack of written records means there is no fixed date assigned to earlier usage.

Some copies of the popular German comic book 'Fix and Foxi' from Comic Archive in Frankfurt am Main. Photo: DPA.

Want to sound yet more culturally and linguistically adept amongst your German friends? A joking variation of the saying is ‘ich bin Fix und Foxi.’ This echoes the popular German comic book of the same name, which concerns the adventures of two foxes, named ‘Fix’ and ‘Foxi’ and ran uninterrupted between 1953 and 1994. Germans picked up on the similarity between the titular characters' names and the common phrase which has lead to their interchangeable use.


Nach zwölf Stunden Arbeit am Stück bin ich einfach fix und fertig!

After twelve hours of work without a break I am simply exhausted!

Weil sie dieses Wochenende soviel gemacht hat, hat sie sich selbst fix und fertig gemacht.

Because she did so much this weekend, she has burnt herself out.

Ach, du siehst total Fix und Foxi aus!

Ahh, you look completely whacked! (More joking because of the reference to the comic book characters)



Ana Dilley 2020/09/23 11:24

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